Hebrews 1:4
So He became as far superior to the angels as the name He has inherited is excellent beyond theirs.
Sermons
The Exaltation of the Son of God Above the Angels of GodW.J. Jones Hebrews 1:4, 5
Christ Superior to the AngelsJ.S. Bright Hebrews 1:4-9
Christ Exalted Above the AngelsD. Young Hebrews 1:4-13
And Let All the Angels of God Worship HimF. Rendall, M. A.Hebrews 1:4-14
Angel AidH. S. Carpenter.Hebrews 1:4-14
Angelic Life and its LessonsStopford A. Brooke, M. A.Hebrews 1:4-14
Angelic Life in Connection with ManStopford A. Brooke, M. A.Hebrews 1:4-14
Angels -- Ministering SpiritsE. Deering, B. D.Hebrews 1:4-14
Angels -- MinistersW. Jones, D. D.Hebrews 1:4-14
Angels and Their Alliance with NatureA. B. Davidson, LL. D.Hebrews 1:4-14
Angels Likened to FireW. Jones, D. D.Hebrews 1:4-14
Being SomebodyHebrews 1:4-14
Christ ImmutableT. KiddHebrews 1:4-14
Christ is Everlasting and UnchangeableT. Bogs.Hebrews 1:4-14
Christ is GodC. Stanford, D. D.Hebrews 1:4-14
Christ the CreatorF. B. Meyer, B. A.Hebrews 1:4-14
Christ the First-BegottenH. J. Hastings, M. A.Hebrews 1:4-14
Christ the First-BegottenW. Gouge.Hebrews 1:4-14
Christ the Object of Angelic WorshipHomilistHebrews 1:4-14
Christ Worshipped by AngelsL N. Norton, D. D.Hebrews 1:4-14
Christian CosmogonyHomilistHebrews 1:4-14
Christ's Excellences Above AngelsW. Gouge.Hebrews 1:4-14
Christ's Glory in CreationE. Deering, B. D.Hebrews 1:4-14
Christ's Holiness and UnctionT. Manton, D. D.Hebrews 1:4-14
Christ's KingdomE. Deering, B. D.Hebrews 1:4-14
Christ's Superiority to All Created BeingsR. Jones, B. A.Hebrews 1:4-14
Christ's Throne and SceptreJames Wells.Hebrews 1:4-14
Destructive Agencies At Work in the WorldA. S. Patterson.Hebrews 1:4-14
Divinity of ChristJames Hamihon, D. D.Hebrews 1:4-14
God Ever the SamePerrine.Hebrews 1:4-14
God's Setting Christ on His Right HandW. Gouge.Hebrews 1:4-14
Instructions and Directions Arising from the Inheritance of SalvationW. Gouge.Hebrews 1:4-14
Jesus Christ the Cause and the Consummator of All ThingsR. W. Hamilton, D. D.Hebrews 1:4-14
Messiah and NatureW. L. Watkinson.Hebrews 1:4-14
Messianic RegaliaW. L. Watkinson.Hebrews 1:4-14
Ministering SpiritsHomilistHebrews 1:4-14
Ministering SpiritsThe Evangelical PreacherHebrews 1:4-14
Ministration of AngelsJ. Hannam.Hebrews 1:4-14
Ministry of AngelsJ. Burns, D. D.Hebrews 1:4-14
Ministry of AngelsDr. Fowler.Hebrews 1:4-14
Ministry of AngelsHebrews 1:4-14
Nature and Employment of AngelsN. Emmons, D. D.Hebrews 1:4-14
Of Christ's ImmutabilityW. Gouge.Hebrews 1:4-14
Of the Uses of Christ's ImmutabilityW. Gouge.Hebrews 1:4-14
Oil of GladnessW. Gouge.Hebrews 1:4-14
Righteousness and GladnessC. H. Spurgeon.Hebrews 1:4-14
Sonship in the ResurrectionJ. B. Owen, M. A.Hebrews 1:4-14
The Angelic HierarchyDr. Grandpierre.Hebrews 1:4-14
The AngelsA. Saphir.Hebrews 1:4-14
The Church and the AngelsW. L. Watkinson.Hebrews 1:4-14
The Church's EnemiesE. Deering, B. D.Hebrews 1:4-14
The Dominion of Jesus ChristJohn Owen, D. D.Hebrews 1:4-14
The Eternal Sonship of ChristW. Gouge.Hebrews 1:4-14
The Exaltation of ChristJohn Owen, D. D.Hebrews 1:4-14
The Gladsomeness of JesusH. W. Beecher.Hebrews 1:4-14
The Greatness of the Angels Revealing the Greatness of the LordC. New Hebrews 1:4-14
The Immutabulity of ChristJ. Hannam.Hebrews 1:4-14
The Liturgy of Angelic ServiceF. B. Meyer, B. A.Hebrews 1:4-14
The Messiah's ThroneJ. Cumming, D. D.Hebrews 1:4-14
The Ministry of AngelsEssex Congreational RemembrancerHebrews 1:4-14
The Nature, Office, and Employment of Good AngelsArchbishop Tillotson.Hebrews 1:4-14
The Practical Side of the Doctrine of AngelsDr. Grandpierre.Hebrews 1:4-14
The Solar System PerishingJ. Morison, D. D.Hebrews 1:4-14
The Superiority of Christ to the AngelsW. L. Watkinson.Hebrews 1:4-14
The Time and Certainty of Inheriting SalvationW. Gouge.Hebrews 1:4-14
The Unchangeableness of ChristD. Wilcox.Hebrews 1:4-14
The World as a GarmentW. Jones, D. D.Hebrews 1:4-14
The Worship of God and the Service of ManB. Bird.Hebrews 1:4-14
Twofold Aspect of Angelic MinistrationE. E. Johnson, M. A.Hebrews 1:4-14
Worship Due to Christ from AllW. Jones, D. D.Hebrews 1:4-14
Being made so much better than the angels, etc. The angels of God are great and exalted beings. Our Lord spake of them as "holy angels" (Matthew 25:31). David said they "excel in strength" (Psalm 103:20). St. Paul designates them "his mighty angels' (2 Thessalonians 1:7). Deeds involving stupendous power are ascribed to them (Isaiah 37:36; Acts 12:7-11). They are said to be "full of eyes," to indicate their great intelligence (Revelation 4:6, 8). They are represented as occupying a most exalted position and. offering the highest worship (Isaiah 6:1-3). In their ranks the highest order of created beings is to be found (Ephesians 1:21; Colossians 1:16). But our Lord is greater than the angels.

I. IS THE PRE-EMINENCE OF HIS NAME. "He hath inherited a more excellent name than they."

1. The pre-eminent name - the Son of God. This appears from ver. 5, "For unto which of the angels," etc.? The first quotation is from Psalm 2., which is generally regarded as Messianic. The second is from 2 Samuel 7:14, which is applicable primarily to Solomon, but principally to him who is both "the Root and the Offspring of David." Angels are called "sons of God" in the sacred Scriptures (Job 1:6; Job 2:1; Job 38:7); so also are true Christians (John 1:12; 1 John 3:1, 2). But to One only is given the title the Son of God, even to "the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father," and of whom the Father speaks as "my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." It is probable that in this name there is a depth of significance, a height of dignity, and a fullness of glory of which at present we have little or no conception.

2. The acquisition of this name. "He hath by inheritance obtained" it. "He hath inherited" it:

(1) Because of his relation to the Father. It belongs to him by his very Being, "by virtue of his Divine filiations. Angels may be, in an inferior sense, the sons of God by creation; but they cannot inherit that title, for this plain reason, that they are created, not begotten; whilst our Lord inherits the 'more excellent name,' because he is begotten, not created."

(2) And, perhaps, because it was promised to him in the Old Testament Scriptures; as in the passages quoted in cur text.

II. IN THE CORRESPONDING PRE-EMINENCE OF HIS NATURE. Names and titles in the sacred writings, generally speaking, are neither given for their euphony, nor are they merely complimentary, but they express realities in the circumstances, or character, or calling of the person to whom they are applied. This is especially the case in respect to the Son of God. "The dignity of his titles is indicative of his essential rank." He is called the Son of God because he is the Son of God in a peculiar and exclusive sense. The name is indicative of his nature, which is essentially Divine.

III. IN HIS CORRESPONDING PRE-EMINENCE AS MEDIATOR. "Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath," etc.; Revised Version, "Having become by so much better than the angels," etc. The "having become" refers to the exaltation of our Lord in his humanity. In like manner it seems to us that the "This day have I begotten thee" refers to his resurrection from the dead. St. Paul certainly applied the words thus (Acts 13:32, 33). And he writes, God's "Son, who was born of the seed, of David according to the flesh, who was declared to be the Son of God with power, by the resurrection of the dead, even Jesus Christ our Lord. And St. John speaks of Jesus Christ, the First-begotten of the dead" (Revelation 1:5). We conclude, then, that "begotten" is used figuratively, and that by it is intended the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, by which he was declared to be the Son of God with power, and his exaltation to his mediatorial throne. And this brings us to our present point, which the fourth verse teaches us, that the exaltation of our Lord consequent upon the completion of his redemptive work upon earth is commensurate with the exaltation of his essential nature; or, that his glory as Mediator corresponds with the dignity of his name and nature. Alford: "Observe, that the κρείττων γενόμενος is not identical with the κεκληρονόμηκεν, but in proportion to it: the triumphant issue of his mediation is consonant to the glorious name which is his by inheritance; but which, in the fullness of its present inconceivable glory, has been put on and taken up by him in the historical process of his mediatorial humiliation and triumph." The redemption of humanity was an undertaking beyond all human power, and transcending even angelic wisdom, love, and might. Its accomplishment demanded the resources of Godhead. Our Lord has redeemed man in a manner worthy of himself as Son of God, and his exaltation as Redeemer corresponds with the pre-eminence of his transcendent Name. And more, this "exaltation must be conceived of as belonging, not to his humanity only, but to the entire undivided person of Christ, now resuming the fullness and glory of the Godhead (John 17:5), and in addition to this having taken into the Godhead the manhood, now glorified by his obedience, atonement, and victory (see Ephesians 1:20-22; Philippians 2:6-9; Acts 2:36; 1 Peter 3:21, 22). The Son of God before his incarnation was Head over creation; but after his work in the flesh he had become also Head of creation, inasmuch as his glorified body, in which he triumphs sitting at God's right hand, is itself created, and is the sum and the center of creation" (Alford).

CONCLUSION.

1. Let his pre-eminence as Mediator inspire us with, confidence in him as our Savior.

2. Let his essential lore-eminence inspire us with adoring reverence towards him. - W. J.







Being made so much better than the angels.
I. THE SUPERIORITY OF HIS NATURE.

II. THE SUPERIORITY OF HIS PREROGATIVE.

III. THE SUPERIORITY OF HIS OFFICE.

IV. THE SUPERIORITY OF HIS UNCHANGING EXISTENCE. Learn:

1. The error of those who would confound Christ with the angels.

2. The error of those who would bide Christ by the angels.

3. The error of those who would expect the success of Christianity from the intervention of the angels.

4. The error of those who think the Christian Church weak because it lacks angelic phenomena. We have the Cross; we have Pentecost; we need not seraphs or archangels.

(W. L. Watkinson.)

1. Christ's Divine nature is infinitely more excellent then an angelical spirit; yea, His human nature, by the hypostatical union of it with the Divine, hath likewise a dignity infinitely surpassing an angel's nature.

2. Christ is the express image of the person of His Father, which is more than to be created, as angels were, after God's image.

3. Christ is the brightness of God's glory: therefore more glorious than the most glorious angels.

4. Christ is in heaven at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty: therefore in place of residency higher than angels. Christ's function, to be a Mediator between God and man, is greater than any of the functions of angels.

6. Therefore Christ is more excellent than angels in their greatest excellences. Yet there is a greater excellency, wherein Christ doth further excel angels, comprised under this phrase, "a more excellent name." This is that name which is above every name, at which every knee should bow (Philippians 2:9, 10). By virtue of this name He became a fit Mediator between God and man, and fit Saviour and Redeemer of man, a fit King, Priest, and Prophet of His Church; yea, and by virtue of this name, absolute dominion over all creatures, infinite majesty, Divine dignity, and all honour and glory is His; all worship, service, subjection, and duty is due unto Him. This name therefore must needs be beyond all comparison a most excellent name: and in this respect Christ may well be said to have a more excellent name than angels, because there is no comparison between them. The comparative epithet, translated "more excellent," is derived from a compound verb that signifieth to "differ in excellency, or to excel" (1 Corinthians 15:41). It is translated "to be better "(Matthew 6:26), or" to be of more value" (Matthew 10:31). The positive of this comparative, signifieth divers or different (Romans 12:6). This word of comparison "more excellent," is not to be taken of an exceeding in the same nature and kind, as one man is more excellent than another, but in different natures and kinds for Christ, as the Son of God, is of a Divine nature, even the Creator of all, and preferred before all created spirits; which though they be the most excellent of created substances, yet not to be compared with the Son of God. His name is infinitely more excellent then theirs; for by reason of this name He is the Lord of angels.

1. As He is the true, proper, only begotten Soil, by eternal generation. For the Father in communicating His essence to Him, communicated also this excellent name here intended.

2. As His human nature was hypostatically united to His Divine nature. For though according to the flesh He was not born of God the Father (in that respect He was, without Father, born of a Virgin), yet that flesh being personally united to the only begotten Son of God, He was born the Son of God (Luke 1:35). He was not then by grace and favour of no Son made the Son of God; but as God, and as God-man, He was the true begotten Son of God; and in both these respects the name here spoken of, by right of inheritance belonged to Him.

(W. Gouge.)

Scripture speaks often of the angels. Let me remind you of some of the doctrines which the Bible contains concerning them. In the first place, human beings know nothing about angels except what God pleases to tell them. Hence all that human poets have imagined about them is of no value, unless it agrees with the Scripture. With regard to the angels, I may notice three tendencies to error. The first tendency to error we see in the Epistle to the Colossians, and we may call it "the Gnostic error," when men, following their own speculative reason, endeavour to penetrate mysteries which are not revealed, and form erroneous views of the angels as to their nature, and their relation to God and to Christ. Secondly, the Romish error, according to which the angels are placed in a false mediatory position, and are invoked, when men rely upon their intercession, or call upon their aid. And the third tendency is what I may call the Protestant one — to think too rarely and in too isolated a manner about them, and not to remember vividly that they are constantly with us, that we and they are members of one great family.

1. Notice the multitude of angels: "We have come to an innumerable company of angels."

2. This innumerable multitude is a polity, a state. There are gradations in it, groups, orders, legions of angels. There is a kingdom with gradations, with order. This kingdom is intimately connected with the kingdom of grace. When a sinner is converted, the angels rejoice; and when Jesus comes again, the angels will come with Him. They will last for ever, though they are not yet seen by us; and when all that is unreal and shadowy shall disappear, then they shall be made visible at the appearing of our great God and Saviour. Whenever there is a crisis in the history of God's kingdom the angels appear, as at the giving of the law, and at the incarnation of the Son of God. When He conies again multitudes of angels shall come with Him and separate the evil from the good; before the angels Jesus shall confess His people. Angels are connected not merely with salvation and with the spiritual kingdom of God, but with all the kingdom of God; with all physical phenomena. God does not move and rule the world merely by laws and principles, by unconscious and inanimate powers, but by living beings full of light and love. His angels are like flames of fire; they have charge over the winds, and the earth, and the trees, and the sea. Through the angels He carries on the government of the world. Now, glorious as the angels are, they are in subjection to Jesus as man; for in His human nature God has enthroned Him above all things. Their relation to Jesus fixes also their relation to us. We know they love us; for they rejoice when a sinner turns from ungodliness and takes hold of salvation as it is in Jesus. They watch us in our dangers, in our difficulties. And after having ministered unto God's people to the end of this age, they shall rejoice when they hear His voice saying unto the children, "Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." For Jesus' sake, "are they not all ministering spirits?" Oh, how great is Jesus! How great is the covenant of grace! How great is the glory of the Son, and how wonderful is our position as children of the Father!

(A. Saphir.)

Thou art My Son.
In the Divine generation these distinct points following are observable —

1. God as a Father, even the first Person in Trinity, begetteth. In this respect the Son of God is called the begotten of the Father (John 1:14).

2. God the Father begat the Son of His very substance, very God of very God. The title God properly taken and frequently applied to this Son, gives proof hereto (John 1:1; Romans 9:5), and especially the title Jehovah, which is given to none but the true God (Genesis 19:24; Joshua 5:14).

3. God the Father communicateth His whole essence to the Son. He begat another self of Himself, even that which He Himself is. In which respect this Son of God saith, "I and My Father are one. The Father is in Me, and I in Him" (John 10:30, 38).

4. God the Father's begetting His Son is truly and properly eternal. It was before all time, it continueth throughout all times, it shall never have any date, or end. In relation hereunto saith this Son of God, "I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth: before the hills was I brought forth," etc. (Proverbs 8:23-25). In this sense He was called the firstborn (Colossians 1:15). Firstborn, because He was begotten before all things; and only-begotten, because He alone was properly begotten of God.

5. God the Father's begetting His Son, manifesteth an equality of Father and Son. For if the nature of both be inquired after, it will hereby be found to be God, and not one greater than another. This also did the Son receive of the Father. He did not beget Him equal, and then add to Him, when He was begotten, equality, but in begetting Him He made Him equal. For being in the form of God, to be equal with God was no robbery (Philippians 2:6), but nature: because He obtained it by bring begotten, He did not usurp it by a proud advancing of Himself. Where equality is, there is the same nature, and one substance.

(W. Gouge.)

This day have I begotten Thee
I. THE SENSE IN WHICH WE ARE TO UNDERSTAND THE DIVINE AFFIRMATION. "I have begotten Thee." Says Meyer: "I think that neither His eternal generation alone, as He is God, nor His temporary generation, as He is man, is here meant, but both. I have begotten Thee from eternity, in respect of Thy Divinity, and in time, as set forth by the term 'this day.' I have, by the overshadowing of My Spirit, begotten Thee of the Virgin Mary, according to Thy humanity, so as it may appear to all the world that Thou art both God and man, and so My most noble Son and the Prince of heaven; this being made evident sundry ways, but especially by Thy rising again from death to life." That is, the resurrection was the day in which God made manifest that He had begotten the Lord Jesus as His Son; not that He was that particular day begotten, but the fact was then made patent, and proclaimed as the grand evidence of that article of faith which teaches us to say, "I believe in the resurrection of the dead." Thus the act of our Lord's resurrection presents the proof alike of His natural and eternal Sonship, being both divinely begotten. It sheds an equal lustre upon His eternal Deity and glorified humanity; and while the power which effected His resurrection exhibits Him as truly God, His condescension to the flesh, and death which preceded it, discovers Him as really Man; for who but man could die? and who but God could rise again? Death was the peculiar, and for aught I know, the exclusive sentence which was passed on man; life which could triumph over death, which is God's ordinance, is the sole prerogative of God.

II. WHY WE THINK THE TERM "THIS DAY" EXCLUSIVELY DISTINGUISHES THE DAY OF HIS RESURRECTION,

1. Our first reason is, the position which the words occupy in the second Psalm, and the seventh verse, from which they are quoted. It is after "the heathen had raged, and the people had imagined a vain thing," namely, that they could annihilate the pretensions of Jesus by His death; it is after the conspiring of the kings of the earth and their rulers that the decree is uttered, "Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten Thee." That is, the resurrection which succeeded the crucifixion manifested in the most signal manner, that notwithstanding the enmity, apparent success, and short-lived triumph of the Jews, "Truly," after all, as the centurion confessed, "this man was the Son of God."

2. Our second reason for considering this day the resurrection, is because the assembled apostles so applied the Psalm in the fourth chapter of Acts, the twenty-fifth and following verses, where, having pointed out the accomplishment of the former verses of the second Psalm, in the conspiracy of the rulers and people against Christ, it is added in the thirty-third verse, "And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection."

3. A third reason we find in the Epistle to the Romans, the first chapter and the fourth verse, where St. Paul draws the distinction between Christ's "being made of the seed of David, according to the flesh, but declared (not made) to be the Son of God, according to the Spirit of holiness, by His resurrection from the dead." The word " declared," in this place, is of the same force as the Hebrew word which is translated "begotten," and which also means "exhibited, or manifested"; or as Paul saith "declared." "Thou art My Son; this day have I declared Thee" — that is, this day of Thy resurrection, I have owned Thee, manifested Thee, as the Son of God.

4. If there be any remaining doubt as to the application of this passage, I refer you fourthly, to the thirteenth chapter of Acts, and the thirty-third verse, where, after speaking of the promises of God made to the fathers, Paul adds, "God hath fulfilled the same unto us, their children, in that He hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second Psalm — Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten Thee"; that is, the raising up of Jesus was the evidence of His Sonship, and His Sonship is the pledge for the fulfilment of the promises.

5. Once more: in the fifth chapter of Hebrews, and the fifth verse, where it is asserted that Aaron, the first high priest under the legal dispensation, and Christ the first High Priest of the gospel, took not this office upon Himself till He was called, the calling of Christ is referred to the same event and in the same terms as in the text are employed to prove the superiority of His nature over that of the angels. Then the day of His resurrection was the day of His ordination to the high priesthood.

III. WHAT WAS THE OFFICE AND COMMISSION CONFERRED UPON THE LORD JESUS BY THE DIVINE TESTIMONY? " Thou art My Son." Angels needed not this attestation. They had often heard the grand acknowledgment in heaven. The eternal Sonship of the Christ was no secret there. But as Jesus said of the answer which mysteriously reached Him from the clouds at the raising of Lazarus, so might He have said of the testimony which accompanied His own resurrection — "Because of the people who stand by I said it, that they may believe that Thou hast sent Me"; that is, God condescended visibly and audibly to acknowledge His Son on earth, that man might believe that He was sent from heaven.

1. The title of the Son of God imports dignity. Hence the apostle's argument in the text" Unto which of the angels said He at any time, Thou art My Son?"

2. The title of the Son of God imports office. It implies, in connection with His other title, "the Son of man" — which is applied to Christ about eighty times by the evangelists — a mediatorial office; that the Son of man, equally as the Son of God, is the connecting link between God and man, both natures being reconciled by His office as the two are united in His person.

3. Again: as the Son of God, Christ is our Prince and Judge. Henceforth, said He, "the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son"; and Peter adds, "He is exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance unto Israel, and forgiveness of sins." This is His present office; His sovereignty is now wholly exercised in grace. It now deals in love, mercy, and forbearance. Now He pleads at the throne — hereafter He will sentence from the throne.

4. Once more: as the Son of God, Christ is "the Firstborn among many brethren." The term "firstborn" does not necessarily infer that the person to whom the epithet is applied is a creature; it often imports no more than excellency, or supremacy, or peculiar favour. Thus Job speaks of "the firstborn of death" — that is, the chief strength of death; so Christ is called in the first chapter of the Epistle to the Colossians, and the fifteenth verse, "the Firstborn of every creature," "the Firstborn from the dead" — that is, the chief and supreme of all the creatures, as the Rabbins themselves spoke of Jehovah as " the Firstborn of the creation," or at the bead of the universe. It is also a term of endearment and special favour. Thus the Lord said in the thirty-first chapter of Jeremiah, and the ninth verse — "Ephraim is My firstborn"; in other words, that His people were very dear to Him. In all these senses Christ is to us the Firstborn of God. He is our Strength and Excellency, our "Firstfruits from the dead"; and "because He lives, we shall live also"; for we are said to be " begotten again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." And further, "He is Head over all things to His Church"; and as there is a name given unto Him which is above every name, so that name is ours. Christ's people are called Christians. "I will write upon you," said He, "My new name"; and that is "the everlasting name which shall not be cut off."

(J. B. Owen, M. A.)

The First-begotten.
I. We understand by this title, THE ETERNAL GENERATION AND SONSHIP OF OUR LORD; His possession of a seed and family made like unto Him here in holiness and hereafter in glory; His rule and preeminence in the house and family of God; His character, as head over all things to the Church.

II. We understand by the bringing in of the First-begotten into the world — THE MANIFESTATION OF THE ETERNAL SON OF GOD IN OUR FLESH — His birth, according to the prophet, of the Virgin Mary. Great indeed is this mystery: let us adore it reverentially! The joy which should pervade our hearts must be a holy joy; the feelings that should possess cur minds should be of lively gratitude and ready obedience.

III. But let us notice WHAT IS TO BE INFERRED FROM THE ADORATION ENJOINED UPON THE ANGELS: this adoration we find rendered at the birth of this wondrous personage; at His agony in the garden they waited on Him; at His resurrection and ascension they were in attendance upon His Majesty; and still they worship and adore. What can we conclude from the adoration of angels, but that He whom angels adore is God and Lord? Again, may we not conclude that the work of our redemption has been undertaken by One who is altogether equal to the task? May we not thus far be of good courage, and place our entire confidence in the virtue of His redemption? Lessons:

1. The unspeakable humiliation of our Lord. How low has He stooped to do us service! Are we filled with the opinion of our own importance? Let us turn to the manger and the stable; let us dwell upon the matchless humility of the Lord of life and glory; let us learn from it to be lowly in our own eyes.

2. Though we cannot copy the act, yet we can copy the motive, the spirit which brought the First-begotten into the world. By love we must serve one another.

3. Again, we are instructed hereby to deny self.

(H. J. Hastings, M. A.)

That which the apostle here intendeth under this title "first-begotten," is to set forth the excellency of the person of Christ, as God-man, and that —

1. In His priority, which is eternity, as He is God (Proverbs 8:24, 25).

2. In His dignity, being the most excellent of all (Genesis 49:3).

3. In regard of His dominion over all (Psalm 2:6, 7).

4. In regard of the largeness of His inheritance (Psalm 2:8).

(W. Gouge.)

And let all the angels of God worship Him. —These words are an exact quotation from Deuteronomy 32:4-3, as it stands in the LXX. version, but are not found in the original. The use of that passage as a Jewish liturgy of praise probably led to its expansion into a fuller song of triumph by additions borrowed from other parts of Scripture; and these wordsPsalm 97:7, as it stands in LXX. version — "Worship Him all ye His angels." In the farewell song of Moses, the verse is introduced on occasion of a majestic prophecy of the Lord's appearance to judge the enemy and avenge His people. All such prophecies were interpreted in a Messianic sense; therefore the Epistle makes the reappearance of the firstborn the occasion for that angelic worship. In Deuteronomy the adoration is rendered to Jehovah; in the Epistle it is not clear whether it is rendered to Him or to the firstborn; it is therefore right to follow the Old Testament meaning. the passage is quoted by way of exhibiting the subordinate position of angels as mere worshippers.

(F. Rendall, M. A.)

Homilist.
I. IF ANGELS WORSHIP CHRIST, HIS CLAIMS TO WORSHIP ARE UNDOUBTED. There are only two conceivable causes for the worshipping of false gods:

1. The want of intelligence.

2. The want of right sympathies.

II. IF ANGELS WORSHIP CHRIST, THEN THE OBLIGATIONS OF MEN TO DO SO MUST REIMMENSE. Besides being the brightness of His Father's glory, He is the expiator of human sin, &e.

III. IF ANGELS WORSHIP CHRIST, THEN A PRESIDING SYMPATHY WITH HIM IS THE NECESSARY MEETNESS YOU HEAVEN. It is even connected with two things:

1. An appreciative knowledge of Him.

2. An unreserved concurrence with Him.

(Homilist.)

I. THE FIRST THING WHICH THE TEXT TEACHES IS THAT CHRIST IS A PROPER OBJECT OF DIVINE WORSHIP. We know who has said, "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve" (Matthew 4:10), and we know also, from St. John's description in the Apocalypse, of the worship of heaven, that the Church universal, saints and angels, will pay Divine honours to Him who appeared upon earth as the gentle Babe of Bethlehem (Revelation 5:13). Thus speaks the High and Holy One who inhabiteth eternity (Isaiah 42:8). If Christ Jesus be not God, how can the Almighty Father contradict Himself, and say even to the bright intelligences that minister about His throne, "Let all the angels of God worship Him?" If Christ be not a proper object of Divine adoration, how is it that we hear the meek and lowly Son of Mary declare, without hesitation or reserve, that "All men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father"? (John 5:23). If Christ Jesus be not one with the Father and the Blessed Spirit, in the glory of the Eternal Trinity, why did the disciples who met Him after the resurrection bow themselves down and worship Him? (Matthew 28:9; Luke 24:52).

II. The text suggests another point — THAT THE INCARNATION AFFORDS A SPECIAL CALL UPON ALL IN EARTH AND HEAVEN TO ASCRIBE UNTO HIM THE HONOUR WHICH IS DUE UNTO HIS NAME. During the reign of Theodosius the Great, in the fourth century, the Arians put forth their strongest efforts to undermine that all-important doctrine of the divinity of our blessed Lord. The interesting event of making his son Arcadius the sharer with him of his throne was happily overruled to his discovering the fearful error which was thus sapping the foundations of the faith. Among the bishops who came to congratulate Theodosius on the occasion was Amphilochus, Bishop of Iconium, a man most highly esteemed. Approaching the emperor, the bishop addressed him in fitting words, and was about to withdraw from the presence. chamber, when the angry father exclaimed, "Do you take no notice of my son? Have you not heard that I have made him a partner with me in the empire." The good old bishop gave no direct answer, but going up to Arcadius, a lad of sixteen, he laid his hands upon his head, saying, "The Lord bless thee, my son!" and once more turned to depart. Even this did not satisfy the emperor, who inquired, in a tone of surprise and displeasure, "Is this all the respect you pay to a prince that I have made of equal dignity with myself? " The bishop indignantly answered, "Do you so highly resent my apparent neglect of your son, because I do not treat him with equal honour with yourself? What, then, must the eternal God think of you, who have allowed His co-equal and co-eternal Son to be degraded from His proper divinity in every part of your empire?" Theodosius felt that the withering rebuke was well deserved, and he ceased from that moment to show the least indulgence to such as ventured to cast dishonour upon the Son of God. It is not only our duty, but our precious privilege, to worship our Divine Saviour.

(L N. Norton, D. D.)

If the angels worship Christ, shall not we men that be dust and ashes worship Him? If the lords of the privy council stand bare to the king, shall not we silly men of the country do it? The angels that dwell in the court of heaven with God worship Christ; and shall not we on earth do it? Let us worship Him, and Him alone; let us not worship our gold and silver as covetous men do, and come within compass of idolatry; let us not worship our pleasures as epicures do, but let us worship Christ as the angels do. We worship Christ with our lips, we have His name in our mouth, but we worship Him not with our hearts and lives. A great number of Christians are like the soldiers that set a crown of thorns on Christ's head, put a reed instead of a sceptre into His hand, clothed Him with a purple garment, and in the end did nothing but mock Him. So we talk gloriously of Christ and of His kingdom; in words we profess Him to be our King; but we do not worship Him in truth and sincerity, and serve Him in holiness and righteousness as we ought to do.

(W. Jones, D. D.)

Who maketh His angels spirits
It is true there are many who deny the existence of any spiritual beings save God and man. The wide universe is to them a solitary land without inhabitants. There is but one oasis filled with living creatures. There is something pitiable in this impertinence. It is a drop of dew in the lonely cup of a gentian, which imagines itself to be all the water in the universe. It is the summer midge which has never left its forest pool, dreaming that it and its companions are the only living creatures in earth or air. There is no proof of the existence of other beings than ourselves, but there is also no proof of the contrary. Apart from revelation, we can think about the subject as we please. But it does seem incredible that we alone should represent in the universe the image of God; and if in one solitary star another race of beings dwell, if we concede the existence of a single spirit other than ourselves, we have allowed the principle; the angelic world of which the Bible speaks is possible to faith. Our life with nature has lost its beauty, its joy, its religion. It was different with the ancient Jew and with the apostles and their followers. They lived in a world peopled with spiritual beings. They believed in invisible assistants, who were doing God's pleasure and sympathising with His children. The hosts of heaven moved in myriads in the sky. The messengers of God went to and fro working His righteous will. The sons of God shouted for joy when the creation leaped to light. In every work of nature, in the summer rain and the winter frost, in the lifting of the billow on the sea and the growth of the flower on the plain, there were holy ones concerned who sang the hymn of continued creation to the Eternal Love. The very winds themselves were angels, and the flaming fires ministers of God.

I. Take first, THE RELATION OF GOD TO ANGELIC LIFE.

1. The first thing we understand of the angels is that in distant eternities God created them. God gave of His own life to others, and filled His silence with living souls. Here we have the principle of the social life of God. He listened with pleasure to the song of joy which filled His universe, and received and gave back in ceaseless reciprocation the offered love of the spirits He had made. And in that thought all social life on earth should be hallowed by being made like to that of God; we should be as gods and angels one to another, interchanging ever love and service. Is that the ideal which in society you strive to reach? Again —

2. The angelic creation reveals to us the very principle of God's proper life. He would not have a life which began and ended in Himself. His life was life in others. In giving of His life He lived.

II. I pass on to THE RELATION OF THE ANGELIC LIFE OF GOD. It is described as a life of exalted praise. The angels are pictured as employed in ceaseless adoration. The nearer that you live to God here, the nearer you will approach the angelic life. Our state of imperfection is characterised by prayer, the state of perfection is characterised by praise; and it. is curious to mark in the history of some of the noblest of God's saints, how, as they drew near the close of life and entered more into communion with the heavenly existence, prayer seems to be replaced by a sacred awe, and a deeper knowledge of holiness breaks forth into continual praise. So far for angelic life in connection with God.

III. We pass on to consider, AS IT IS DESCRIBED IN THE BIBLE, ANGELIC LIFE IN CONNECTION WITH NATURE. The Hebrew religious feeling always retained some traces of its connection through Abraham with Chaldaea. The old pastoral faith which was born on the wide plains of the East, with a magnificent arch of sky above, in which the sun and moon and stars walked cloudless with what seemed the stately step of gods, was always breaking through the pure monotheism which God revealed to the patriarchs. And not only the ordering of the stars, but all manifestations of the forces of nature were, in the poetry of the Hebrews, directed by the angels. Certain masters in science will smile at all this, and ask if that be philosophy? And I answer, No, not philosophy, but something higher — poetry; and as such, not disclosing the relations of phenomena, but revealing, through symbolic phrase, a principle. It matters very little whether the angels be the directing powers of the elements and their combinations or not; but it does much matter to us as spiritual beings with what eyes we look upon the universe — as a living whole informed and supported by a living will, or as dead matter drifting on in obedience to dead laws. So do we grasp the truth of these old Hebrew sayings of the angels — that nature in essence, or rather, in that actual world of which it is the witness, is not inanimate, but living. Then the universe becomes clothed in a more glorious form. "The dead heavy mass which did but block up space is vanished, and in its place there flows forward, with the music of eternal waters, a stream of life and power and action " which issues from the source of all life — the living will of God. Then it happens that to us the whole course of nature, and each separate thing within it, give up to us the secrets they half conceal and half express They speak not to intellect only or to feeling only, but to the entirety of our being. All God s living spirits are doing within the sphere of His life a portion of this redeeming work. The angels do it perchance as He performs it, finding a perfect joy in sacrifice; we are doing it in agony, finding every sacrifice a pain, and yet learning through the very pain to realise the sacrifice as joy; giving up our life with strong crying and with tears, but strangely discovering that we have been led into life: till at last the secret smites upon our heart in an ineffable light which transfigures all our being, and looking up to where, upon the cross of Calvary, all humanity was sacrificed and all life given away in infinite love that the life of the world might be, we know at last in Him the mystery of the universe. We see the very Life itself in the love which, in giving His Son, gave Himself.

(Stopford A. Brooke, M. A.)

His angels spirits; better, His angels winds. The quotation is from Psalm 104:4, according to the Greek translation. Two things are expressed: first, the service of the angels; and second, their alliance in this service to the material elements; under God's transforming hand they suffer a change into winds and a flame of fire. This idea is not to be pressed so far as to imply that the angelic essence undergoes a transformation into material substance, but only that the angels are clothed with this material form, and in their service assume this shape to men. Illustrations of the idea from the Rabbinical writers are not wanting. "The angel said unto Manoah, I know not after what image I am made, for God changes us every hour; why, therefore, dost thou ask after my name? Sometimes He makes us fire, at other times wind; sometimes men, at other times again angels." God is named God of hosts because He does with His angels as He pleases; He makes them sometimes sitting (Judges 6:11), sometimes standing (Isaiah 6:2), sometimes to resemble women (Zechariah 5:9), sometimes men (Genesis 18:2), &c. "When His angels are sent forth as messengers they are made winds (Psalm 104:4), when they minister before the throne of His glory they are flames of fire" (cf. Exodus 3:2).

(A. B. Davidson, LL. D.)

A flame of fire
1. Fire is lightsome and strikes a terror into men, so do the angels when they appear.

2. Fire is of a subtle and piercing nature: so are the angels, they are quickly here and there.

3. Fire consumes and burns up; so do they the wicked, our enemies. This is the greatest honour of the angels to be God's ministers and messengers; so must we count it the greatest dignity of all men on the face of the earth. Though thou beest a rich tradesman, a wealthy merchant, a gentlemen of great revenues, a knight, a lord, or a king; yet the most magnificent style thou canst have is this, to be God's minister and servant, to be His messenger and to go on His errands.

(W. Jones, D. D.)

Thy throne, O God, Is for ever and ever.
I. THE THRONE.

1. It is a mercy throne.

2. It is a rich throne.

3. It is a throne of plenty.

II. THE SCEPTRE.

1. Righteously acquired.

2. Christ makes war in righteousness.

3. Christ maintains the rights of heaven.

(James Wells.)

I. THE. THRONE OF MESSIAH. The power of Christ is —

1. Divine.

2. Supreme.

(1)Moral, not secular.

(2)Personal, not derived.

(3)Universal, not local.

3. Everlasting.

II. THE SCEPTRE OF MESSIAH. The righteousness of His —

1. Character.

2. Gospel.

3. Reign.

III. THE CROWN OF MESSIAH.

(W. L. Watkinson.)

So thoroughly intermingled with the whole texture of New Testament Scripture is the Godhead of the Saviour, that no criticism which does not destroy the book can altogether extinguish its testimony. We have seen a copy of the Gospels and Epistles which was warranted free from all trace of the Trinity, but it was not the Testament of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. We beheld it, and we received instruction. It did not want beauty; for the Parables and the Sermon on the Mount, and many a touching passage, still were there. But neither would a garden want beauty if the grass plats and green bushes still remained, though you had carefully culled out every blossoming flower. The humanity of Jesus still is beautiful, even when the Godhead is forgotten or denied. Or rather it looked like a coronation tapestry, with all the golden threads torn out; or an exquisite mosaic from which some unscrupulous finger had abstracted the gems and only left the common stones: you not only missed the glory of the whole, but in the fractures of the piece and the coarse plaster with which the gaps were supplied, you saw how rude was the process by which its jewels had been wrenched away. It was a casket without the pearl. It was a shrine without the Shekinah. And yet, after all, it was not sufficiently expurgated; for, after reading it, the thought would recur — how much easier to fabricate a Gnostic Testament exempt from all trace of our Lord's humanity, than a Unitarian Testament ignoring His divinity!

(James Hamihon, D. D.)

Think of all that is represented by that great word "God"; who can fathom it? Nothing is easier than to say the word "universe," and yet it would take us millions of millions of years to bestow one hasty glance upon the surface of that small portion of it which lies within the range of our glasses. But what are all suns, comets, earths, moons, atmospheres, seas, rivers, mountains, valleys, plains, woods, cattle, wild beasts, fish, fowl, grasses, plants, shrubs, minerals, and metals, compared with the meaning of the one name God!"

(C. Stanford, D. D.)

I. The conferring and COMPARING OF SCRIPTURES IS AN EXCELLENT MEANS OF COMING TO AN ACQUAINTANCE WITH THE MIND AND WILL OF GOD IN THEM. Thus dealeth the apostle in this place; he compareth what is spoken of angels in one place, and what of the Son in another, and from thence manifesteth what is the mind of God concerning them.

II. IT IS THE DUTY OF ALL BELIEVERS TO REJOICE IN THE GLORY, HONOUR, AND DOMINION OF JESUS CHRIST.

1. Herein God is glorified. The kingdom of Christ is the glory of God; thereby is His name and praise exalted in the world; and therefore upon the erection and setting of it up are all His people so earnestly invited to rejoice and triumph therein (Psalm 95:1-3; Psalm 96:1-4; Psalm 97:1, 2).

2. Herein doth the honour and glory of Christ as Mediator consist, which is a matter of great rejoicing unto all that love Him in sincerity.

3. Our own concern, safety, present and future happiness, lie herein: our all depends upon the kingdom and throne of Christ. He is our King, if we are believers; our King to rule, protect, and save us; to uphold us against opposition, to supply us with strength, to guide us with counsel, to subdue our enemies, to give us our inheritance and reward, and therefore our principal interest lies in His throne, and in the glory and stability thereof. While He reigneth, we are safe, and in our way to glory.

4. The whole world, all the creation of God, are concerned in this kingdom of Christ. Except His enemies in hell, the whole creation is benefited by His dominion; for as some men are made partakers of saving grace thereby, so the residue of that race, by and with them, do receive unspeakable advantages in the forbearance of God; and the very creature itself is raised, as it were, into a hope thereby of deliverance from that state of vanity whereunto now it is subjected (Romans 8:20, 21).

III. IT IS THE DIVINE NATURE OF THE LORD CHRIST THAT GIVES ETERNITY, STABILITY, AND UNCHANGEABLENESS TO HIS THRONE AND KINGDOM.

IV. ALL THE LAWS, AND THE WHOLE ADMINISTRATION OF THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST BY HIS WORD AND SPIRIT, ARE ALL EQUAL, RIGHTEOUS, AND HOLY. "His sceptre is the sceptre of righteousness." The world indeed likes them not; all things in its rule seem to it weak and foolish (1 Corinthians 1:20-23), but they are otherwise, the Holy Ghost being Judge, and such they appear unto them that do believe; yea, whatever is requisite to make laws and administrations righteous, it cloth all concur in those of the Lord Jesus Christ.

1. Christ is vested with sufficient authority for the enacting of laws and rules of administration in His kingdom.

2. Christ is abundantly furnished with wisdom for this purpose. He is the foundation-stone of the Church, that hath seven eyes upon Him (Zechariah 3:9). A perfection of wisdom and understanding in all affairs of it; being anointed with the Spirit unto that purpose (Isaiah 11:3, 4). Yea, in Him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3), it having pleased the Father that in Him all fulness should dwell (Colossians 1:19), so that there can be no defect in His laws and administrations on this account.

3. They are righteous, because they are easy, gentle, and not burdensome.(1) His commands are all of them reasonable, and suited unto the principles of that natural obedience we owe to God; and so not grievous unto anything in us, but that principle of sin and darkness which is to be destroyed.(2) His commands are easy, because all of them are suited to that principle of the new nature, or Dew creature, which He worketh in the hearts of all His disciples.(3) His commands are easy, because He continually gives out supplies of Life Spirit, to make His subjects to yield obedience to them.(4) This rule and administration of Christ's kingdom is righteous, because useful and profitable to His subjects. They make them holy, righteous, such as please God and are useful to mankind.(5) Their end manifests them to be righteous. The worth and equity of laws are taken off when low and unworthy ends are proposed to induce men to observe them. But these of the Lord Christ direct unto the highest end, propose and promise the most glorious rewards.

V. (see Isaiah 11:1-7).

VI. GOD IS A GOD IN ESPECIAL COVENANT WITH THE LORD CHRIST, AS HE IS MEDIATOR, GOD THY GOD.

VII. THE COLLATION OF THE SPIRIT ON THE LORD CHRIST, AND HIS GLORIOUS EXALTATION, ARE THE PECULIAR WORKS OF GOD THE FATHER. "God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee."

VIII. THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IS SINGULARLY IN THIS UNCTION. This is that which the apostle proves in sundry instances, and by comparing Him with others who in the most eminent manner were partakers of it.

IX. ALL THAT SERVE GOD IN THE WORK OF BUILDING THE CHURCH, ACCORDING TO HIS APPOINTMENT, ARE ANOINTED BY HIS SPIRIT, AND SHALL BE REWARDED BY HIS POWER (Daniel 12:3).

X. THE DISCIPLES OF CHRIST, ESPECIALLY THOSE WHO SERVE HIM IN HIS CHURCH FAITHFULLY, ARE HIS COMPANIONS IN ALL HIS GRACE AND GLORY,

(John Owen, D. D.)

Christ is an eternal King, so is no angel, therefore is to be honoured above them. Thus having made mention of His kingdom, then He describeth it more at large, that though we could imagine easily that angels in honour deserved the name of kings, yet such a kingdom no angel could ever have; an everlasting throne, a righteous sceptre, exalting troth, beating down iniquity: in worthiness whereof God hath anointed this king with gladness above all other, and hath called Him by the name of God Himself. In this Scripture there are four special things spoken. First, He is called God alone, and without additions, even as the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 9:7) also calleth Him the mighty God. By which warrant of the prophets being a most sure word, the apostles are bold to give to our Saviour Christ the name and power of the living God (John 1:2, 20.; 1 John 5:20; Romans 9:4; Colossians 2:6). The second thing here attributed to Christ is, that His kingdom is everlasting, So the prophet Isaiah had said (Isaiah 9:7). The same testimony the angel gave of His kingdom when he came to the Virgin Mary (Luke 1:33). And how can this be possibly applied unto Solomon so directly against the Scripture, that the sceptre should be taken once away, not only from the house of Solomon, but from all the tribe of Judah? And how could they not see with their eyes the ruin of that kingdom and the throne of Solomon quite forgotten. The third thing attributed here to Christ is, that the sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of His kingdom, according as David saith (Psalm 97:2). And the meaning of these words is after expressly added - "Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity." This is the sceptre of righteousness which He speaketh of, that is, that His government shall be without all respect of persons, a ministry of justice, and true judgment, even according to the will of God His Father, with whom there is no acceptation of the person of a man. And how can they attribute this to Solomon? They know how Solomon did fall away so far from righteousness, and hated iniquity so little ere he died, that he became a notable idolater. And how was his government in such justice when the whole people came after to Rehoboam his son, and said: "Thy father did make our yoke grievous, now therefore make thou the grievous servitude of thy father lighter, and we will serve thee" (1 Kings 12:4). The fourth thing here spoken of our Saviour Christ is, that for this cause God hath anointed Him with the oil of gladness above His fellows. For this cause, saith the Scripture, because Thou lovedst so much justice, what mean they still to think here upon Solomon, and of such reward of his righteous rule, except they would have the Scriptures false that bear witness of Him. "He had turned has the prophet saith judgment into wormwood." And how standeth it that he was anointed with the oil of gladness? that is, with gifts of the Holy Ghost above his fellows, when many kings of Judah have greater praise of God than he? and: scarce any did fall from God so grievously as he. Now one refuge behind, which they think they have, is nothing at all. They will say that all this was spoken in respect of his beginning, in which he was famous, with this oil of gladness above his fellows, and above all the world. True it is in respect of his government at the first; but are not the words plain that they are not meant of any that should begin well and then fall back? For saith not the text, that this sceptre of justice shall be in His kingdom for ever? know, where Christ is set out thus a King for ever, we are taught not by days and times to measure His commandments, but to hold them without change as the government for ever of His eternal kingdom, for it is too gross folly for us to say He is still our King if we dare abrogate His laws, for He is our Ruler for ever, and yet without Him we will make laws continually? Was it ever heard among earthly kings that subjects could either repeal or change their prince's laws? or make laws without them in their own kingdom? or can there be greater treason than to conspire for such a lewd liberty? And now to the end we may the more willingly do this, both we and our kings whom God hath set over us, let us mark this further which the apostle addeth of our Saviour Christ, that "His sceptre is a sceptre of righteousness"; meaning (as I said) that His government is all in truth and righteousness. And here let us also mark how the apostle setteth out this righteousness of Christ. "Thou hast [saith he] loved transgression and sin So the prophet David saith: "I hate vain inventions, but Thy law I love." And again, "Thy law I love, but I hate falsehood and abhor it" (Psalm 119:113, 163). Even so must we hate iniquity if we love righteousness, and abhor falsehood if we love the truth. And this is that eternal law which God gave from the beginning. I will, saith He, set enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed. It followeth in the end of this seventh verse, "Thy God hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows." In this we may learn another notable cause why we should acknowledge Christ our only King and Lawgiver. Because He is thus anointed, that is, in Him dwelleth all fulness of grace, and the treasures of all wisdom and knowledge are hid in Him; so that leave Him, leave His laws, leave His sceptre, we leave instruction, we leave righteousness, we leave eternal life. And here note that the oil of gladness is the gift of the Spirit of God; gladness to ourselves, because it filleth us with joy in the Lord, and gladness to others because it poureth grace into our lips, to comfort the weak-hearted, and to make us a sweet savour of life unto life, to all that hearken unto us.

(E. Deering, B. D.)

I. A THRONE suggests many a sad and yet many a brilliant contrast. When one thinks of thrones, one cannot but compare how frail have been the noblest thrones that emperors and kings have sat on, but how enduring that throne on which the Lamb is enthroned for ever and ever. Alexander's throne is a mere word in history; the throne of Caesar has passed into the hands of a miserable superstitious priest. Thrones that once awed the world by their majesty, and from which voices came that shook the nations, are relics stored in museums, or studied by inquisitive antiquaries. The occupant of this throne, we read in this passage, is God. If Deity were not the occupant, if Omnipotence were not its foundation, the past history of this throne would be a prophecy of its everlasting duration. Sin rushed against it at the Fall; Satan predicted its overthrow; one would have thought it could scarcely withstand the force of an element that had thrust itself into the world in spite apparently of God. Infidelity has ass ,fled it with all its might. "He must reign," it is truly said, "till he has made all His enemies His footstool."

II. But, in the second place, let me notice a great element in this throne — ITS RIGHTEOUSNESS. "A sceptre of righteousness." We are told in Scripture that all the laws that come from it are righteous laws; that its mercy is righteous, that its blessings are righteous, that its whole economy is righteous. And all thrones on earth partake of the strength of this just in the ratio in which they reflect its glorious character. What a great truth, that just in proportion as true religion saturates the masses of Great Britain, in the same proportion does it become strong, united, lasting! Let us now see where and over whom Christ reigns.

1. He reigns in the world; His throne is in the midst of the nations. Over the world He does not yet reign, for it is not yet universally reclaimed. In the world He does reign, or the world would go absolutely to ruin. Things that are wrong He restrains; things that He permits He overrule to His own glory. Depend upon it, Christ is in history; Christ is in its every chaplet, His presence in its every winding, His power giving direction to its every movement; and the explanation of all that is inexplicable now, He tells us that we shall know hereafter.

2. But Christ's throne, or His reigning or governing presence, is not only in the world, it is also in the Church. What is good in it He inspires; what is evil in it He overrules. Again, every open door for the spread of the gospel in the visible Church results from the influence of the throne. The free course that is given to the Scripture is also the creation of Him who watches over the destinies of His own, and provides for the spread of the everlasting gospel. Because Christ's throne is in that Church, we expect the increase of tidal Church. The darkness that now broods over the magnificent lands of the East shall one day be dissipated, and the rays of a rising sun of Righteousness shall be reflected from mosque and minaret, over the length and breadth of Eastern Christendom. The deadly superstition that now broods over the Western nations of the earth is soon to be scattered.

3. Let me ask now, in conclusion, is this throne, so precious in the world and in the Church — that makes us see all things adverse or friendly, co-operating or contributing only to its greater grandeur and magnificent. — in your hearts? Is Christ , our Prophet that teaches you, your Priest that pleads for you, your King that rules over you? Do you see Him in all that betides you as individuals, present in the tiniest rivalet of private life as truly as in the great cataracts of national history; in the individual Christian's heart a presence as precious as in the government of the world; in the development of the Church, in the spread of His kingdom and the glory among all nations? Do you find your afflictions sanctified to you? do you feel your losses and your crosses weaning you from earth and winning you to God?

(J. Cumming, D. D.)

Hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness
Jesus as mediator is advanced by God, not only above all men, but also above all angels. In handling of this point — I shall speak of the holiness of Christ; His unction, which is the consequent and fruit of it.

I. THE HOLINESS OF CHRIST, BOTH AS TO HIS PERSON AND OFFICE.

1. AS to His person. There we must consider the original holiness of His natures, Divine and human. Divine; He is called " A just God and a Saviour" (Isaiah 45:21). Human; He was wholly free from that original contagion wherewith others that come of Adam are defiled (Luke 1:35). Now add to this His perfect actual obedience to God both in heart and life, and this either to the common law of duty that lieth upon all mankind, for it " became Him to fulfil all righteousness" (Matthew 3:15), or that particular law of mediation which was proper to Himself (Hebrews 5:8), "Though He were a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things He suffered"; by which He answered the end of the law which we have broken, and was also the meritorious cause of the covenant of grace, by which all blessings are conveyed to us (2 Corinthians 5:21). Well, then, His personal holiness did make Him acceptable to God, and should make Him amiable to us.

2. Now let us see how He showeth this love to holiness and hatred to iniquity in His office as well as in His person. The general term whereby this office is expressed is mediator. The three particular functions are those of prophet, priest, and king.(1) As to the general term mediator, whose work it is to make peace between God and man, all that He did therein was out of His love to righteousness and hatred of iniquity. So much we are told (Daniel 9:24). Now, because His heart was so much set upon this, God "anointed Him with the oil of gladness above His fellows."(2) Come we to those three particular functions wherein this office is exercised, those of prophet, priest, and king.(a) As a Prophet, by His doctrine He showeth that He loveth righteousness and hateth iniquity, for the whole frame of it diseovereth and breatheth out nothing else but a hatred against sin and a love to holiness (John 17:17; Psalm 119:140). All the histories, mysteries, precepts, promises, threatenings, aim at this one business, that ,in may be subdued in us, and brought into disrepute in the world.(b) His priestly office consists in His oblation and intercession, as the High Priest under the law did both offer sacrifice and intercede for the people. Now what was the intent of Christ's sacrifice but to put away sin? (Hebrews 9:26).(3) The next thing is a King. He is one whose heart was so set upon the love of righteousness, and the hatred of all iniquity, that He would come ,s a prophet Himself to teach the lost world how to become holy again. And as a priest to die for the guilty world to reconcile them to God. Surely He was fit also to rule the world. There are two parts of government — laws and actual administration. His laws are all good and equal, the same with His doctrine. As He giveth notice of these things as a Prophet, so He giveth charge about them as a King. Now in the righteous ordering the affairs of His kingdom He showeth Himself to be one that loveth righteousness and hateth iniquity. As the laws are good and equal, so the administration is right and just. Well, then, we must neither rebel against His government nor distrust His defence; for Christ administereth justice in His kingdom, defending the good, and destroying the wicked, and He will in time earnestly espouse the cause of all holiness and righteousness.

II. THE UNCTION OF CHRIST, which is the consequent fruit of the former.

1. The author of this unction — "God, even Thy God." Is this spoken to Him as God or man? It may be true in both senses. But especially is this spoken of Him as Mediator, so Christ is one of God's confederates. The redemption of sinners is not a work of yesterday nor a business of chance, but well advised, and in infinite wisdom contrived. There was a preparatory agreement to that great work before it was gone about, and therefore it should not be slighted by us, nor lightly passed over.

2. The privilege itself; to be anointed with the of gladness. It noteth His solemn exaltation and admission to the exercise of His office. By oil all agree is meant the Spirit, by which Christ was anointed. "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me because He hath anointed Me" (Luke 4:18).(1) Christ was anointed at His conception in His mother's womb, when He was sanctified by the Holy Spirit.(2) Again, Christ may be said to be anointed at His baptism, which was the visible consecration to His office, when the Holy Ghost descended upon Him "in the form of a dove" (Matthew 3:16, 17; John 1:33).(3) He may be said to be anointed at His ascension, when he received of the Father the promise of the Spirit to pour Him forth upon His disciples (Acts 2:33). This I take to be the sense here, His glorious exaltation at the right hand of God, where, being possessed of all power, He joyfully expecteth and accomplisheth the fruits of His redemption. I am the more confirmed in this —(a) Because the exaltation of Christ, is as it were His welcome to heaven after all the sorrows of His humiliation.(b) The term, "the oil of gladness," implieth it; for that was the entertainment of honourable guests invited to a feast.

3. The persons anointed.(1) One singular in this unction, the Lord Jesus Christ. There are two sorts of privileges —(a) Some things only given to Christ, not to us; as the name above all names to be adored (Philippians 2:9); to be the Head of the renewed State (Ephesians 1:21), the Saviour of the. body (Ephesians 5:23); to have power to dispense the Spirit, to administer providences, etc. All this is proper to Christ; neither men nor angels share with Him in these honours.(b) There are other things given to Christ and His people; as the sanctifying and comforting Spirit, the heavenly inheritance, victory over our spiritual enemies, the devil, the world, and the flesh; these are given to us and Him; only God doth grace His Son above His fellows. "That He might be the firstborn among many brethren" (Romans 8:29).(2) Others are admitted to be partakers of this grace in a lower degree, called "His fellows." They are also dignified and graced by God above the rest of the world, but not as Christ was. Two things I will observe here —(a) They must be His consorts and fellows. Sometimes they are called "His brethren" (Hebrews 2:11); sometimes members of His mystical body) Ephesians 1:22, 23), sometimes joint-heirs with Christ" (Romans 8:17); meaning thereby all believers, who are companions with Him both in grace and glory.(b) That all these may have somewhat of this unction according to their measure and part which they sustain in the body (1 John 2:20).I shall exhort you to two things.

1. To holiness. If there were no more than that it is pleasing to Christ, and visibly exemplified in His own person, this should induce us. It was love to holiness and hatred of sin that brought Him out of heaven, and put Him on the work of our redemption. Nothing doth more urge us to do a thing than love, or to forbear it than hatred. These were Christ's motives to undertake the redemption of sinners. Now we should love what He loveth, and hate what He hateth.

2. To look after more of this unction. He is Christ the anointed of God; we must be Christians. "The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch" (Acts 11:26); anointed with the Holy Ghost and with power, that we may understand the mind of God, consecrate ourselves to Him, work His work, and engage in His warfare, fighting against the devil, the world, and the flesh, till we triumph with Christ in heaven. All must be anointed.(1) This is the fruit of Christ's exaltation, to send and shed abroad the Spirit.(2) Consider the necessity of this grace. Our love to righteousness and hatred of iniquity is the fruit of this unction, for affections follow the nature.(3) Consider the utility and profit. It is for our comfort. The Spirit is called "the oil of gladness," because the benefits whereof we are partakers are matters of great joy (Acts 13:52).

(T. Manton, D. D.)

I. THE CHARACTER OF CHRIST.

1. He loved righteousness. He loved it so as to be a perfect model of all righteousness.

2. But not only did Christ love righteousness, He hated iniquity. A man may admire excellency of character, and yet not follow in the steps in which it walks; he has not the moral courage to forsake his evil courses; and there is in the very best of men at seasons not that perfect hatred of sin which is proper. Not so our Emmanuel. He hated iniquity with as much force as He loved righteousness; not only sometimes, but always.

II. CHRIST'S CONSEQUENT EXALTATION.

1. The apostle wishes to show the Hebrews the fact of Christ's unequalled superiority to every created being in the universe. He therefore commences by showing Christ's superiority to men, to the greatest of men that have ever lived — such as the patriarchs and prophets of the Old Testament dispensation. They were indeed vastly superior to the men of the age in which they lived -superior in point of gifts and endowments from heaven, superior in respect of the close intercourse they held with God. But they were infinitely inferior to the Son, as Christ is here called by way of pre-eminence, by whom God has spoken to us in these latter days.

2. But not only does Paul her. prove Christ's superiority to men, he proves the superiority of Christ to angels also. What does the term "angel" mean? It signifies messenger. The Son is greater than a messenger.

III. CHRIST'S RELATIONSHIP TO US. We are Christ's "fellows." This singular expression is supposed by some to refer to the angels; but at once that supposition is rebutted by the fact that Christ took not on Him the nature of angels; He assumed the nature of man, and assuming the same torture seems to be the meaning of the expression. Man has a fellowship of nature with Christ; all men have this fellowship; but the redeemed — namely, all those that are sanctified by Christ's Spirit — are Christ's fellows in the highest and closest sense.

(R. Jones, B. A.)

This Hebraism here intendeth two things —

1. The excellency of this gladness. No external joy is to be compared to it.

2. The quantity of that joy. It far surpasseth all the joy that ever was or can be, which is manifested in this phrase following — "above Thy fellows." This epithet " gladness" is attributed to this oil in relation to Christ the head, and to all believers His members. It hath relation to Christ in two respects.(1) As it quickened Him up and made Him joyful in all His undertakings for our redemption, Christ, being by His Father deputed to His function, most willingly and joyfully undertook and managed it. "As a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, He rejoiced as a strong man to run His race" (Psalm 19:5). When He cometh into the world, He saith, "I delight to do Thy will, O My God" (Psalm 40:8). When He was in the world, He said, "My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work" (John 4:34).(2) Gladness hath relation to Christ by reason of the fruit that sprouted out from thence. His coming into the world, and doing and enduring what He did, was matter of rejoicing to others, in which respect the prophet exhorteth the daughter of Zion to shout, and to be glad and rejoice with all the heart (Zephaniah 3:14; Zechariah 9:9). And the angels that brought the first news of Christ's birth do thus proclaim it: "Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people" (Luke 2:10).This epithet "gladness" hath relation to the members of Christ in two respects.(1) As the things whereof in Christ they are made partakers are matters of great joy; for so many and so great are the benefits which believers receive from Christ by virtue of that anointing, as they very much rejoice their hearts. Many of these benefits are expressly set down (Isaiah 61:1-3). Other benefits are in other places distinctly noted — as redemption from sin, reconciliation with God, justification in His sight, adoption, regeneration, sanctification, and the end of all, eternal salvation. If any things in the world cause true joy and gladness, surely these effects which flow from the anointing of Christ will do it.(2) As the members of Christ are quickened up by that Spirit which cometh from Him, do and endure readily, willingly, cheerfully, joyfully what the Lord calls them unto (Psalm 122:1; 1 Chronicles 29:9, 17). It is said of those on whom the Spirit rested, that "they received the Word gladly," and mutually communicated together " with gladness." On a like ground the eunuch whom Philip baptized, and Paul's jailor, are said to rejoice (Acts 8:39; Acts 16:34). This fruit of joy gives evidence of a believer's union with Christ, and of the abode of Christ's Spirit in him; for the Spirit is as oil, of a diffusing nature. Hereby we may gain assurance to our own souls, and give evidence to others of the Spirit that is in us. So did the Jews of old (1 Chronicles 29:9), and Christ's disciples (Luke 10:17), and Christians in the primitive Church (Hebrews 10:34; Philippians 2:17, 18).

(W. Gouge.)

If a lighted candle be brought into a room, we know that light streams from it. Lilies bring perfume, and spices exhale odours, from their very nature. The whole character of Jesus, when closely examined, is one that must have filled any dwelling where He came with gladness and comfort.

(H. W. Beecher.)

Happiness is the light which flashes from the glittering armour of righteousness. If holiness be the priest, let happiness be the ephod of blue, and scarlet, and fine-twined linen, hung with bells and pomegranates, which be wears for glory and for beauty.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation
Homilist
I. THE UNIVERSE HAD AN ORIGIN, AND IS DESTINED TO HAVE A DISSOLUTION.

II. BOTH THE ORIGINATION AND THE DISSOLUTION OF THE UNIVERSE ARE ATTRIBUTABLE TO CHRIST. This fact serves —

1. As an argument for His Godhood.

2. To present nature in new aspects of attraction.

III. CHRIST REMAINS UNALTERABLE, FROM THE ORIGIN, THROUGH ALL THE DISSOLUTIONS, OF THE UNIVERSE. No change in His —

1. Being.

2. Thoughts.

3. Heart.

(Homilist)

I. CHRIST BEFORE THE CREATION.

1. The material universe is not eternal.

2. The universe was created.

3. The universe had many beginnings. Earth, sun, stars, &c. Christ was before all beginnings.

II. CHRIST AT THE CREATION. He was the Creator, from the lowest to the highest; from the least to the greatest; from the first to the last. The Redeemer was the Creator; therefore —

1. There are no contradictions between Nature and Christianity.

2. There are striking correspondences between Nature and Christianity.

III. CHRIST WITHIN THE CREATION. The stars are the jewels on His brow; the sky His flowing train; the flowering landscapes, the shining seas, the gorgeous clouds — the fine needlework and wrought gold of His imperial raiment.

IV. CHRIST AFTER THE CREATION. The raiment waxes old, and is folded up, giving place to robes more glorious still; but He who is the fulness of the Godhead bodily is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. Lessons:

1. Remember that in the gospel we come nearer to Christ than we do in nature.

2. Let us build on Christ.

(W. L. Watkinson.)

I. THE SUBSTANCE OF THE ASCRIPTION. We are transported to a distant period, ere time had, in its strictest sense, begun, or the mechanism of its notations had received shape or being. The revolutions of this firmament had not commenced, nor was there a sign for seasons, Nothing is necessary but God. All else is but an effect of His pleasure and power. He composed matter, He gave life, He communicated spirit. Some of the stages in this formative process may be traced. He "laid the foundations of the earth," a figure which signifies His stability. That stability rests on certain laws which He has ordained. "The heavens are the works of His hands." He garnished them with all their exquisite furniture, drew their orbits, studded their stars. His "fingers" wove that splendid web. And "when we consider His heavens," with what admiration are we overwhelmed! Magnitudes, distances, systems, parallelisms, still rise upon us. Did He "lay the foundations of the earth"? "He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not." But this ascription not only predicates His creative greatness, and how He produced the entire universe — it proclaims that all these effects are now at His disposal and under His control.

1. Observe His independence of them. They are not built for eternity. They shall "perish." Their perdition and change shake not His throne nor obscure His glory.

2. Mark His identity among them. They are the subjects of incessant revolution and variation. There is a constant disturbance in the natural system; things take new forms and circumstances; and though principles are unaltered, the dispositions under them are often the most strange and unexpected. The very elements around us "wax old as doth a garment." Only Deity can say, "I charge not." "This is the true God, and eternal life" — essential and exhaustless, "the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever!"

3. Trace His power over them. Nothing, once dependent and derived, can exist in defiance of His will. And what is there, or can there be, which this category does not include? Thus is the Lord Jesus exhibited to us! He "lays the foundations of the earth"; "the heavens are the works of His hands": amidst their change and portended ruin He "remains" — He is "the same"; with Him awaits the dissolution of all things. He must be greater than those operations which He commands. Be must be apprised of the final causes of those operations which proceed from His unaided skill, and the more so, as, otherwise, he might close the great consummation with their imperfect fulfilment. Who, then, is this? "God over all."

II. THE VALUE OF THE ARGUMENT. We must, at this point of the projected proof, look into our mind. There we behold a law, or a certainty of mental condition, which conducts us back from any result to a causative power.

1. Every effect of Divine power must be inferior to that power — that is, must be finite. It can create no rival being.

2. Upon the creative claim God has always been pleased to found Ills challenge of supremacy and exaction of worship. Then, whoever is Jesus Christ, since the heavens are works of His hands, He is supreme, is entitled to worship, is authorised to require our service, is gloriously independent, and will pronounce the sentence of our endless destiny!

3. The works of creation are designed to be monumental of their immediate Author. When we investigate them, they speak a splendid panegyric to His fame. "The heavens declare the glory of God, the firmament showeth His handywork." They are the signals of His might, and skill, and love.

III. THE ENFORCEMENT OF THE CONCLUSION. The truth of the theme being once allowed, its influence will be instantaneous. Not for a moment can it remain an indifferent sentiment. Let it be believed, and all the doctrines of the gospel follow in a necessary order, as very corollaries.

1. It is supposed by the Incarnation; but what illustrations does that marvel derive from the descriptions of the text! "He laid the foundations of the earth," where He hath not a place to lay His head. "The heavens are the works of His hands," though they beat on Him with their tempests and chill Him with their dews; though their stars hold watch over Him when His soul is sorrowful unto death. He formed the instruments of all the suffering He endured. He caused the thorns to grow which were knotted round His brow; He prepared the worm that spun the flaunting attire which mocked His person; He sent down into the ground the fibres of the tree which gave the wood that was fashioned for His cross; He veined the mine whose ore was converted into nail and spear-head to transfix His flesh; He withdrew the restraints from our fallen nature, and let loose all its enmities on Himself!

2. The character of that expiation, which is the first quality and intention of His death, will be greatly determined by a representation such as this. The merit of an atoning act will altogether depend on the disposition and worthiness of the party who presents it. Nor can the mediation of every party be allowed. High attributes of worthiness must inhere in him who takes up the quarrel and offers the vindication of it. Who shall interpose between God and man, between the dishonoured law and the offender? That Surety must have a perfect knowledge of the tremendous dilemma. And did not He, who "laid the foundations of the earth," understand the moral order which He then established, the holy law which He gave, the system of good which He instituted? Who could be equally cognisant of its excellence? Who could be equally intent upon its restoration?

3. He who has done all this achievement of power and goodness in creating the universe, designed our redemption to be the great object and glory of it. Shall a sphere, in those "heavens which are the works of His hands," refuse its music to the Saviour, or withhold to swell the triumph of His salvation over the earth whose "foundations He has laid"? Again — and far sweeter and more majestic than that natal peal which floated above our new created world- let the morning stars sing together, and the sons of God shout for joy!

4. This Creator-Saviour must have the direction of all mundane affairs. He knoweth the way that we take. He telleth our wanderings. He seeth of what we have need. He is touched with the feeling of our infirmities. He is able to succour us when we are tempted. Neither in life nor death can we stray out of His dominion or beyond His care. To the verge of that earth whose foundations he has laid; to the bond of those heavens which are the works of His hands — how safe are His disciples! This is your triple security, ye who put your trust in this great God your Saviour! All things are for your sakes! All things work together for your good t

5. An immutability most tender and amiable is opposed by this subject to all our fluctuating circumstances. Who has never found occasion of complaint against human fickleness? Who has never known a mortifying coldness where his heart had lavished all its store of love? Oh, then, to take these words with us, and looking up to Him who loves unto the end, what a relief our wrung soul finds as it cries, "Thou art the same!" Bereavement is one of the heaviest portions of our lot. What sepulchres lie along our path! Oh, then, to speak this assurance, and in it to feel that nothing is lost while this is left, "Thou remainest!" Age brings with it decay and infirmity, misgiving and irresoluteness, slight and inattention, physical depressions and mournful reviews. Sense has failed in its varied gratifications, and the heart is smitten with a desolateness. Oh, then, to turn from all beside, to clasp our feeble hands, to raise our dimming eyes, and with our tremulous accents to exclaim, "Thy years shall not fail! " How sweet are these supports! What a Saviour is ours!

(R. W. Hamilton, D. D.)

Where it is said further, "God laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the works of His hands." We must consider the creation of the world is thus attributed to God, not only because all things were made by Him, but because He hath so made them that they carry a mark imprinted in them of the power and Godhead of the Creator. When I see the heavens I must see His greatness, who was able to set such a covering over the earth. When I behold the earth, I must behold His providence, who hath ordained such a place of nourishment for all creatures. When I look upon the unchangeable course in which all things are established, I must look upon His constant wisdom and goodness, who in a steadfast purpose hath extended His mercies over all His works. In the least of all the creatures of God, when I see wisdom, power, glory, more than all the world can reach their hands unto, let me humble myself under His high majesty, before whom no king, no prince, no power of the world hath any account; but all nations before Him are as nothing, and they are accounted unto Him less than nothing, and lighter than vanity itself. Another thing here we have to consider, that the apostle teacheth the excellency of Christ in respect of His continuance, before whom the heaven and earth are but a moment; for so in this comparison he speaketh of their age as a thing of nothing — "They shall perish, they shall wax old as a garment, they shall be folded up as a vesture" — making all the continuance of the heaven to be vanity, and of none account; for although it may seem he might have made his comparison with things of a more expressed show of vanity than a garment, as to have compared them with smoke, with the shadow of smoke, with the dream of a shadow, or such like; yet in comparing the time of the heavens, which are so many ages, with a garment which is scarce a year, it is as clear a testimony all is nothing as if all were not a minute of an hour. Besides this, the cause of this comparison with a garment was the similitude in which God hath set the heavens, who hath spread them like a curtain, and made them as a covering to all His creatures; it was not to make the comparison less in show of their vanity. Then here let us be wise-hearted as the prophet was, as oft as our hope is before our eyes, to see our Saviour Christ living for ever: let us not only confess that our own age is nothing in respect of Him, but let us boldly continue even the continuance of the heavens, and account all things nothing that hath an end; for let the days be never so many, which you can call into account, and multiply years into the longest continuance which your thoughts can comprehend, that thousand thousands be before you, and ten thousand thousands are in your mind, with one word you shall confute them all, and with the breath of your mouth you may blow them away, and, as the prophet saith, make them all as a garment that is rent and worn; for reckon up all thy thousands that thou canst, and put this word "past" unto them, and where are they now become? A thousand thousand thousand years past, what are they? And if time be such a tyrant. to break the delight of the long age of the very heavens, that the wise heart of a man doth say even they are vanity, and wax old as doth a garment, what foolishness hath wrapped up all our understanding? and what blindness is in our hearts, that we see not our own life what it is? And shall yet this life, so short, so troublesome, so without pleasure, so fast hold us bound with blind desire, that we neither long for nor look after Jesus Christ, who liveth ever, and hast cast forth of His presence all sin, and sorrow, and death itself?

(E. Deering, B. D.)

They shall perish; but Thou remainest.
As Christ had no beginning, so He shall have no ending. The heavens shall decay, but not He. He is immutable. They are young and old; so is not Christ: He remains always in the same estate and condition. All garments in the world in the end wax old (Deuteronomy 29:5). So the whole fabric of the world: there is not that clearness of light in the sun and moon that there was, not that force and strength in the stars, the earth is not so lusty and lively. Old things are not wont to be had in any price or estimation: who cares for an old pair of shoes that be not worth the taking up? Who regards an old coat that hath no strength in it, but is ready to be torn in pieces? Who will give much for an old house, the timber whereof is rotten, and it is ready to fall on his head? Now is the last age of the world, it hath continued many thousand years, it is now as an old house, an old garment that cannot last long: therefore let us not be too much in love with it. There was some reason why in former times, when this building was new and strong, when the coat and garment of the world was fresh, fair, and of good durance, that men should set their affections on it: but now when the beauty and strength of it is gone, why should we be enamoured with it? Let us use it as if we used it not, and let us long for that day when both the heavens and the earth and we ourselves likewise shall be changed and be translated with Christ into the kingdom of glory: the heavens are most fitly resembled to a garment. Observe the similitude and dissimilitude.

1. A garment covers a man: so do the heavens.

2. The substance of a garment must be before, as silk, velvet, cloth, else you can make no garment: but Christ made the heavens of nothing.

3. A garment must have a form or fashion: so has this an excellent one.

4. A garment stands in need of mending: we need be at no cost nor labour in mending of this garment; but Christ by the power of His providence upholds it.

(W. Jones, D. D.)

We live in a world of change. The earth is not the same to-day as it was ages ago, and shall be ages on. The sun is radiating off its heat. The moon, no longer as of yore, burns and glows, and is but an immense opaque cinder, reflecting the sunlight from its disc. Stars have burnt out, and will. The universe is waxing old, as garments which from perpetual use become threadbare. But the dilapidation of the garment is no proof of the waning strength or slackening energy of the wearer. Nay, when garments wear out quickest, it is generally the time of robustest youth or mankind. You wrap up and lay aside your clothes when they have served their purpose, but you are the same in the new suit as in the old. Creation is the vesture of Christ. He wraps Himself about in its ample folds. Its decay affects Him not. And, when He shall bare laid it all aside, and replaced it by the new heavens and the new earth, He will be the same for evermore. With what new interest may we not now turn to the archaic record, which tells how God created the heavens and the earth. Those sublime syllables, "Light be," were spoken by the voice that trembled in dying anguish on the cross. Rolling rivers, swelling seas, waving woods, bursting flowers, carolling birds, innumerable beasts, stars sparkling like diamonds on the pavilion of night, all newly made; all throbbing with God's own life; and all very good; but, mainly and gloriously all the work of those hands which were nailed helplessly to the cross, which itself, as well as the iron that pierced Him, was the result of His creative will.

(F. B. Meyer, B. A.)

On every Mohammedan tombstone the inscription begins with the words, "He remains." This applies to God, and gives sweet comfort to the bereaved. Friends may die, fortune fly away, but God endures — He remains.

(Perrine.)

We may learn the dignity of our Lord from all the intermediate changes of the world between its creation and destruction.

1. First, then, we may observe that our Lord is everlasting. "They all shall wax old as doth a garment," but "Thy years shall not fail." What garments are to a man, the universe, with all its most glorious objects and element;, is to the Lord. These His glorious garments, then, in time shall wax old; but He who hath life in Himself, even as His Father hath life in Himself, shall continue still glorious as He was in His own glory, before He formed them and put them on.

2. And He is not only everlasting, but unchangeable. "As a vesture shalt Thou fold them up, and they shall be changed; but Thou art the same." He may indeed lay aside His vesture. But as a sovereign, when after the pomp of a public ceremonial he unrobes, when his crown and sceptre are deposited in their caskets, and his garments of state are folded and put away, is a sovereign still, so our Lord, when He puts off the earth and heavens like a vesture, shall be "still the same." "There are differences of administrations, but the same Lord." "Thou art the same": or, if we closely follow the original, "Thou art He" — He, the ancient of days, who speaks also by the mouth of Isaiah, even to your old age, I am He yea, before the day was, I am He" "The world passeth away, and the lust thereof." Time's hurrying tide bears swift along our hopes, our joys, our vanities; ourselves, prone and struggling upon its waters. As we drive down upon the face of that gloomy stream, all our efforts seem vain, nothing is firm around, on whatever we lay hold, the same current is carrying it away, by which we ourselves are hurried on; till imminent danger forces from our souls the drowning cry, "Save, Lord, we perish." The Lord extends His hand, and sets our feet upon a rock. He is Himself that Rock. He makes us, perishable creatures as we are, partakers of His stability, The various objects are carried rapidly by us, bat we are now upon solid ground. "The world passeth away, and the lust thereof; but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever."

(T. Bogs.)

Even now agencies are at work in God's material works tending towards the dissolution of certain of them. Water, frost, and fire are all eating away portions of the world. But to these will be added, at the last, some swift and sudden convulsion, telling that her end is nigh at hand. Probably no particle of matter will ever be annihilated; and out of the ruins of the world it seems, from 2 Peter 3:13, as if " new heavens and a new earth " were to emerge. But still, the present world is to be utterly destroyed. The green earth and the azure heavens are to pass away. Both shall be consumed, and hurried into wreck and ruin, by the devastating fire that shall usher in "the great day of the Lord." But even at this stage of the passage there is a direct testimony to the surpassing power and majesty of Christ. "Thou," it is said of the Son — "Thou shall fold them up." Christ, who, "in the beginning," was the Maker, will, in the end, be the Destroyer, of the world.

(A. S. Patterson.)

Change is necessarily going on in earth, sun, moon, and stars. It cannot possibly be avoided where there is motion. Day by day the alteration progresses. Millennium after millennium it advances. The earth is not now what it was millenniums ago. It will not be to-morrow what it was yesterday, or what it is to-day. The sun is radiating itself off, and must by-and-by cease to burn. "It is simply," says Sir William Thomson, "an incandescent mass cooling." Stars have already burnt out, or will. The moon no longer, as of yore, burns and glows. It is now an immense opaque cinder, only reflecting the sunlight that is thrown from afar upon its disc.

(J. Morison, D. D.)

Thou art the same.
I. WHAT CHRIST IS IN HIMSELF.

1. As to His person, He is the eternal Son of God, who existed from everlasting (John 1:1).

2. As to His office. He is Mediator between God and man, fitted for it by assuming our nature into a personal union with the Divine, that as God and man in one person He might transact with both.

II. WHAT BELIEVERS HAVE FOUND HIM TO BE UNTO THEM.

1. It was Christ who awakened them to a sense of their lost, miserable state (Ephesians 2:1).

2. Who received them upon their applying to Him for mercy and salvation, and believing on Him, He pardoned all their sins (Colossians 1:14).

3. Who adopted them into His family and gave them the earnest of their inheritance (Romans 8:15, 16).

4. Thus passing into the number of His children, He continues to bless them, by subduing their corruptions, &c.

5. At death He receives their departing spirits.

III. AS TO ALL THIS THE TEXT IS APPLICABLE TO CHRIST. "Thou art the same," &c.

1. He is the same in Himself, as to His person and offices.

2. As to His interest in His Father, and acceptance with Him: the Beloved, in whom He is always well pleased (Matthew 3:17).

3. And with regard to us, the same as to His ability and willingness to save (Hebrews 7:25).

4. The merit of His death is the same it ever was (Revelation 5:6).

5. And He is the same, to pardon, justify, sanctify, and glorify.Application:

1. If He is the same, let every Christless sinner seek an interest in Christ with the same diligence that ever any did; such have the same necessity, and the same encouragement.

2. Despair, under the gospel, is most unreasonable; seeing Christ came to save sinners, assures of His having saved the chief of sinners, and represents Himself as, after all, the same.

3. Let believers rejoice in Christ as unchangeable.

(J. Hannam.)

Though all these three phrases in general intend one and the same thing, namely, immutability, yet to show that there is no vain repetition, they may be distinguished one from another.

1. "Thou remainest," pointeth at Christ's eternity before all times; for it implieth His being before, in which He still abides.

2. "Thou art the same," declares Christ's constancy. There is no variableness with Him; thus therefore He saith of Himself, "I am the Lord, I change not" (Malachi 3:6).

3. "Thy years shall not fail," intendeth Christ's everlastingness; that He who was before all times, and continueth in all ages, will beyond all times so continue. Thus these three phrases do distinctly prove the three branch, as of this description of Christ, "which is, and which was, and which is to come" (Revelation1:4). This name that Christ assumeth to Himself, "I AM," and this, "I AM THAT I AM" (Exodus 3:14), and this also, "JEHOVAH" (Exodus 6:3), do demonstrate a perpetual continuing to be the same. In this respect He thus saith, "I the Lord, the first, and with the last, I am He" (Isaiah 41:4). This immutable constancy of the Lord is confirmed by this testimony, ,' with whom is no variableness nor shadow of turning" (James 3:17), no show or appearance of alteration. This may be exemplified in all the things that are Christ's.

1. His essence and being. This is especially here intended. So also Exodus 3:14.

2. His counsel. Immutability is expressly attributed thereunto (Hebrews 6:17). "It shall stand" (Psalm 33:11; Proverbs 19:21; Isaiah 48:10). It shall stand immutably, inviolably.

3. His attributes. Sundry attributes for teaching sake, by way of resemblance, are ascribed to the Lord. In this respect it is said, "His compassions fail not" (Lamentations 3:22). "His mercy endureth for ever" (Psalm 118:1). "His love is everlasting" (Jeremiah 31:3). "His righteousness endureth for ever" (Psalm 111:8). So His "truth" (Psalm 117:2). So His "judgments" (Psalm 119:160).

4. His "Word" endureth for ever (1 Peter 1:25). This is manifested in the Law, whereof "not one tittle shall fail" (Luke 16:17), and in the gospel, which is an everlasting gospel.

5. His "bonds" whereby He binds Himself to us are unalterable as "promises" and "oaths." These are the two immutable things intended (Hebrews 6:18), and His covenant also (Jeremiah 32:20, 21).

(W. Gouge.)

1. It domonstrateth Christ to be true God (Malachi 3:6).

2. It distinguisheth Him from all creatures, from idols especially (Isaiah 41:4; Isaiah 44:6).

3. It strengtheneth our faith in all His Divine properties, promises, and former works (Psalm 44:1, 2; Psalm 90:1, 2; Genesis 32:10-12; Hebrews 13:5, 6).

4. It instructeth us in an especial use of God's former dealings with men; which is in like good courses to expect like blessings, and in like evil courses to expect like judgments: for the Lord is ever the same, and ever of the same mind; what in former times was right in His eyes and acceptable unto Him, is so still (Romans 4:23, 24). What formerly offended Him and provoked His wrath, still so doth (1 Corinthians 10:5, 6, &c.).

5. It assureth us of His continual and perpetual care of His Church (Matthew 28:20), yea, and of the Church's perpetual continuance (Matthew 16:18).

6. It encourageth us against all attempts of enemies present and to come (Psalm 110:1; Revelation 2:10).

7. It teacheth us to do what in us lieth for perpetuating His praise; and for this end both to set forth His praise ourselves all our days (Psalm 104:33), and also to teach our posterity so to do (Psalm 78:5, 6).

8. It directeth us bow to be like to Christ, namely, in constancy and unchangeableness in our lawful promises, oaths, vows, and covenants (Nehemiah 5:12, 13; Psalm 15:4; Ecclesiastes 5:4; Jeremiah 34:10, 18), and in our warrantable enterprises (1 Corinthians 15:58).

9. It admonisheth us to submit ourselves to the Lord's ordering providence; all our strivings against the same cannot after this purpose (1 Samuel 3:18).

10. It establisheth such as have evidence of their election and calling against all Satan's assaults and fears arising from our weak flesh (2 Peter 1:10).

(W. Gouge.)

I. Let us consider, WHAT CHRIST IS IN HIMSELF, AND THIS AS TO HIS PERSON AND OFFICE.

1. As to His person, He is the eternal Son of God — the second Person in the glorious Trinity — who bad a being, and a very glorious one, before He appeared it, our world, even from everlasting.

2. As to His office. Though He was not incarnate till the fulness of time, the office of Mediator was what He was early appointed to, and consented to undertake; and so He speaks of Himself as "set up from everlasting, from the b ginning, or ever the earth was" (Proverbs 8:23).

II. Let us see WHAT HIS PEOPLE HAVE FOUND HIM TO BE UNTO THEM.

III. THAT WITH RESPECT TO BOTH THESE, IT MAY BE SAID OF HIM, "THOU ART THE SAME, AND THY YEARS SHALL NOT FAIL."

1. He is the same in Himself, as to His person and office, God in our nature, the great Immanuel, and so the only Mediator between God and man.

2. The same as to His interest in His Father, and acceptance with Him: the Beloved in whom He is always well pleased.

3. And with respect to us, the same as to His ability and willingness to save. APPLICATION.

1. May it be said of Christ, that He is the same, and His years fail not "? Let this put every Christless sinner upon looking out after an interest in Him. And this for these two plain reasons.(1) You have the same need of Christ and interest in Him with any that are gone before.(2) You have the same encouragement to come to Christ, under the assurance that He is the same as to His person and office, His fitness for His work, and delight in it.

2. Despair is most unreasonable in such as sit under the sound of the gospel, which tells us of Christ's coming to save sinners, assures us of His having saved the chief of sinners, and represents Him as after all the same.

3. Let believers rejoice in Christ as unchangeable.

(D. Wilcox.)

I. AN EXALTED VIEW OF JESUS CHRIST. The text certainly implies —

1. The Divinity of His nature. To be "the same," is to be unchangeable; but immutability is an attribute of Deity.

2. The immutability of His perfections. Such are the amazing greatness and vast variety of the works of creation, that their Author must be God.

3. The perpetuity of His offices. When we speak of the offices of Christ, we have respect always to His character as Mediator, and His great undertaking as the Saviour of sinners.(1) He assumed the office of a Prophet. In this character He went about teaching "the words of eternal life." And He teaches now by His written Word, by the ministry of His gospel, and by His Spirit given to men.(2) 'He bore the office of a Priest. In this view He offered Himself a Sacrifice of atonement to God the Father, for the sins of all that believe. And He wears His priesthood still. Jesus, the Son of God, who is passed into the heavens, is our "great High Priest": as such, He is "touched with the feeling of our infirmities"; He knows the trial of severe temptation; He bears us on His heart; He pleads for us above: "He ever liveth to make intercession."(3) He sustained the office of a King. In His regal capacity, all power in heaven and in earth is is given to Him. He is constituted Supreme Ruler. He presides the Head of the Church, and I-lead over all things to the Chinch. He now reigns, and He must reign, till the tranquillity of all His friends be effectually secured, and till all His enemies be subdued under His feet.

II. The subject furnishes various REFLECTIONS, by way of IMPROVEMENT. IS the nature of Christ Divine? Are His perfections immutable, and His offices perpetual? Is He uniformly "the same," and shall His years "not fail"? Then —

1. All is well respecting the government of the world. Its government is assuredly wise, perfectly and invariably right; for it is committed to Him who ever lives, and who lives for ever "the same"!

2. We may rest assured of the safety of the Church. Whatever becomes of the kingdoms of the earth, the Church is safe. For the Church the world stands; and all events are doubtless under the direction and control of Him who is " King of nations," and "King of saints."

3. We are greatly encouraged as sinners to apply to Christ for salvation. Behold the glorious ability and fitness of the Son of God. What could you wish to find in a Saviour which you find not in Him?

4. Believers are hereby relieved under the pressure of their trials. You are in a wilderness, among briars and thorns; on an ocean, tossed with waves and tempests. You are subject to painful anxieties from various quarters. All around is lull of change; and there is nothing beneath the sun on which you can depend with confidence for an hour. Be it so there is One who is invariably "the same"; a Rock that never moves: a Refuge that never fails; and this Rock, this Refuge, is Christ.

(T. Kidd)

Sit on My right hand.
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 REGARDED BY BELIEVERS. He says unto Him, "Sit, Thou at My right hand." Much of the consolation and security of the Church depends on this consideration.

II. THE EXALTATION OF CHRIST IS THE GREAT PLEDGE OF THE ACCEPTANCE 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 enemies rage, indeed, as though they would pull Him out of His throne; but it is altogether in vain. He hath the faithfulness and power, the word and right band 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 while they please, shall be unto them miserable and shameful, to the saints joyful, to Himself victorious and triumphant.

1. God hath promised unto the Lord Christ from the foundation of the world that so it should be. 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 engagement of His Father, He rests in the foresight of its accomplishment. And thence it is that He bears all the opposition that is made unto Him, and to His kingdom, with patience and forbearance.

3. He is Himself furnished with authority and power for the accomplishment of this work when and as He pleaseth. 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."

4. His glory and honour require that it should be so. This is a thing that He is very tender in. God bath 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 under His power, or be delivered from His wrath, where would be His glory, where His honour?

5. His saints pray that it may be so, and that both upon His account and their own. Upon His, that His glory, which is dearer to them than their lives, may be vindicated and exalted. Upon their own account, that their miseries may be ended, that the blood of their fellow-servants may be revenged, that the whole Church may be delivered, and all their promises fulfilled. Now He will not disappoint their prayers, nor frustrate their expectations in anything, much less in those that are of so great importance.

6. His enemies deserve it unto the utmost; so that as well His justice as His glory, and interest, and people, are concerned in their destruction. In the most of them, their outrage against Him is notorious, and visible in 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, that all shall see the righteousness of His judgments against them.

(John Owen, D. D.)

God was pleased thus highly to exalt His Son in sundry respects.

1. In regard of that entire love which as a Father He did bear to a Son (John 3:35; John 5:20).

2. In regard of the low degree of Christ's humiliation (Philippians 2:8, 9; Ephesians 4:9, 10).

3. In regard of that charge which Christ undertook to provide for His Church, and to protect it. Hereunto is He the better enabled by that high advancement (Matthew 28:18-20; John 17:2).

4. In regard of the saints who are Christ's members, that they might with stronger confidence depend on Him (Psalm 80:17, 18; 2 Timothy 1:12).

5. In regard of His enemies, that He might be the greater terror unto them, and be more able to subdue them (Psalm 110:2).

(W. Gouge.)

Thine enemies Thy footstool.
Tell me, which of us having a long journey, by many thieves and wild beasts, or passing the rocky seas in great and violent storms, though he escape a place or two where no thief is, nor any beast hath molested him, yet at every place of danger his fear is still renewed. And though he have passed many high surges, and deep gulfs of water, yet at every wave he is still afraid, not careless, because he hath passed far, but still careful, because there is more behind; and this wisdom we use because we know we may as well fall toward our journey's end and as well be drowned before the haven's mouth as when we first began our dangerous voyage. Even so with the Church of Christ, in which this day we confess ourselves to have our portion, from the first day of her peregrination in earth till her last entrance into glory, there is a perpetual hatred between the serpent and her Head and between the seed of the serpent and her children, in which strife every one of us particularly have our fight, so that from our mother's womb till we lie down in the grave our life is a warfare upon earth. No age, no condition of life, no day, no light, but brings his enemy with him, and the same enemy armed with sin and death, as well against the man of an hundred years old as against the child that is newborn, and as well we may fall into con-detonation through apostasy of old and crooked age as through concupiscence and pride of youth. And as the peril is great so we have heard the enemies are strong, and such as before whom we are very cowards; for be we otherwise never so valiant to endure pain, to quarrel, to fight, to despise any danger, as it is the manner of a great many ruffians, indeed, but men of good courage they would be called. Bring me one of them in battle against these enemies; we have to strive against pride, against concupiscence, against idle games, against all sin, and thou shalt see no boy, no woman, no sick man so very a coward. He hath not the heart to strike one blow, but yieldeth himself like a slave, and is led away as an ox to the slaughter-house. Let us therefore watch, let us pray; for in this dangerous battle, in which these strong men are very cowards, what can we do? Even let us deny ourselves, and trust unto Him that sitteth on the right hand of His Father, and He shall make all our enemies our footstool.

(E. Deering, B. D.)

Are not they all ministering spirits?
I. In the light of an ADMONITION.

1. Whilst Christ is one, the angels are many.

2. Whilst the individuality of Christ is powerfully brought out in the Scriptures, the angels flit past us in vaguest form.

3. Whilst Christ is supreme, the angels are ministrant.

II. In the light of a PATTERN.

1. The universality of their action. None idle.

2. The characteristics of their service.

(1)Unselfish.

(2)Unobtrusive.

(3)Condescending.

3. The aim of their mission. They help the saints to make their calling and election sure.

III. In the light of CONSOLATION. Think of their number, strength, swiftness, love.

(W. L. Watkinson.)

Homilist.
I. THEY ARE SPIRITS.

1. The features in which they differ from man. Greater vitality, power, knowledge.

2. Some of the features which distinguish them from each other. They differ in the amount of faculty, in the form of talent, in the date of their existence, in the sphere of their agency.

II. THEY ARE MINISTERING SPIRITS. This implies —

1. Activity.

2. Activity for others.

III. THEY ARE MINISTERING SPIRITS DIVINELY COMMISSIONED. How great must He be who directs the movements of these countless hosts, at whose throne the loftiest of their number bow in humblest homage, and whose behests each counts it his highest honour and blessedness to obey.

IV. THEY ARE MINISTERING SPIRITS DIVINELY COMMISSIONED TO HELP A CLASS OF MANKIND.

1. Their ministry to man implies that there is some method by which they can help us.

2. It implies that man's salvation is of paramount importance.

3. It implies that service to the lowest is consonant with the highest greatness.

4. It argues the obligation of man to seek the spiritual good of his fellows.

(Homilist.)

The Evangelical Preacher.
I. THE BEINGS INTRODUCED TO OUR NOTICE.

1. They are purely spiritual in their nature.

2. They are pure and holy in their character.

II. THE SERVICE THEY PERFECT.

1. They are called ministering spirits to indicate their employment in God's service, and they are said to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation — to point out the service and assistance they render to the saints.

2. Angels serve the saints for Christ's sake.

3. They sustain in time of depression. They avert danger in the path of duty.

4. They deliver from evils in a way which displays the omnipotence of Him whom they serve, and His love to His people.

5. They attend the departing scene of the believer. If a Lazarus die, angels bear his spirit to the abodes of the blessed. As Christ's servants, they delight to wait upon those whom He loves, and to conduct them to His presence.

6. And they shall at last gather together the elect from the wicked and reprobate at the last day.

(The Evangelical Preacher.)

1. Here we may see that the name of a minister is an honourable name. The magistrate is a minister, the angels are ministers, Christ Himself was a minister when He lived on the earth. We that be the ministers are servants to Christ the King of kings; therefore, think highly of us because of our office. Is it a grace to the angels to be called ministers, and shall it be a disgrace to us? Nay, we will glory in it, and shame shall light on them that contemn the ministers of Christ.

2. Whose ministers are the angels? They be our ministers, they minister for our sakes, and what be we in comparison of the angels? They are spirits, we flesh and blood; they holy, we unholy; they immortal, we mortal; they in heaven, we on earth; yet they be our ministers. They minister to Christ as to their Lord and Master; to us as to their fellow-servants. But what an honour is this to wretched and sinful man! As if the King should command an honourable Lord of his privy council to wait on a poor man in the country, to conduct him from the court to his own house. The angels are of God's Court in heaven, and see His face continually. We are silly worms on earth, yet the Lord hath appointed them to attend on us, to be ore' nurses, to carry us in their arms, that we dash not our foot against a stone. Let us praise and magnify God, that hath provided such keepers for us.

3. What an unspeakable comfort is this for us t What a tower of defence against Satan and his angels! As there be bad angels to hurt us, so there be good angels to defend us.

4. Since the angels are ever present with us, let us beware of grieving them by sin.

(W. Jones, D. D.)

Angels are spirits which serve the Lord for His Church's safety. If yet we will be vain still, and think; yea, but what are arch-angels, principalities, powers, rues, thrones, dominions? What are Cherubim and Seraphim? All these, howsoever they be called in divers respects diversely, they are all angels in condition and nature, as they are here so defined. For if any archangel, throne, or dominion, or any other name that is named, were any way greater than an angel, all this disputation of the apostle were nothing worth; for how could it prove the excellency of Christ above all creatures, because He is greater than angels, if Cherubim or Seraphim or any archangel were also greater than an angel? And, therefore, that the reason of the apostle may be, as it is, strong and unanswerable, we must confess, all blessed spirits whatsoever they be, they be all this, and this is their glory, that they be God's ministers for the safety of His children. This doctrine the prophet David teacheth also very plainly (Psalm 34:8; Psalm 91:11). And according as this is God's word and His promise, so we have many examples how He hath at all times justified His faith in the performance of it, t at we might not stagger in this doctrine of angels. The patriarchs, the people of Israel, the prophets, the apostles the saints of the New Testament, our Saviour Christ Himself; we have seen how the angels have been with them in dangerous times, and ministered the help of God unto them. Now, touching the manner how the angels of God execute this ministry, even as it is not hard unto the Lord in the battles of men to save with many or with few, so God sendeth out His angels, more or less, even as He will, that it might be known the power is the Lord's. When Jacob feared before his brother Esau, God sendeth to him a host of angels to comfort him. When Elisha was beset with the great host of the King of Saria, and his servant was now exceedingly afraid, Elisha prayed to have his eyes opened, that he might see the help of God which was present with them, and he saw immediately the mountain full of horses and chariots round about Elisha, which were God s angels sent for the prophet's safeguard. When our Saviour Christ is in distress and anguish, God sendeth many angels which do minister unto Him. And so He testifieth of the usual work of God common to all His saints, and applieth it particularly unto Himself in reproving Peter, who would needs draw his sword to maintain His cause. "Thinkest thou," saith He, "that I cannot now pray unto My Father and He will give Me more than twelve legions of angels?" And as thus God send, the out a great multitude for the safety of one, so contrariwise sometimes He appointeth but one for the safety of many. So God sent an angel to deliver Israel out of Egypt, and to guide them through the terrible wilderness; and ever after in all their troubles, when they called upon Him, "the angel of His presence," as the prophet Isaiah saith, "was their Deliverer"; and when they should enter the land of promise, God sent an angel to drive out the Canaanites before them. When the army of the King of Ashur came and besieged Jerusalem, God sent an angel who delivered the city, and in one night slew 185,000 of the Assyrians. When David numbered the people and procured the wrath of God, God sent an angel into Jerusalem, who slew with the pestilence 70,000 of the people. So we have many examples, where, upon occasion, to one man God sendeth one angel; even as it is said of one that He came to comfort our Saviour Christ in the garden. To Lot God sent two angels, so to the women that came to the grave of our Saviour Christ two angels appeared, and told them He was risen again. When the apostles looked after our Saviour Christ at His ascension into heaven, two angels appeared unto them, to teach them what they had to do. When God would destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, He sent three angels to Abraham to tell him of it. In the vision that Ezekiel had of the destruction of the city, God senteth out six angels to execute that judgment. And why is all this diversity? To the end, no doubt, we should not be curious, hut rest in the doctrine which the Lord taught us, that the angels are His ministers, f r their safety who shall inherit His kingdom. The angels, of whom so much we bay spoken, and who e honour is such, that seeing our Saviour Christ exceedeth them, the apostle here proveth He is the God of glory. In that, I say, these angels serve for our safety, how great is our safety, and what shall we render unto God for this salvation? It were exceeding love to give to any n, an a guard of men about him. It were more to give him a guard of princes; but what are men, what are princes, what arc kings in respect of angels, which God hath made to pitch above us? How can we envy earthly blessings, of houses, lands, servants, to abound unto our brethren, except we be ignorant what God hath done for us? And why should we now fear to. be shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, and go boldly, whither truth, faith, holiness, duty calleth us? What if the word break with hatred, or men swell in malice against us, are the angels driven back with vain threatenings? Or, what if we do fall before the enemy, and he prevail against us, as it happened to our Saviour Christ Himself, is this a want in angels that watch over us? or is it not rather the good will of God that we should die with Christ the sooner to reign with Him? Last of all, let us know how this glory is given us, not of ourselves, but as we are members of Christ; for to Him it doth properly belong, who is our Head. He is the ladder which Jacob saw in a dream, reaching from heaven to earth, and the angels ascending and descending by it. So that this honour is ours, as we be Christ's; to Him it appertaineth, and to us it is given, as we be made members of His body by faith.

(E. Deering, B. D.)

I. SOME GENERAL REMARKS CONCERNING ANGELS.

1. They possess high natural perfections.(1) Extensive knowledge. Said to be full of eyes. Doubtless have distinguished capacities" for knowledge and wisdom. Dwell in the clear, cloudless region of celestial light.(2) Amazing power. Said to "excel in strength." Scripture presents several striking proofs. The immense slaughter of the firstborn in Egypt, and the destruction of the 185,000 of the Assyrian army were effected by an angel. The various judgments described in the revelations are to be executed by angels.(3) Astonishing activity. Doubtless they can move swifter than light; perhaps as rapidly as thought (Daniel 9:3; 20:23).

2. They possess great moral perfections.(1) Spotless purity. Often called holy angels. Compared to light, morning stars, Sons of God, &c. (Revelation 14:10).(2) Exalted goodness. They love God, and they have displayed the greatest interest in the affairs of men.(3) They are all perfectly obedient. They Lest not, but serve God incessantly. They do His work perfectly.

3. Let us notice some general things connected with angels.(1) They dwell in God's holy presence. The highest and most gracious station occupied by created intelligences.(2) They are evidently diversified in rank and order. Hence we read of angels, archangels, seraphims, cherubims, thrones, powers, &c.(3) They are exceedingly numerous (Daniel 7:10; Psalm 68:17; Hebrews 12:22.)(4) They are all glorious and happy. Possessed of perfect harmony of powers, of moral goodness, and of resplendent beams of the favour of God's favour.

II. THE OBJECTS AND CHARACTER OF THEIR MINISTRY.

1. Their ministry is by Divine appointment. "Sent forth." They stand in God's presence, ready to obey His commands. They go at H,s bidding, and are entirely subjected to His wise and benevolent appointments.

2. The objects of their ministry. "Heirs of salvation." The children of God, "who are heirs of God," &c. (Romans 8:17; 1 Peter 1:2).

3. The character of their ministry. To minister is to serve. Hence they wait upon and communicate to these heirs according to the Divine will and pleasure. They have sometimes —

(1)Been instructors (Genesis 16:7; Genesis 48:2; 2 Kings 1:16; Luke 1:10; Matthew 1:20; Acts 8:16; Acts 10:3).

(2)As deliverers (Genesis 22:12; Genesis 19:29; Daniel 6:22; Acts 5:19, 20; Acts 12:7).

(3)As comforters (Daniel 10:19; Acts 27:24).

(4)They rejoice at the conversion of sinners (Luke 15:10).

(5)They bear the souls of the pious to glory (Luke 14:22).

(6)Angels will assist at the saints' coronation, and be their companions for ever (Revelation 5:9-13).Application. —

1. How dignified and happy are believers.

2. Let us be circumspect, on account of the presence of angels.

3. Let us try to imitate them as far as possible; be as wise. holy, good, and humble as angels.

4. Bless God for the service of angels.

5. Not trust in them, or pray to them, but in Jesus and in God only.

(J. Burns, D. D.)

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