« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
there entered, not as the high priests of old, but to be there continually, but in this respect is exalted higher than Lucifer ever was; that whereas Lucifer was only near the ibrone, or kneeling on the mercy-seat in humble posture, covering it with his wings, Jesus is admitted to sit down for ever with God on the throne.
Corol. III. From what is said in this passage of scripture, we may learn that the angels were created in time. Though we have no particular account of their creation in the story of Moses, we read here, once and again, of the day wherein this Anointed Cherub was created, ver. 13. 15. This is also implied in Gen. ii. 1. “ Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the hosts of them." The angels are often in scripture spoken of as the host of heaven, and the angels are expressly spoken of as created by Christ, in Col. i. 16. “For by him were all things created that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by him, and for him.” So Ps. civ. 4. “ Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire ;" which is meant of proper angels, as appears by Heb. i. 7. It appears also further, because they are called the sons of God, in Job xxxviii., which cannot be meant by eternal generation, for so Christ is God's only begotten Son. See Ps. cxlviii. 2, 3, 4, 5.
Corol. IV. In another respect also Jesus succeeds Lucifer, riz. in being the Covering Cherub. The word translated cover, osten and commonly signifies to protect. It was committed to this archangel especially, to have the care of protecting the beloved race, elect man, that was God's jewel, his first fruits, his precious treasure, laid up in God's ark, or cabinet, bid in the secret of his presence. That was the great business the angels were made for, and therefore was especially committed to the head of the angels. But he fell from his innocency and dignity, and Jesus in his stead becomes the Cherub that covereth, the great Protector and Saviour of elect man, that gathereth them as a hen her chickens under her wings.
Corol. V. Lucifer, while a holy angel, in having the excellency of all those glorious things that were about him, all summed up
in bim, was a type of Christ, in whom all the glory and excellency of all elect creatures is more properly summed, as the head and foundation of all, just as the brightness of all, that reflects the light of the sun, is summed up in the sun.
And as the Devil was the highest of all the angels, so he was the very highest of all God's creatures; he was the top and crown of the whole creation; he was the brightest part of the heaven of heavens, that brightest part of all the creation; he was the head of the angels, that most noble rank of all created beings; and, therefore, when spoken of under that type of him, the Behemoth,
he is said to be “the chief of the ways of God,” Job al. 19. And since it is revealed that there is a certain order and government among the angels, the superior angels having some kind of authority over others that are of lower rank; and since Lucifer was the chief of them all, we may suppose that he was the head of the whole society, the captain of the whole host. He was the archangel, the prince of the angels, and all did obeisance unto hiin. And as the angels, as the ministers of God's providence, have a certain superintendency and rule over the world, or at least over some parts of it that God has committed to their care, hence they are called thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers. Therefore. seeing Lucifer was the head, and captain, and prince of all, and the highest creature in the whole universe, we may suppose that he had, as God's chief servant, and the grand minister of his providence, and the top of the creation, in some respect committed to him power, dominion, and principality over the whole creation, and all the kingdom of providence; and as all the angels are called the sons of God, Lucifer was his first born, and was the first-born of every creature.
But when it was revealed to him, high and glorious as he was, that he must be a ministering spirit to the race of mankind which he had seen newly created, which appeared so feeble, mean, and despicable, so vastly inferior, not only to him, the prince of the angels, and head of the created universe, but also to the inferior angels, and that he must be subject to one of that race that should hereafter be born, he could not bear it. This occasioned his fall; and now he, with the other angels whom he drew away with him, are fallen, and elect men are translated to supply their places, and are exalted vastly higher in hea. ven than they. And the Man Jesus Christ, the Chief, and Prince, and Captain of all elect men, is translated and set in the throne that Lucifer, the chief and prince of the angels left, to be the Head of the angels in his stead, the head of principality and power, that all the angels might do obeisance to him; for God said, “Let all the angels of God worship him;" and God made him his first-born instead of Lucifer, higher than all those thrones i dominions, principalities, and powers, and made him, yea, made him in his stead the first-born of every creature, or of the whole creation, and made him also iu his stead the bright and morning Star, and Head, and Prince of the universe ; yea, gave this honour, dignity, and power unto him, in an unspeakably higher and more glorious manner than ever he had done to Lucifer, and appointed him to conquer, subdue, and execute vengeance upon that great rebel. Lucifer aspired to be " like the Most High," but God exalted one of mankind, the race that he envied, and, from envy to whom, he rebelled against God, to be indeed like the Most High, to a personal union with the eternal Son of God, and exalted him in this union to proper divine honour and dignity, set him at his own right hand on his own throne, and committed to him proper divine power and authority, constituting him as God man, the supreme, absolute, and universal Lord of the universe, and Judge of every creature, the darling of the whole creation, the brightness of God's glory, and express image of his person; as, in his divine nature, he is the NATURAL IMAGE of God. God, in his providence, was pleased thus to show the emptiness and vanity of the creature, by suffering the insufficiency of the highest and most glorious of all creatures, the head and crown of the whole creation, to appear, by bis sudden fall from his glori ous height into the lowest depth of hatefulness, deformity, and misery. God's design was first to show the creature's emptiness in itself, and then to fill it with himself in eternal, unalterable fullness and glory. To show the emptiness of the creature, the old creation, or the old heavens and earth, were to go to ruin and perish, in some sense, or at least all was to be emplied. Great part of the old creation was actually to sink into total and eternal perdition, as fallen angels and some of fallen men, all mankind was in a sense to be totally ; though some of them were to be re stored, after they had sensibly been emptied of themselves. And though the highest heaven never was to be destroyed, yet, before it should have its consummate and immutable glory, ihe highest and most glorious part of it was to perish, and a considerable part of the glorious heavenly inbabitants, and the rest were hereby to be brought to see their own emptiness and utter insufficiency, and so as it were to perish or die as to self-dependence and all self-fullness, and to be brought to an entire dependence on the sovereign grace and all-sufficiency of God to be communicated to them by his Son as their head. And thus the whole old creation, both heaven and earth, as lo all its natural glory and creaturefullness, was to be pulled down; and thus, way was to be made for the creation of the new heavens and new earth, or the setting forth of the whole elect universe in its consummate, everlasting, immutable, glory in the fullness of God, in a great, most conspicuous, immediate, and universal dependence on his power and sovereign grace, and also on the glorious and infinitely excellent nature and essence of God, as the infinite fountain of glory and love ; the beholding and enjoying of which, and union with which, being the elect creature's all in all, all its strength, all its beauty, all its life, its fruit, its honour, its blessedness.
Corol. I. From the last paragraph. This may show us the necessity of a work of Humiliation in men as the necessity of man's being emptied of himself in order to a partaking of the benefits of the new creation, and the redemption of Jesus Christ.
Corol. II. This shows that even the elect angels have their eternal life in a way of Humiliation, and also dependence on sovereign grace, as well as elect men, though not the same sort of humiliation and dependence in all respects.
To show the emptiness of all creatures in themselves, the ruin of the creation began in heaven, in the very best and highest part of the creation, and in the highest creature in it, the crown and glory of the whole creation; because it was the will of God that a mere creature should not be the head of the creation, but a divine person, and that he should be the crown and glory of the creation. Heaven was the first of the creation that was subject to ruin, and it shall be the last part that shall be renewed or amended by a new creation. There are two parts of the creation connected with the work of redemption; one is the world of man, and that is this visible world, and the other is the world of angels, and that is heaven. The whole is to be changed: the former shall be destroyed, because all men fell, and only an elect number are saved out of it; the other shall not be destroyed, because all the angels did not fall, those that stood supported it, a blessing was left in it, and therefore God said, Destroy it not, and therefore the change that is to be made in that is to be of a contrary nature to destruction ; it is to be made infinitely more glorious by a new creation. And therefore God's dealings with respect to the world of angels, are contrary to his dealings with the world of men. The world of men is to be destroyed, and therefore, elect men are taken out of it, and carried into the world of angels, and reprobate men left in it to perish and sink with it. The world of angels is not to be destroyed, but renewed and glorified; and therefore, reprobate angels are taken out of it, and cast into the world of men, and elect angels are kept in it, to be renewed and glorified with it.
Because God's design was to show the emptiness of the creature, and its exceeding insufficiency, therefore God suffered both angels and men quickly to fall, and the old creation quickly to go to ruin.
Some may be ready to think it to be incredible, and what the wisdom of the Creator would not suffer, that the most glorious of all his creatures should fall and be eternally ruined, or that it should be so that the elect angels, those that are beloved of God, should none of them be of equal strength and largeness of capacity with the devil. To this I would say,
1. That the man Christ Jesus that is exalted into the place of Lucifer in heaven, though he be of a rank of creatures of a nature far inferior in capacity to that of the angels, and especially far below the highest of all the angels, yet God can, and hath exalted that little worm of littleness and weakness to an immensely greater capacity, dignity, and glory, than Lucifer ever had.
2. God can reward the elect angels that originally are inferior to Lucifer, and can increase their capacity and strength; and there is no reason to think but that he has rewarded, or will reward, elect angels, as well as elect men, with a great exaltation of their nature. And probably Christ did, at bis ascension, exalt the natures of some of them at least, so as to exceed all that ever Lucifer had. It seems probable, by Rev. xx. at the beginning ; and probably at the day of judgment, the natures of all the angels will be so exalted as to be above the devil in capacity.
Seeing that this was the case with the devil, that before his fall he was the head of the creation, the captain and prince of the angels, and had some kind of superintendency over the whole universe, and seeing his sin was his pride, and affecting to be like the Most High, no wonder that he seeks to reign as god of this world, and affects to be worshipped as God.
That the devil so restlessly endeavours to set up himself in this world, and maintain his dominion here, and to oppose God, and fight against him to the procuring his own continual disappointment and vexation, and to work out his own misery, and at last to bring on his own head his own greatest torment, his everlasting and consummate misery, is the fruit of a curse that God has laid him under for his first ambition, and envy, and opposition to God in heaven. He is therefore made a perfect slave to those lusts that reign over him, and torment him, and will pull down on bim eterpal destruction.
 Occasion of the fall of the angels. We cannot but suppose that it was made known to the angels, at their first creation, that they were to be ministering spirits to men, and to serve the Son of God in that way, by ministering to them as those that were peculiarly beloved of him, because this was their proper business for which they were made ; this was the end of their creation. Il is not to be supposed that seeing they were intelligent creatures, that were to answer the end of their beings as voluntary agents, or as willingly falling in with the design of their Creator, that God would make them, and not make known to them what they were made for, when he entered into covenant with them, and established the conditions of their eternal happiness, and especially when they were admiring spectators of the creation of this beloved creature for whose good they were made, and this visible world that God made for his habitation. Seeing God made the angels for a special service, it is reasonable to suppose that the faithfulness of the angels in that special service must be the condition of their reward or wages; and if this was the great condition