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"Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and has put all things under his feet," &c. - Ver. 21, 22.

THESE words do set forth unto us and proclaim the supremacy of our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of kings, over all persons, by what names or titles soever distinguished and dignified, in all God's dominions, belonging either to this world or the world to come.
His kingly dignity is set forth unto us first, for the substance of it, by that usual metaphor of sitting at God's right hand. This in the 20th verse. In this 21st verse, as likewise in the beginning of the 22nd, you have the amplification, or an enlarged explication of it -
First, by the sublimity of the condition he is exalted unto; he saith it is not only above, but far above. And that -
Secondly, amplified by the quality and dignity of the persons above whom he is thus far advanced; 'principalities and powers,' &e. And because all particulars of power in this world and the world to come could not be mentioned nor rehearsed; therefore, to be sure to take in all, he addeth this general, 'every name that is named.'
Thirdly, it is set forth unto us by the extent of this his advancement, of his dominion and sovereignty both of place and time; this world, and the world that is to come, in all ages and in all God's dominions.
Fourthly, by the lowness of the subjection of all these principalities, and whatsoever else, unto him; 'they are under his feet.'
Lastly, by the universality of all this: it is 'far above all;' 'and hath put all things under his feet.'
So you have the division of these words in the 21st, and in the first part of the 22d verse.
I have despatched, first, what is meant by 'sitting at God's right hand.' And -
Secondly, I have gone over two heads of the amplification of this exaltation of Christ: - First, The sublimity of his condition personally; 'far above.' Secondly, I have opened to you the quality of these persons whom he is set over; angels, good and bad, and magistrates in this world, whatsoever they be. I shewed you, that by principalities and power, might and dominion, he would include all sorts whatsoever. That all these three were called by these names, I opened; likewise, what was meant by 'every name in this world, and the world to come.'
So now the third thing, and that which remaineth, cometh to be opened, the extent of his dominion; 'in this world, and the world to come.'
Upon the first consideration of these words, 'in this world, and the world to come,' I thought to have found no difficulty, but to have slipped them over lightly and generally.
Concerning their coherence there is only this to be said. Some refer it only to tbe words immediately foregoing, 'every name that is named in this world, and the world to come.' Bnt certainly that is too narrow. I rather therefore, with Beza and others, refer it to the whole that he had said of Christ's exaltation; 'he sitteth at God's right hand, over all principalities and powers, and over every name that is named in this world, and the world to come.'
Now then, the great thing to be opened is this: What is meant by the world to come; and the difference of these two, this world, and the world to come.
There are these three senses and interpretations of it, and I love to take, especially where there is a comprehensiveness, as here there is of all, all in.
This world, and the world to come, may be taken, first, for heaven and earth; this state of the world on earth, and that state of the world in heaven, which are two worlds. So that, as the Apostle, in Col. i. 16, when he would divide all things that are created in heaven and in earth, visible and invisible, mentioneth thrones and dominions, principalities and powers; so answerably here, when he speaks of Christ's exaltation, he saith he is exalted far above all these in this world, and in the world to come ; that is, in heaven and in earth. And so it cometh all to one with what Christ him­self snith, Matt. xxviii. 18, 'All power is given me in heaven and in earth; that is, in this world, and the world to come, in all God's dominions. Only then here is the question, why heaven should be called the world to come, whereas it is extant now as well as earth is, which is called, in this interpretation, the present world? And Christ has now actual power in heaven as well as in earth. Why is it therefore called the world to come?
To this the answer is : though it he a world now extant, yet to us poor creatures here below it is a world to come. It was a world created at the same time that this lower world was: 'Gen. i. 1,' In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.' By 'heavens' he meaneth the angels and the higher world; as by 'earth' all that chaos out of which all this world was made that is under it, sun, moon, stars, and the lower elements.
This is the comfort of the saints, - to scatter some observations by the way, - that this great world is to come. The Psalmist, Ps. xvii. 14, calleth wicked men, 'men of this world, whose portion is in this life.' This world is theirs, and let them take it; this is 'your hour,' saith Christ, 'and the power of darkness.' 'If we had hope only in this life,' saith the Apostle, 1 Cor. xv. 19, 'we were of all men the most miserable;' but we have a world to come. It is a world to come in respect of us; as likewise you have it, Luke xviii. 30; speaking of him that shall deny himself, saith he, 'he shall receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.' And so, 1 Tim. iv. 8, he hath the 'promise of this life, and that which is to come; that is, heaven. Now this is one part of the meaning. Yet let me say this of it. The Apostle's scope being to speak of Christ's actual reign, and having mentioned that it is in heaven, - for so he saith ver. 20, 'He is set at God's right hand in heavenly places,' - as the special place of it, and that at present; to call heaven the, world to come, because to us it is to come, Beza himself saith it is somewhat too harsh; therefore he seeks out another interpretation.
Then the second interpretation is this: that this phrase should note out the duration of Christ's kingdom, that it is for ever, in all ages to come whatsoever. It is a phrase the Scripture often useth to express eternity; as, Matt. xii. 32, their sin 'shall not be forgiven, neither in this world, nor in the world to come;' that is, never. As in Rev. xx. 10, there are two evers put, one ever for this world, and the other ever for the world to come. They shall be 'tormented for ever and ever;' for ever in this world, and for ever in the world to come. And that it noteth out eternity, there is that like­wise I quoted even now, Luke xviii. 30, 'in the world to come eternal life.' Therefore that place, Isa. ix. 6, which we translate, and rightly, 'Eternal Father,' or 'Father of eternity,' the Septuagint reads, the ' Father of the world to come.'
Christ's kingdom, to back this interpretation also, is said to be for ever.' Luke i. 33, saith the angel to Mary, speaking of Christ's kingdom, 'The Lord shall give him the throne of his father David, and he shall reign for ever;' not for one ever, but for all evers. And that he meaneth eternity, he addeth, 'and of his kingdom there shall be no end;' having indeed relation to that in Isa. ix. 7, where he saith, 'of his government and peace there shall be no end.'
And so I find some that bring that place, Heb. x. 12, 'After he had offered one sacrifice for sins, for ever he sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.' They allege that place for his sitting at God's right hand for ever, not only in this world, but in the world to come. Although I think there is never a place of Scripture where I find that he sitteth for ever at God's right hand, in the sense the article of the creed hath it. And 'for ever' there seemeth to refer to 'after he had offered up one offering for sin for ever;' for he saith in the verse before, that their sacrifices could not take away sins, never made an end of them, but they returned again. 'But he; saith he, 'by one sacrifice took away sins for ever.' So that 'for ever' referreth rather to that than to sitting on God's right hand; and ver. 14 confirmeth it likewise, where be saith, 'He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.'
Now, against this interpretation I will give, you the objections and the resolutions, for I cannot pass over them.
The objections are these : - If his meaning were this, that he sitteth on God's right hand, above all principalities and powers for ever, then there is this objection, that there are no principalities and powers for ever that Christ should sit over; for the truth is, when this world endeth, there will be an end of all principalities and powers. You have an express place for it, 1 Cor. xv. 24, 'Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.' How then can it be said, he sitteth on God's right hand over all principalities and powers in this world, and the world to come, taking it in this sense, 'for ever?'
There are but two things to help this objection.
The first is this: that though there be no principalities and powers for ever, but rule ceaseth, as it is certain they do, both of good angels and bad, and magistrates and men; yet there are several names, several dignities and excellencies, as I shewed you the word 'names' implieth, that are in this world, and the world to come. And so in that sense it is true, that he is for ever on God's right hand, above all names that are named in this world, and the world to come.
Then the second thing that answereth this objection is this: the Apostle speaks by way of supposition, as it were; as in that other speech of our Saviour's, 'Their sins shall not be forgiven in this world, nor in the world to come.' it is not as if there were forgiveness of sins in the world to come; but his meaning is, suppose there would be forgiveness then, they should never be forgiven. So, suppose never so many names, or principalities, or powers in this world, or the world to come, he is over them all.
But then there is a second objection, and that is this: that in the same 1 Cor. xv. 24, it is said thus, 'Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God the Father;' and, ver. 25, 'He must reign, till he hath put all his enemies under his feet: and when all things are subdued unto him, then shall the Son also be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all;' so saith ver. 28.
Here is now a worse objection against this interpretation of the phrase, 'in this world, and the world to come.' And indeed and in truth I find great interpreters, both upon this place and the other, to confine and determine the phrase of sitting on God's right hand, to end after the day of judgement, when he giveth up his kingdom to his Father. And the reason is this, because it is evident that the Apostle quoteth that which he saith, 1 Cor. xv. 25, 'He must reign, till he hath put all his enemies under his feet,' out of Ps. cx. 1, 'Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy foot­stool' They interpret that reigning, which he must then give up to his Father, by that sitting mentioned there.
There is this will help that likewise
That the word 'until' doth not note out that then he shall not reign; for the word is not always interpreted exclusively to exclude the time after, but inclusively to include all the time before, whereof there might be a doubt, whether he reigned or no till then, because he had so many enemies. After the day of judgment he shall have none; but there might be this doubt, whether he reigned yea or no till then, because his enemies were so many and so strong. So we find the word used, 2 Sam. vi. 23, where it is said, 'Michal had no child until the day of her death;' it is not as if she had any afterward. It is taken therefore for an undetermined time. But yet there is this still will take away that : that it is plainly said, he doth give up the kingdom to God, and likewise that then Christ shall be subject unto him.
Thus perplexed, you see, is the opening of these words, and there must be some pains to resolve this doubt.
The best reconciliation which I shall give you, shall be in these few distinctions, which, I suppose, will clear to you in what sense Christ hath a kingdom, and indeed sitteth on God's right hand for ever, and in what sense he giveth up the kingdom to the Father.
The first distinction I give you is this : there is a natural kingdom due to Jesus Christ as he is God, yea, and by natural inheritance is due to him being man, as joined to the Godhead; for he inheriteth the privileges of the second Person.
Of this natural kingdom, founded upon his being the Son of God, - which the Apostle, to the Hebrews, chap. i. 4, saith 'he hath obtained by inheritance,' - he saith, ver. 8, ' But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, 0 God, is for ever and ever.' And though the right of it is devolved merely because he is God, yet it is by inheritance; being the natural Son of God it is his natural inheritance, therefore he is, as it were, in joint commission for ever with God, as he is God and man. This natural dominion therefore over all things, - for all things were made by him and for him, be they what they will, whether principalities or powers, or whatever else, - this right remaineth for ever, that is certain. And accordingly many of those privileges, which I interpreted to be understood by his sitting on God's right hand, must like­wise remain. As, first, fulness of joy; 'At thy right hand is fulness of joy for ever:' so he is at God's right hand for ever; for he doth enjoy - the manhood doth - a fulness of joy immediately in God himself, and this for ever. And, secondly, all that personal honour and glory, and glorious authority which he was filled with, which he was crowned with indeed when he came first to heaven; all these remain to eternity likewise, and 'they are a natural due to him, though bestowed actually then when he came up to heaven. And he is thus in commission with his Father likewise, so far as natural rule goeth, as a natural inheritance to him; though less than his Father as he is God-man.
But now, secondly, there is a dispensatory kingdom, as divines use to call it, as he is considered as Mediator between God and his Church; which kingdom is not his natural due, but it was given him, and given him by choice; yea, as he was second Person and Son of God, that that person was chosen out to execute the office of Mediator. And this kingdom is more properly and strictly noted out by sitting at God's right hand in the Scripture: and God gave it him as a reward of his obedience; he hath it by commission. John v. 22, 23, 'The Father himself judgeth no man, but he hath committed all judgment unto the Son;' he is that Lord whom God hath set up to do all his business for him visibly and apparently to the day of judgment. And this kingdom is in a more especial manner appropriated to Jesus Christ. It is so his as it is not the Father's in a more eminent manner. In this will that common axiom of divines help us, that what works all three Persons do towards us, though they have all a joint hand in them, yet they are attributed more especially to one Person than to another: as sanctification, you know, is attributed more specially to the Holy Ghost, redemption to the Son, creation to God the Father, though all three Persons have a hand in it. So likewise is it here; though the Father ruleth till the day of judgment, and the Holy Ghost with him, yet it is in a more especial manner appropriated unto the Son.
Yea, let me add this, that seeing to appropriate thus a work more especially to one person than to another is an act of God's will, hence it is that one person may have it for a time appropriated unto him, and afterward given up unto another person more properly. So now until the day of judgment Christ hath the kingdom committed to him; after the day of judgment it is appropriated more eminently unto God the Father, yet so as that God the Father ruleth now; so on the other side, though the Father is all in all after the day of judgment, yet the Son is said still to judge.
Now, the reason, to touch it in a word, why God the Father did thus appropriate a time for the reign of Jesus Christ more especially, and that all men's thoughts should be drawn unto him, and the Father should, as it were, withdraw himself, was this, that all men should honour the Son as they honour the Father; so you have it, John v. 22; that as for every work there is a season, so there should be for every person a season wherein they shall be in a more especial manner more glorious.
And there is this second reason for it likewise, - it was a reward indeed that was exceeding due unto Jesus Christ, - that he should have the kingdom appropriated unto him for a season, that he should draw all men's eyes to him, and have all the glory and honour as it were in a more immediate manner, because he veiled his Godhead in obedience to his Father; therefore his Father now, when he cometh to heaven, doth answerably, to recompence him, withdraw himself, and appeareth not so much in government, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son. Let my Son have it, saith he. And then, that you may see the equity of this, founded upon that place of Scripture, 1 Cor. xv. 28, because the Father hath committed all judgment unto the Son for so long a season, until he hath made all his enemies his footstool, therefore again doth Jesus Christ, to honour his Father, give up the kingdom to him, and he himself becometh subject to him that hath put all things under him.
My brethren, though Jesus Christ hath this kingdom committed to him for this reason, - he went into a far country to receive a kingdom, - yet when he is in the height of his kingdom, and hath all his enemies down under him, he will not carry it like a conqueror home, as if he had gotten it by his own sword and by his own bow only; but even then, when he is in the height of all, he giveth it up unto his Father before men and angels. It will be the last thing he will do at the latter day before he goeth to heaven, when he hath cleared all the world's accounts; for they shall all be judged by the man Christ, and it is a greater service than all his sermons he made on earth; then, when he hath done and is in his full triurnph, - which should teach us when we are highest and most raised then to fall down, - when he hath all his enemies under him, to death, to the meanest and lowest subjection, every one subdued, when he hath judged all the world, and pronounced the sentence both upon just and unjust, and every knee hath bowed to him; then he subjecteth himself unto his Father, and delivereth up the kingdom to him, and God becometh all in all; and this is the last and great solemnity of all. This is the first distinction. His natural kingdom remaineth for ever, which is a due to him even as he is man joined to the Godhead; but you see there is something of a mediator-like kingdom which he doth give over.
The second distinction is this, to clear it yet further: this Mediator's kingdom, receiveth a double consideration. First, consider him as he is Mediator of his Church considered under imperfection, either of sin or misery, or any other want, till his Church shall be complete. Or, secondly, consider him as he is a Head of his Church made complete and fully perfected in all parts and in all degrees.
Or, that I may explain my meaning to you, I remember when I opened the 3d and 4th verses compared with the 7th of this chapter, I told you that I thought in election there were two great designs involved. The one, that which was more principal and primitive, which was the choosing of us in Christ as a Head to that absolute glory which with and in Christ we shall have in the highest heavens for ever after the day of judgment. But then, secondly, to illustrate and set off this glory the more, God letteth us fall into sin, into misery; body and soul are parted, the one liveth in heaven in a blessed condition, the other lies in the grave; Jesus Christ hath not all his saints, he hath them but by degrees. Now, then, answerably hath Jesus Christ a double relation to his Church; the one as a Head simply considered; for we are chosen in him as a Head and Common Person to that condition which for ever we shall have in heaven; and he hath the relation of a Redeemer and Mediator for us as we are sinners, and under misery, and under distress, and under imperfection.
Now, my brethren, while the Church remaineth thus imperfect ; - Christ hath not all his members up to him, nor are they out of all danger, as I may so express it; for though at the day of judgment to the saints there is no real danger, yet they are to give account of their actions, and there remaineth a final sentence to be pronounced upon them by the great Judge, and in that sense there is a forgiveness of sins then; therefore Paul prayeth that he may find mercy at that day ; - now, I say, while there is any such thing as guilt, or the appearance of it, or any imperfection, as till that final sentence there is, so long is Jesus Christ a Mediator for us to God, as under some misery, some want, some danger. He standeth between God and us, and God hath given him all power in heaven and in earth, that he may give eternal life to them that believe, - we could not be trusted more safely than with him that is our Saviour, - that he shall be able to free us. And so long Jesus Christ ruleth in a way of conquest, destroying sin and death and all enemies, and redeeming the body, and bringing body and soul together, and lastly pronouncing a final sentence; and in this sense it is that the Scripture usually speaks of his sitting at God's right hand to intercede for us, - as it is, Rom. viii. 34, and by sitting there he meaneth reigning,_to destroy enemies, to put us out of danger of death and condemnation. But when once this final sentence is passed, then this work of a Mediator, his reigning thus as a Redeemer of us considered under sin and misery, ceaseth, - for when once that final sentence is passed then all sins are for ever and ever forgiven, never to be remembered more; God then looks upon us as in his first project, without spot or wrinkle for ever, - then Christ presenteth us to his Father. 'Lo, here I am, and the children thou hast given me; here they are just as thou didst look upon them in thy primitive choice.' And so now considered, I say his kingdom ceaseth, for there will be no need of it; and this indeed is an answer which learned Cameron delivereth upon that place, 1 Cor. xv.
But yet then, take Jesus Christ as our Head, as he is spoken of in the next words, and indeed as a distinct thing from his sitting at God's right hand, so he is for ever a Head. We were chosen in him at first, - I shewed in what sense when I opened those words, 'chosen in Christ, and elected in Christ,' in the 3d and 4th verses, - and as we were chosen in him at first, so we are considered in him for ever, and exalted in him, our persons in his Person; and God then, having forgiven all sin and misery, and the Mediator's office for intercession, &c., being laid aside, he is all in all both to Christ and us, and so now he delivereth up the kingdom unto God the Father.
I will add but this one third thing to it, to make this point - how he is a King, and sitteth at God's right hand for ever, and how not - clear. When he hath delivered up this kingdom of his redeemership unto God the Father, yet he sitteth down with this, honour for ever, that it was he that did execute this office of a Mediator, so as not a soul is lost, not a sin left unsatisfied for, not an enemy unsubdued; he sitteth down like a mighty and glorious conqueror. He is not a General in war longer, that kind of kingdom and rule ceaseth, yet he hath this honour for ever, that he it is that did these and these exploits, brought in all those rebels, subdued all enemies, and remaineth a glorious dictator. So that indeed and in truth Jesus Christ shall then reign more gloriously with his Father, though it is more especially appropriated to him till the day of judgments than ever he did before; for then he reigneth triumphantly, whereas before he reigned as one that was conquering and to conquer. And as David said, when all his enemies were subdued, Am I a king this day? so will Jesus Christ say, He was never kinged so much as now. Therefore some interpret those words, 1 Cor. xv. 24, 'Then shall the end be;' that is, say they, the perfection and accomplishment of his kingdom then cometh. Yea, in some sense, my brethren, he then setteth the crown upon his Father's head again, for his Father was put out of rule, as it were, by the devil, who got all this world, and by wicked men, that did what they list; but his poor saints, whom he chose to eternal life, lay under sin and misery. Jesus Christ now subdueth all these enemies, rescueth these poor souls whom he loved from all evil, and presenteth to him a peaceable kingdom and government, and so he with his Father enjoyeth it to all eternity.
So much now for the opening of these words, 'this world, and the world to come,' in that second sense given, and the explaining how Jesus Christ is a king in both.
I will only add this: whereas it is said, 'of his kingdom there shall be no end,' his meaning is, as it is interpreted Dan. vii. 14, it shall not be destroyed for ever. It is a kingdom to give way to no kingdom else; it is continued, he reigneth for ever, though he himself giveth up the kingdom to his Father, and becometh visibly and apparently more subject than he was unto him. In this sense, that I may explain that too, it is not meant in respect of his Godhead, for so he was never subject; it is not meant in respect of his manhood, for so he is always subject: but whereas he so reigneth now as if God the Father reigned not visibly and apparently, - that is, he doth all visibly, although it is the Father's glory he cometh with, - yet he hath the glory of it, he runneth away with it, as it were; but when he shall have given it up, with this acknowledgment, that his Father is the author of this kingdom, and that he gave it him, and so setteth his crown upon his Father's head, then it shall appear to men and angels to be his Father's kingdom in a more eminent manner. - And so much for that second interpretation.
I will add a third, and so leave it: namely, what should be meant by the 'world to come' here; speaking of Christ's sitting at God's right hand, over all principalities and powers, in this world, and the world to come.
My brethren, there is a special world, called the world to come, appointed for Jesus Christ eminently to reign in; and therefore though all these senses are true and good, and must be taken in, yet let me add this to it, that God did not content himself to bestow this world upon Christ, for him to rule and reign in, and to order and dispose the affairs of it as he cloth, and after the day of judgment to reign in that sense you heard spoken of before for ever, more gloriously than he did before. But he hath appointed a special world on purpose for him, between this world and the end of the day of judgment, - and the day of judgment itself is part of it, if not the whole of it, - wherein our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ shall reign; which the Scripture eminently calleth the 'world to come;' Christ's world, as I may so call it that as this present world was ordained for the first Adam, and God hath given it unto the sons of men, so there is a world to come appointed for the second Adam, as the time after the day of judgment is God the Father's, in a more eminent manner, who then shall be all in all.
I mention this third interpretation both because the height of Christ's kingdom is in the world to come when that cometh once, and because that is more properly his, and also is to me, by comparing other scriptures, evidently intended in this place. It is the height of his kingdom; for in this world he hath principalities and powers of angels under him, by whom he ruleth; after the day of judgment, God is all in all; but there is a world to come which the angels have nothing to do with at all, which is not subjected as this world is unto the angels, but is made on purpose for Jesus Christ.
I will give you for this two parallel places of Scripture, Heb. ii. 5, compared likewise with 2 Peter iii. 7.
In Heb. ii. 5, 'To the angels,' saith he, 'hath he not put in subjection the world to come.' Whom hath he subjected it to then? 'But,' saith he, 'one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little while lower' (so it is in the margins) 'than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. Now we see not yet all things put under him; but we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels by the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour.'
Compare now this place in the Hebrews with this in the text. First, you see, he speaks of Jesus Christ as made Lord of all; what here in the text he calleth 'sitting at God's right hand,' there he expresseth by being 'crowned with glory.' Here he saith 'he was raised from the dead,' there he saith he was 'made a little while lower ' - indeed, for the measure, far lower - ' than the angels by the suffering of death,' a worm and no man.
In the second place, he quoteth out of Ps. viii. that passage which like­wise is here in the text, 'He hath put all things under his feet;' so saith ver. 22, and that sentence is nowhere else found in the Old Testament, and it is quoted thrice by the Apostle; here in the text, in Heb. ii., and in 1 Cor. xv.
Thirdly, he saith that there is this world to come ordained for this man:
'What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him ?' - that thou hast subjected this world to come unto him, and put all things under his feet? He saith the like here in the text : he sitteth at God's right hand, over all principalities and powers, in this world, and the world to come, and he hath put all things under his feet. So that, you see, that place in the Hebrews and the words in the text agree, quoting both the same place. These words, 'having all things under his feet,' are, as I said, nowhere in the Old Testament but in Ps. viii. You shall observe therefore that in I Cor. xv. 25, where the Apostle beginneth to quote Ps. cx., to prove that Christ must reign 'till all his enemies be put under his feet,' that the word 'all' is not in Ps. cx., nor is it said there 'under his feet,' but it is 'make thine enemies thy footstool' The Apostle therefore being to prove that all enemies are to be destroyed, which Ps. cx. doth not fully serve for, what doth he do? He helps it out with Ps. viii., where the phrase is used, 'he hath put all things under his feet.' So that now Ps. viii., and Heb. ii., and 1 Cor. xv., and these words of my text, are all parallel places, and therefore I could not pass over this interpretation.
I will give you another place for it: 2 Peter iii. 7, compared with ver. 13, 'The heavens and the earth, which are now,' - here that which in the text the Apostle calleth this world, is expressed by 'the heavens and the earth which are now,' - ' by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire,' etc. And ver. 13, namely, in opposition to the heavens and the earth which now are, mentioned ver. 7, he saith, 'Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.' The Jews still express world by saying heaven and earth; therefore, when the Apostle would express this world, he calleth it heaven and earth, meaning the world that now is; but, saith he, 'we look for a new heaven and a new earth,' that is, a world to come. Now the words which in Heb. ii. 5 the Apostle useth of 'world to come' mean, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
And that this place in Peter and that of Heb. ii. fall all to one, appeareth by this: that when the apostle Peter had gone and alleged this, that there is to be 'a new heavens and a new earth,' that is, a world to come, 'wherein dwelleth righteousness,' so it is ver. 13.; at the 14th verse he makes use of it; at the 15th verse he quoteth Paul for it in his Epistle to the Hebrews - for Peter writeth to the Jews, - ' Even also,' saith he, 'as our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given unto him, hath written unto you;' that is, of this new heaven and new earth, of this world to come. Now, read that Epistle to the Hebrews ; - for our divines usually quote this place to prove, and it is the best that can be, that Paul was the author of that epistle ; .for Peter writ to the Jews, that is plain, for he writ to the strangers dispersed, which were the ten tribes, throughout the lower Asia and those countries, as you may read, 1 Peter i. 1 - 3. He hath written to you, saith he, of this new heaven and new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness; - now in the second of the Hebrews he writeth of it, proving it out of the 8th Psalm. Thus you see, going from one place to another, that scripture and that in Heb. ii. are parallel, and that in Heb. ii. and this in 2 Peter iii. are parallel likewise. My brethren, I will not stand discoursing to you about this new world; I shall only speak what is pertinent to the thing in hand. Unto this did all the prophets give witness, and therefore I am not ashamed to give witness to it too.
In Rev. v. 10, - I opened that chapter to you when I explained Christ's sitting at God's right hand, - as soon as ever they saw Christ take the book, and was installed king, what do their thoughts presently run to? The world to come; 'he hath made us kings,' say they, 'and priests, and we shall reign on the earth.' To be sure, at the day of judgment they shall; which will be a long day certainly, when all the accounts of the world shall be ripped up, and the world new hung against the approach of the King to it. There will be new heavens and new earth indeed, and the glory of the creatures then will put down the glory of this old world of Adam's; it was not good enough for this great Lord, our Lord and Saviour Christ. But I say I will not much insist upon it; I will only open so much as is pertinent to the thing in hand.
You see this place and that in Heb. ii. how parallel they are, and that the second of the Hebrews quoteth Ps. viii.
Now, consider but the scope of the psalm, as the Apostle quoteth it to prove the world to come. Any one that reads that psalm would think that the Psalmist doth but set forth old Adam in his kingdom, in his Paradise, made a little lower than the angels, - for we have spirits wrapped up in flesh and blood, whereas they are spirits simply, - a degree lower, as if they were dukes and we marquises; one would think, I say, that this were all his meaning, and that it is applied to Christ but by way of allusion. But the truth is, the Apostle bringeth it in to prove and to convince these Hebrews, to whom he wrote, that that psalm was meant of Christ, of that man whom they expected to be the Messiah, the man Christ Jesus.
And that he doth it I prove by the 6th verse, - it is the observation that Beza hath, - ' one in a certain place,' quoting David, 'hath testified;' so we may translate it, hath testified most expressly: he bringeth an express proof for it that it was meant of the man Christ Jesus; therefore it is not an allusion. And indeed it was Beza that did first begin that interpretation that I read of, and himself therefore doth excuse it and make an apology for it, that he diveteth out of the common road, though since many others have followed him.
Now the scope of the psalm is plainly this: in Rom. v. 14 you read that Adam was a type of him that was to come. Now in Psalm viii. you find there Adam's world, the type of a world to come; he was the first Adam, and had a world, so the second Adam hath a world also appointed for him; there is his oxen and his sheep, and the fowls of the air, whereby are meant other thing; devils perhaps, and wicked men, the prince of the air; as by the heavens there, the angels, or the apostles rather; 'the heavens declare the glory of God,' that is applied to the apostle; that were preachers of the gospel.
To make this plain to you, that that psalm, where the phrase is used, 'all things under his feet,' and quoted by the Apostle here in the text, - tberefore it is proper, - was not meant of man in innocency, but of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ; and therefore answerably, that the world there is not this world, but a world on purpose made for this Messiah, as the other was for Adam - First, it was not meant of man in innocency properly and principally.
Why? Because in the first verse he saith, 'out of the mouths of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength.' There were no babes in the time of Adam's innocency, he fell before there was any.
Secondly, he addeth, 'that thou mightest still the enemy and avenger;' the devil that is, for he shewed himself the enemy there to be a manslayer from the beginning. God would use man to still him; alas! he overcame Adam presently. It must be meant of another therefore, one that is able to still this enemy and avenger.
Then he saith, 'How excellent is thy name in all the earth, who hast set thy glory above the heavens!' Adam had but Paradise, he never propagated God's name over all the earth; he did not continue so long before he fell as to beget sons; much less did he found it in the heavens. Again, ver. 4, 'What is man, and the son of man?' Adam, though he was man, yet he was not the son of man; he is called indeed the 'son of God,' Luke iii. 38, but he was not son of Man. I remember Rihera urgeth that.
But take an argument the Apostle himself useth to prove it. This man, saith he, must have all subject to him; all but God, saith he; he must have the angels subject to him, for he hath put all principalities and powers under his feet, saith he. This could not be Adam, it could not be the man that had this world in the state of innocency; much less had Adam all under his feet. No, my brethren, it was too great a vassalage for Adam to have the creatures thus low to him. But they are thus to Jesus Christ, angels and all; they are all under his feet, he is far above them.
Secondly, it is not meant of man fallen, that is as plain; the Apostle himself saith so. ' We see not,' saith he, 'all things subject unto him.' Some think that it is meant as an objection that the Apostle answereth; hut it is indeed to prove that man fallen cannot be meant in that Psalm viii. Why? Because, saith he, we do not see anything, all tbings at least, subject unto him; you have not any one man, or the whole race of man, to whom all things have been subject; the creatures are sometimes injurious to him. We do not see him, saith he; that i; the nature of man in general considered. Take all the monarchs in the world, they never conquered the whole world; there was never any one man that was a sinner, that had all subject to him. 'But we see,' saith he, - mark the opposition, - ' but we see Jesus,' that man, 'crowned with glory and honour;' therefore it is this man, and no man else; the opposition implieth it. The philosophers themselves complain that nature was a stepmother to man; they did not see that subjection of the creatures unto him, but many miseries and incursions of miseries upon him. But, saith the Apostle, 'we see this man, Jesus, crowned with glory and honour.'
And then it is not an angel to whom all this is subject; it is a man, plainly; a man made a little while lower than the angels, and then crowned with glory aud honour far above all, for so the opposition runneth.
And it is not this world only that shall be subject to this man, but it is a world to come; so the Apostle saith plainly, ver. 8, 'We see not yet all things put under him,' therefore it is not this world, saith he, but Jesus Christ is in heaven, crowned with glory and honour already; and there will be a world, and a world there is beginning, that shall be subject to him, as well as this present world.
So now it remaineth, then, that it is only Christ, God-man, that is meant in that Psalm viii. And indeed and in truth Christ himself interpreteth that psalm of himself; you have two witnesses to confirm it, Christ himself and the Apostle. Matt. xxi. P3, when they cried Hosanna to Christ, or 'Save now,' and made him the Saviour of the world, the Pharisees were angry; our Saviour confuteth them by this very psalm, 'Have ye not read,' saith he, 'Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?' He quoteth this very psalm which speaks of himself, and Paul, by his warrant, and perhaps from that hint, doth thus argue out of it, and convince the Jews by it.
What the meaning of that is, 'out of the mouths of babes and sucklings,' I refer to what Mr Mead in his Diatribe hath written upon that Psalm viii. He interpreteth it of men, of the man Christ Jesus principally, who was but a babe, by whom God would still the enemy and avenger, under whose feet he hath put all things; therefore he is the man who is prophesied of.
You know how the prophecy of the Messiah runneth, Gen. iii. 15: He shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt nibble at his heel; which implieth plainly that he that was to be the Messiah should have Satan under his feet, he was to tread upon Satan's head; the nibbling at the heel sheweth that he should wind up his head and bite him by the heel, being thus under his feet. Now, my brethren, he is the sole man that, as the Psalmist and Apostle saith, hath a world to come ordained for him. To speak a little of that now that I have shewed it to be the meaning of both - As Adam had a world made for him, so shall Jesus Christ, this second Adam, - Adam being a type of him that was to come, - have a world made for him. This world was not good enough for him; he hath a better appointed than that which old Adam had, a new heaven and a new earth, according to the promise, Isa. lxvi. 22, where the saints shall reign. 'Thou made us kings and priests, and we shall reign on earth.' And this world he hath not subjected unto angels; no, there are none of those principalities and powers in it, or shall be in it, when it cometh to its perfection.
Do but mark the harmony of one thing with another. There are two Adams: an earthly Adam, he hath an earthly world; a heavenly Adam, and he hath a heavenly world. There are two covenants, the Law and the Gospel. The angels delivered the first covenant; 'The law was given by the ministration of angels.' But the second covenant, the gospel, declareth and speaks of this second world made for the man Christ Jesus. God hath not used the angels to preach the gospel, they do not meddle with it; but he hath appointed men to do it. He is so far from subjecting this world that is to come to angels, that they are not the declarers of it. 'Unto the angels,' saith he, Heb. ii. 5, 6, 'hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak,' though they gave the law. Men that were babes and sucklings, out of their mouths he hath ordained strength to begin to create this new world.
Why is it called the world to come, and yet we speak of it, saith he, and the gospel beginneth it?
Because as the other world was six days a-making, - there was a chaos first, and so it went on by degrees, - so it will be in this world likewise; we are now but in the first day's work as it were, the perfection of it is to come. 'The kingdom of heaven is like unto a grain of mustard seed, which is the least of all seeds,' and yet the greatest in the end. The Apostle, speaking of conversion, Gal. i. 4, calleth it a delivering us from this present evil world. 'Old things are passed away,' saith he, 'and all things are become new.' Here is a creation, a beginning, here is the first day's work, and God will never leave till he hath perfected this world; and because the perfection of it is not yet, therefore it is said to be a world to come. And because it is a new world begun thus, and thus begun when Christ began to preach; which first began, saith the Apostle to the Hebrews, to be preached by the Lord himself here upon earth; therefore it is, that as the first world had a seventh day for the celebrating of the creation of it, so hath this new world now a Lord's day; and of that Lords day doth the Apostle speak, Heb. iv. 4, as here he doth of this new world in Heb. ii. And the Holy Ghost, when Christ was set in heaven, fell down then upon the feast of Pentecost, which was upon the first day of the week, our Lord's day, as Lev. xxiii. 15, 16.
Now, my brethren, this world, when it is finished, shall not be subject to the angels, but to Christ and his babes and sucklings, to that man Christ Jesus, Lord Paramount of it, for whom it was made, and those citizens of this world, as Pareus expresseth it. Therefore Christ is called 'the Captain of our salvation', for he in this is a Common Person; and as he by suffering was made a little while lower than the angels, so are we to suffer with him, and having suffered with him, to reign with him.
My brethren, you do not read of the angels judging the world, and sitting upon the throne; do but take that part of this world, however, we are sure of that, that the saints then shall reign, and reign on earth. They are said to sit, and to sit on twelve thrones, Matt. xix. 28. And in Rev. xx. it is said the thrones were set, and those that were beheaded for the testimony of Jesus sat upon them; therefore Christ promiseth to give the government of ten cities to him that had made his five talents ten. The devils will be shut out; he hath taken and locked out that great devil: those principalities are gone during that time; and being they are gone, there needeth no principalities of good angels to oppose them.
Will you have me speak what I think? I think this, that that office which the angels do in this world here below, men risen from the dead shall do to men that are saints. For the first part of this reign, of this kingdom of Christ, of this world to come; that world shall be subject, not to angels, but to men, after that first resurrection which the 20th chapter of the Revelation speaks of.
And it is no absurdity at all; for if the angels that behold God's face are busied about things here below, I see not but that the saints may be so too; it is an honour rather than otherwise. The angels begin it indeed, they gather the elect from all the four corners of the earth; and they end it, they are the executioners to fling wicked men and devils into hell. But they to whom this world is subject, that are the judges, that are the principalities and powers in this world to come, are men. They shall judge the angels, so saith the Apostle.
And, my brethren, in this world will be the height of the kingdom of Jesus Christ; and when that is ended, he delivereth up the kingdom unto God the Father.
Now I will make but a short use or two, an observation, and so I will end.
Here, first, you see two worlds for you. You that look for happiness, me-thinks you should be satisfied with the expectation of this. Alexander wept because he had half conquered one world, - this world, - that there were no more for him to conquer, out of a supposition when he had conquered all what he should do, one world would not satisfy him. If thou hadst the same desire, thou needest not care for this world, there is another world, there are more worlds than one; 'by whom he made the worlds,' saith he, Heb. i. There are things present, and the comfort is there are things to come; there is a present world, and there is a world to come. Care not for this world, it is old Adam's world, it is loss to the saints; it is well if thou canst get handsomely rid of it with little sinning, if thou canst be but delivered out of this present evil world, as the Apostle speaks, Gal. i. 4.
It was all that Christ desired, all that he prayed for; saith he, John xvii. 15, 'I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.' But, my brethren, there is a world to come. Abraham and all his seed, not only the Jew, but the Gentile, are not only heirs of Canaan, but of the world; it is expressly said so, Rom. iv. 13. - That is the first observation.
In the second place, admire we this man Christ .Jesus whom God hath thus advanced, - yea, and, to set him up, hath made a world on purpose for him, peculiar for him and for his to enjoy, and for him to use them as under him to rule and govern.
It is the observation of Chrysostom upon the place, admiring that that man that was the scorn of death, so he was here below, and when he hung upon the cross, that was the derision of men; we shall see no beauty in him, that we should desire him, as it is, Isa. liii; - yet that God should take up this man, raise him up from the dead, and set him at his own right hand, and subject all principalities and powers under him, give him this world, a world to come in a special manner, and to reign likewise for ever and ever after the day of judgment, to use him in all his great businesses, to judge the world by this man. If this, saith he, had been spoken of God, there had been no wonder, for all the nations of the world are but as a drop of a bucket to him; but to hear it spoken of a man, of a drop of that drop, one man out of all nations, who himself was but a drop, a tear when he was in the womb first; to raise up this babe, this suckling, thus to still the enemy and avenger, to conquer death, to subdue angels, to have all principalities and powers under him, and not to still them with arms but with his mouth,. - 'out of the mouths of babes and sucklings,' - and to make a world thus on purpose for him; oh, how excellent is thy name in all the earth, and thy glory above the heavens! This was it that made the Psalmist himself admire at the Lord Jesus Christ, that God should thus visit him, carry him to those depths, make him a little while - as the word signifieth; as the orator saith, 'hear me a little while ' - lower than the angels, though a great deal for measure lower than they, to let him down to the lowest parts of the earth, to the nethermost hell, and lay all our sins upon him and all his wrath. Lord,' saith he, 'what is man, that thou visitest him?' Visiting is sometimes for visiting in anger, as Ps. lix. 5. So God visited Christ first, made him thus lower than the angels in this sense for a little while; and when he had done, he visited him in favour as much, takes that broken man, shattered mau, - for his soul was broken, 'my heart is broken;' it is the word that Christ himself useth in one of the psalms, - takes him and raiseth him up to heaven, crowneth him with glory and honour, setteth him in all that glory you have heard. Oh, what is man and the son of man, - he speaks of the nature of man as it is united to the Godhead in Christ, foreseeing it by a spirit of propheey, - that thou shouldst visit him thus, first in anger, then in favour? What is this babe, this suckling, that thou shouldst raise him up to this glory and honour?
My brethren, all this concerneth us, for what saith the Psalmist here in the first verse? He calleth him the Lord our God, this man Christ Jesus. How excellent is the name of God for doing this, how excellent will it be in all the earth one day, and founded in the heavens now, and will be for evermore after the day of judgment. It will be that which will take up, swallow up the thoughts of men and angels to all eternity.
That I may set it out a little. I thonght to have done it when I handled those words, 'under his feet,' but I will touch it now a little, and be the briefer then. Take all this that hath been said of Christ as the text setteth it forth here, take it all together, and here is the most glorious prospect of a kingdom that ever was; it putteth down all the kingdoms of the world that were shewn to Christ by Satan. Do but take the prospect of it.
First, here is a Father of glory, to whom he prayeth, ver. 17; a God that is the fountain of all glory, and himself the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, whom he makes a man, visiteth him, you heard how low; layeth him in the earth, raiseth him up, setteth him in his throne at his own right hand. There is your King, the eldest Son of God. Here is God the Father, the Father of glory, and here is his Son at his right hand. Here are worlds for his dominions, this world and the world to come. To set forth the glory of this kingdom, here are nobles, who you know set out the glory of a kingdom by their being under the king and under his son; here are principalities and powers, might and dominion; and here is the highest exaltation that ever was, all these nobles under his feet, under his Son's feet. All things, saith he, are under his feet. Those that arc his friends are under his feet too, under him as subjects; they fall down and kiss the dust of his feet, - ' to him be glory and honour,' - aud they throw down their crowns, as you read, Rev. v. Those that are his enemies, he hath the most glorious conquest over them that ever was; he treadeth upon them, he sitteth and makes them his footstool, that he may sit the easier; and Satan, that great devil, he triumpheth over him, so that he makes his children to set their feet upon his neck.
What is there now, my brethren, that you will say, or that you will think, can be added to make this man Christ Jesus more glorious? One would think now that he hath enough: he is advanced, you see, to the highest throne of majesty, he is established a king for ever; he hath worlds for his dominious, this world and the world to come; he hath the highest power, he hath all things under his feet. What is it, I say, that should make this man yet more glorious?
Take Adam, that was his type. Adam had a world about him, he had a paradise, a court which was his peculiar. If he had had sons, Paradise had been his court properly, for he was the father of the world. What wanted this man? Plainly he wanted a wife, he wanted a helper; God himself saith so. My brethren, all this was in a type. This man Christ Jesus, thus advanced far above all principality and power; here is the Father of glory, here is his Son set in glory, here are nobles all under him, here are dominions enough; where is the queen? What saith the words following: 'He hath given him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.' Over all to be the Head of his Church; so some translate it, and I think it to be a part of the meaning, that above all privileges else he accounteth this, as it were, the highest flower in his crown, that he is a Head to his Church, his body. It is as if our Lord and Saviour Christ should have said, I have all this honour, I am thus full, I am at my Father's right hand; if I have not my Church I want a body, I am not yet full. Therefore now, above all this glory and exaltation, hath God given him to be Head of his Church. I sit at God's right hand; come up, saith he, to his Church, that by nature and by desert is under his feet; come up, saith he, and sit on my right hand, as I sit on my Father's right hand.
Read Psalm xlv. There, when he is anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows, the queen standeth at his right hand and, saith he, as I sit on my Father's throne, so my Church sits upon my throne; and though I have all things under my feet, I will have my Church, my queen, which is flesh of my flesh,- therefore she is called his body, - she shall have her seat at my right hand, for she is my fulness, I am not full without her. My brethren, Jesus Christ delighteth more in love than he doth in power, though he be King of kings. Let me yet once more break forth into what the Psalmist doth : Oh, what is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, - the Lord Christ, and his Church, made up of men, - that thou art thus mindful of him?
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