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( HEBREWS 2:14-16) The closing verses of Hebrews 2 are so rich and full in their contents and the subjects with which they deal are of such importance that we feel the more disposed to devote extra space for the exposition of them. More and more we are learning for ourselves that a short portion of Scripture prayerfully examined and repeatedly meditated upon, yields more blessing to the heart, more food to the soul, and more help for the walk, than a whole chapter read more or less cursorily. It is not without reason that the Lord Jesus said in the parable of the Sower, “that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the Word, keep, and bring forth fruit with patience” ( Luke 8:15).
The verses which are to be before us on this occasion form part of the apostle’s inspired explanation of “the Son’s” becoming Man and suffering the awful death of the cross. If the reader will turn back to the third paragraph of the preceding article he will there find five reasons (substantiated in verses 9, 10), as to why Christ endured such humiliation.
In verses 11-13 four more are advanced. It was necessary for the second Person of the holy Trinity to be made lower than the angels if He were to have ground and cause for calling us “brethren” (verses 11, 12), for that is a title which presupposes a common ground and standing. Then, it was necessary for the Lord of glory to become “all of one” with His people if, in the midst of the church, He should “sing praise” unto God (verse 12); and this, the Old Testament scriptures affirmed, He would do. Again, it was necessary for Him who was in the form of God to take upon Him “the form of a servant” if He was to set before His people a perfect example of the life of faith; and in Isaiah 8:17, He is heard saying, by the Spirit of prophecy, “I will put My trust in Him” (verse 13). Finally, His exclamation “Behold I and the children which God hath given Me” (verse 13), required that He should become Man and thus rank Himself alongside of His saints.
In verses 14-16 we have one of the profoundest statements in all Holy Writ which treats of the Divine incarnation. For this reason, if for no other, we must proceed slowly in our examination of it. Here too the Holy Spirit continues to advance further reasons as to why it was imperative that the Lord of angels should, for a season, stoop beneath them. Three additional ones are here given, and they may be stated thus: first, that He might render null and void him who had the power of death, that is, the Devil (verse 14); second, that He might deliver His people from the bondage of that fear which death had occasioned (verse 15); third, Abraham’s children could only be delivered by Him laying hold of Abraham’s seed (verse 16). “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil” (verse 14). “The connection between this verse and the preceding context may be stated thus: Since it became Him for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through suffering; and since, according to Old Testament prophecies, the Sanctifier and the sanctified, the Savior and the saved, must be of the same race; and since the saved are human beings, — the Son of God, the appointed Savior, assumed a nature capable of suffering and death — even the nature of man, when He came to save, that in that nature He might die, and by dying accomplish the great purpose of His appointment, the destruction of the power of Satan, and the deliverance of His chosen people” (Dr. J. Brown).
The opening words of our verse denote that the Holy Spirit is drawing a conclusion from the proof-texts just cited from the Old Testament. The Greek words for “forasmuch then” are rendered “seeing therefore” in Hebrews 4:6, and their force is, “it is evident hereby” that the Son of God became the Son of Man for the sake of those whom God had given Him. “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil” (verse 14).
Here we have the eternal Word becoming flesh, the Son of God becoming the Son of man. Let us consider, First , the Wonder of it; Second , the Needs-be of it; Third , the Nature of it; Fourth , the Perfection of it; Fifth , the Purpose of it.
The tragic thing is that, for the present, our minds are so beclouded and our understandings so affected by sin, it is impossible for us to fully perceive the wonder of the Divine incarnation. As the apostle wrote, “But now we see through a glass darkly” ( 1 Corinthians 13:12). But thank God this condition is not to last for ever; soon, very soon, we shall see “face to face.” And when by God’s marvelous grace His people behold the King in His beauty, they will not, we think, be bewildered or dazed, but instead, filled with such wonderment that their hearts and whole beings will spontaneously bow in worship.
Another thing which makes it so difficult for us to grasp the wonder of the Divine incarnation is that there is nothing else which we can for a moment compare with it; there is no analogy which in any wise resembles it. It stands unique, alone, in all its solitary grandeur. We are thrilled when we think of the angels sent forth to minister for those who shall be heirs of salvation: that those wondrous creatures, which so far excel us in wisdom and strength, should have been appointed to be our attendants; that those holy creatures should be commissioned to encamp round about poor sinners; that the courtiers of Heaven should wait upon worms of the earth!
Truly, that is a great wonder. But oh my brethren, that wonder pales into utter insignificance and, in comparison, fades away into nothingness, before this far greater wonder — that the Creator of angels should leave His throne on High and descend to this sin-cursed earth; that the very One before whom all the angels bow should, for a season, be made lower than they; that the Lord of glory, who had dwelt in “light unapproachable,” should Himself become partaker of “flesh and blood”! This is the wonder of wonders.
So wonderful was that unparalleled event of the Divine incarnation that the heavenly hosts descended to proclaim the Savior newly-born. So wonderful was it that the “glory of the Lord,” the ineffable Shekinah, which once filled the temple, but had long since retired from the earth, appeared again, for “the glory of the Lord shone round about” the awestruck shepherds on Bethlehem’s plains. So wonderful was it that chronology was revolutionized, and anno mundi became anno domini: the calendar was changed, and instead of its dating from the beginning of the world, it was re-dated from the birth of Christ; thus the Lord of time has written His very signature across the centuries. Passing on now, let us consider the needs-be for the Divine incarnation.
This is plainly intimated both in what has gone before and in what follows.
If the “children” which God had given to His Son were to be “sanctified” then He must become “all of one” with them. If those children who are by nature partakers of flesh and blood were to be “delivered from him that had the power of death, that is the devil,” then the Sanctifier must also “likewise take part of the same.” If He was to be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, He must in all things “be made like unto His brethren.” If He is to be able to “succor them that are tempted,” then He must Himself, “suffer, being tempted”; and, as God Himself “cannot be tempted,” He had to become Man in order to that experience.
The needs-be was real, urgent, absolute. There was no other way in which the counsels of God’s grace towards His people could be wrought out. If ever we were to be made “like Him,” He first had to be made like us. If He was to give us of His Spirit, He must first assume our flesh. If we were to be so joined unto the Lord as to become “one spirit” ( 1 Corinthians 6:17) with Him, then He must first be joined with our flesh, so as to be “all of one” with us. In a word, if we were to become partakers of the Divine nature, He must be made partaker of human nature. Thus we perceive again the force of the apostle’s reply to the objection which he is here removing — How could it be that a Man was superior to angels? He has not only shown from the Jews’ own scriptures that the Man Christ Jesus had been given a name more excellent than any pertaining to the celestial hierarchies, but here he shows us the needs-be for the Lord of glory to become Man. If we were to be “conformed to His image” then He must be “made in the likeness of sin’s flesh.” If the children of Abraham were to be redeemed, then He must take on Him the “seed of Abraham.”
The nature of the Divine incarnation is here referred to in the words “flesh and blood.” That expression speaks of the frailty, dependency, and mortality of man. This is evident from the other passages where it occurs.
The words “flesh and blood” are joined together five times in the New Testament: Matthew 16:17, 1 Corinthians 15:50, Galatians 1:16, Ephesians 6:12, Hebrews 2:14. It is a humbling expression emphasizing the weakness of the flesh and limitations of man: note how in Ephesians 6:12, “flesh and blood” is contrasted from the mightier foes against which Christians wrestle. “Flesh and blood” is the present state in which is found those children whom God has designed to bring unto glory. By their natural constitution and condition there is nothing to distinguish the elect from the non-elect.
The Greek noun for “partakers” is derived from the root signifying “common”: in Romans 15:27, Gentile believers are said to be “partakers” of Israel’s spiritual blessings, that is, they enjoy them in common, one with another. So God’s children are “partakers,” equally with the children of the Devil, of “flesh and blood.” Nor does our regeneration effect any change concerning this: the limitations and infirmities which “flesh and blood” involve still remain. Many reasons for this might be suggested: that we may not be too much puffed up by our spiritual standing and privileges; that we might be rendered conscious of our infirmities, and made to feel our weakness before God; that we might abase ourselves before Him who is Spirit; that the grace of compassion may be developed in us — our brethren and sisters are also partakers of “flesh and blood,” and often we need reminding of this.
In the words “He also Himself likewise took part of the same” we have an affirmation concerning the reality of the Savior’s humanity. It is not merely that the Lord of glory appeared on earth in human form, but that He actually became “flesh and blood,” subject to every human frailty so far as these are freed from sin. He knew what hunger was, what bodily fatigue was, what pain and suffering were. The very fact that He was “the Man of sorrows” indicates that “He also Himself likewise took part of the same.”
Thereby we see the amazing condescension of Christ in thus conforming Himself to the condition in which the children were. How marvelous the love which caused the Lord of glory to descend so low for us sons of men!
There was an infinite disparity between them: He was infinite, they finite; He omnipotent; they frail and feeble; He was eternal, they under sentence of death. Nevertheless, He refused not to be conformed to them; and thus He was “crucified through weakness” ( 2 Corinthians 13:4), which refers to the state into which He had entered.
The perfection of the Divine incarnation is likewise intimated in the words “He also Himself likewise took part of the same.” These words emphasize the fact that Christ’s becoming Man was a voluntary act on His part. The “children” were by nature subject to the common condition of “flesh and blood.” They belonged to that order. They had no say in the matter. That was their state by the law of their very being. But not so with the Lord Jesus. He entered this condition as coming from another sphere and state of being. He was the Son who “thought it not robbery to be equal with God.” He was all-sufficient in Himself. Therefore it was an act of condescension, a voluntary act, an act prompted by love, which caused Him to “take part of the same.”
These words also point to the uniqueness of our Lord’s humanity. It is most blessed to observe how the Spirit here, as always, has carefully guarded the Redeemer’s glory. It is not said that Christ was a “partaker of flesh and blood,” but that “He likewise took part of the same.” The distinction may seem slight, and at first glance not easily detected; yet is there a real, important, vital difference. Though Christ became Man, real Man, yet was He different, radically different, from every other man. In becoming Man He did not “partake” of the foul poison which sin has introduced into the human constitution. His humanity was not contaminated by the virus of the Fall. Before His incarnation it was said to His mother, “That Holy Thing which shall be born of thee” ( Luke 1:35).
It is the sinlessness, the uniqueness of our Lord’s humanity which is so carefully guarded by the distinction which the Holy Spirit has drawn in Hebrews 2:14.
The purpose of the Divine incarnation is here intimated in the words that “through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.” It was with this end in view that the Son of God took part in “flesh and blood.” In the several passages where the Divine incarnation is referred to in the New Testament different reasons are given and various designs are recorded. For example, John 3:16 tells us that one chief object in it was to reveal and exhibit the matchless love of God. Timothy 1:15 declares that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” But here in Hebrews 2:14 it is the destroying of him that had the power of death that is mentioned.
The object of the Holy Spirit in our present passage is to display the glorious and efficacious side of that which was most humbling — the infinite stoop of the Lord of glory. He is pointing out to those who found the Cross such a stumbling-block, how that there was a golden lining to the dark cloud which hung over it. That which to the outward eye, or rather the untaught heart and mind, seemed such a degrading tragedy was, in reality, a glorious triumph; for by it the Savior stripped the Devil of his power and wrested from his hands his most awful weapon. Just as the scars which a soldier carries are no discredit or dishonor to him if received in an honorable cause, so the cross-sufferings of Christ instead of marking His defeat were, actually, a wondrous victory, for by them He overthrew the arch-enemy of God and man. “That through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.” It is most blessed to note the bearing of this statement upon the special point the apostle was discussing.
The Jews were stumbled by the fact that their Messiah had died.
Here the Holy Spirit showed that so far from that death tarnishing the glory of Christ, it exemplified it, for by death He overthrew the great Enemy and delivered His captive people. “Not only is He glorious in heaven, but He hath conquered Satan in the very place where he exercised his sad dominion over men, and where the judgment of God lay heavily upon men” (Mr. J.N. Darby). “That through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.” Three things here claim attention:
First , what is meant by the Devil having “the power of death”?
Second , what “death” is here in view?
Third , in what sense has Christ “destroyed” the Devil?
From the words of the next verse it is clear that the reference is to what particularly obtained before Christ became incarnate. That it does not mean the Devil had absolute power in the infliction of physical death in Old Testament times is clear from several scriptures. Of old Jehovah affirmed, “See now that I, even I, am He, and there is no god with Me: I kill, and I make alive” ( Deuteronomy 32:39).
Again, “the Lord killeth, and maketh alive; He bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up” ( 1 Samuel 2:6).
These passages are decisive, and show that even during the Mosaic economy the giving of life and the inflicting of death were in the hands of God only, no matter what instruments He might employ in connection therewith.
The particular kind of “death” which is here in view is explained for us in the words “that through death lie” etc. The death which Christ died was “the wages of sin” — the penal infliction of the law, suffering the wrath of a holy God. The point raised here is a deeply mysterious one, yet on it Scripture throws some light. In John 8:44, Christ declared that the Devil was “a murderer” (literally “man-slayer”) from the beginning. In Zechariah 3:1, we are shown Satan standing at Jehovah’s right-hand to resist Israel’s high priest. Upon the subject Saphir has said, “But which death did Christ die? That death of which the Devil had the power. Satan wielded that death. He it was who had a just claim against us that we should die. There is justice in the claim of Satan. “It is quite true that Satan is only a usurper; but in saving men God deals in perfect righteousness, justice, truth. According to the Jewish tradition the fallen angels often accuse men, and complain before God that sinful men obtain mercy. Our redemption is in harmony with the principles of righteousness and equity, on which God has founded all things. The prince of this world is judged ( John 16:11); he is conquered not merely by power, but by the power of justice and truth.... He stood upon the justice of God, upon the inflexibility of His law, upon the true nature of our sins.
But when Christ died our very death, when He was made sin and a curse for us, then all the power of Satan was gone.... And now what can Satan say? The justice, majesty, and perfection of the law are vindicated more than if all the human race were lost forever. The penalty due to the broken law Jesus endured, and now, as the law is vindicated, sin put away, death swallowed up, Christ has destroyed the Devil.”
Inasmuch as the Devil is the one who brought about the downfall of our first parents, by which sentence of death has been passed upon all their posterity ( Romans 5:12); inasmuch as he goeth about as a roaring lion “seeking whom he may devour” ( 1 Peter 5:8); inasmuch as he challenged God to inflict upon the guilty the sentence of the law ( Zechariah 3:1); and, inasmuch as even the elect of God are, before their regeneration, under “the power of darkness” ( Colossians 1:13 and cf. Acts 26:18), dead in trespasses and sins, yet “walking according to the Prince of the power of the air”; the Devil may be said to have “the power of death.”
The word “destroy him that had the power of death” does not signify to annihilate, but means to make null and render powerless. In Corinthians 1:28 this same Greek word is rendered “bring to naught”; in Romans 3:3 “without effect”; in Romans 3:31 “make void.” Satan has been so completely vanquished by Christ the Head that he shall prevail against none of His members. This is written for the glory of Christ, and to encourage His people to withstand him. Satan is an enemy bespoiled.
Therefore is it said, “Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you” ( James 4:7). To such as believe there is assurance of victory. If the Devil gets the upper hand of us, it is either because of our timidity, or lack of faith. “To ‘destroy him that had the power of death’ is to strip him of his power. It is said by the apostle John, ‘for this purpose was the Son of God manifested, to destroy the works of the Devil,’ i.e. ignorance, error, depravity, and misery. In the passage before us, the destruction is restricted to the peculiar aspect in which the Devil is viewed. To destroy him, is so to destroy him as having ‘the power of death’ — to render him, in this point of light, powerless in reference to the children; i.e., to make death cease to be a penal evil. Death, even in the case of the saints, is an expression of the displeasure of God against sin; but it is not — as but for the death of Christ it must have been — the hopeless dissolution of his body: it is not the inlet to eternal misery to his soul. Death to them for whom Christ died consigns, indeed, the body to the grave; but it is ‘in the sure and certain hope of a glorious resurrection,’ and it introduces the freed spirit into all the glories of the celestial paradise” (Dr. J. Brown).
This stripping Satan of his power of death was accomplished by the laying down of the Savior’s life, “that through death He might destroy.” “The means whereby Christ overcame Satan, is expressly said to be death. To achieve this great and glorious victory against so mighty an enemy, Christ did not assemble troops of angels, as He could have done ( Matthew 26:53), nor did He array Himself with majesty and terror, as in Exodus 19:16; but He did it by taking part of weak flesh and blood, and therein humbling Himself to death. In this respect the apostle saith, that Christ ‘having spoiled principalities and powers, made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in the cross’ ( Colossians 2:15), meaning thereby, His death. The apostle there resembleth the cross of Christ to a trophy whereon the spoils of enemies were hanged. Of old conquerors were wont to hang the armor and weapons of enemies vanquished on the walls of forts and towers.” (Dr. Gouge.) “That through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.” A striking type of this is furnished in Judges 14:12-19 — will the reader please turn to this, before considering our brief comments. The riddle propounded by Samson prefigured what is plainly declared here in Hebrews 2:14. The greatest “eater” ( Judges 14:14), or “consumer,” is Death. Yet out of the eater came forth meat: that is, out of death has come life; see John 12:24. Note in Judges 14 how, typically, the natural man is, of himself, utterly unable to solve this mystery.
The secret of the death of Christ, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, must be revealed. Finally, note how that a change of raiment was provided for those to whom the riddle was explained — a foreshadowment of the believer’s robe of righteousness! “And deliver them who through fear of death were all their life-time subject to bondage” (verse 15).
It needs to be carefully borne in mind that throughout this passage the apostle has in view a particular class of persons, namely, the “heirs of salvation,” the “sons” of God, the “brethren” of Christ. Here they are described according to their unregenerate condition: subject to bondage; so subject, all their unregenerate days; so subject through “the fear of death.”
It was to deliver them from this fear of death that Christ died. Such we take it is the general meaning of this verse. 2 Timothy 1:7 gives the sequel: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
The opening “And” and the verb “deliver” (which is in the same mood and tense as “destroy” in the previous verse) intimate that Christ’s death had in view these two ends which cannot be separated, namely, destroying the Devil, delivering us. Just as Abraham destroyed those enemies who had taken Lot captive together with the other inhabitants of Sodom, that he might “deliver” them ( Genesis 14:14), and as David destroyed the Amalekites, that he might “deliver” his wives and children and others out of their hands ( 1 Samuel 27:9), so Christ vanquished the Devil, that he might “deliver” those who had (by yielding to his temptations) fallen captive to him. What thanks is due unto Christ for thus overthrowing our great adversary!
To the “fear of death,” i.e., that judgment of God upon sin, all men are in much greater bondage than they will own or than they imagine. It was this “fear” which made Adam and Eve hide themselves from the presence of God ( Genesis 3:8), which made Cain exclaim, “my punishment is greater than I can bear” ( Genesis 4:13), which made Nabal’s heart to die within him ( 1 Samuel 25:37), which made Saul fall to the ground as a man in a swoon ( 1 Samuel 28:20), which made Felix to tremble ( Acts 24:25), and which will yet cause kings and the great men of the earth to call on the mountains to fall on them ( Revelation 6:15,16).
True, the natural man, at times, succeeds in drowning the accusations of his conscience in the pleasures of sin, but “as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool” ( Ecclesiastes 7:6).
It is from this fearful bondage that Christ delivered His people: through His grace, by His spirit filling them “with all joy and peace in believing” ( Romans 15:13).
First , in verses 4-8 there we have, in figure, Satan harassing the Old Testament saints.
Second , where was David (type of Christ) during the time Goliath was terrifying the people of God? Verses 14, 15 answer: In his father’s house, caring for his sheep. So through the Mosaic economy Christ remained on High, in the Father’s house, yet caring for His sheep.
Third , Goliath defied Israel for “forty days,” verse 16 — figure of the forty centuries from Adam to Christ, when the Old Testament saints lived in fear of death, for “life and immortality” were only brought “to light through the Gospel” ( 2 Timothy 1:10).
Fourth , next we see David leaving his father’s house, laden with blessings for his brethren, verses 17, 18. Note the “early in the morning,” verse 20, showing his readiness to go on this mission.
Sixth , in verses 32, 38-49, we have a marvelous type of Christ defeating Satan in the wilderness: note how David went forth in his shepherd character (verse 40 and compare John 10). He took “five” stones out of the brook (the place of running water — figure of the Holy Spirit) but used only one of them; so Christ in the Wilderness selected the Pentateuch (the first five books of Scripture) as His weapon, but used only one of them, Deuteronomy. Note David slew him not with the stone! He stunned him with that, but slew him with his own sword: so Christ vanquished him that had the power of death “through death.” Read again verse 51 and see how accurate is the figure of Christ “bruising” the Serpent’s head. Finally, read verse 52 and see the typical climax: those “in fear” delivered. What a marvelous Book is the Bible! “For verily He took not on angels; but He took on the seed of Abraham” (verse 16).
This verse, which has occasioned not a little controversy, presents no difficulty if it be weighed in the light of its whole context. It treats not of the Divine incarnation, that we have in verse 14; rather does it deal with the purpose of it, or better, the consequences of Christ’s death. Its opening “for” first looks back, remotely to verses 9,10; immediately, to verses 14, 15. The Spirit is here advancing a reason why Christ tasted death for every son, and why He destroyed the Devil in order to liberate His captives; because not angels, but the seed of Abraham, were the objects of His benevolent favor. The “for” and the balance of the verse also, looks forward, laying a foundation for what follows in verse 17: the ground of Christ’s being made like to His brethren and becoming the faithful and merciful High Priest was because He would befriend the seed of Abraham.
The Greek verb here translated “He took on” or “laid hold” is found elsewhere in some very striking connections. It is used of Christ’s stretching out His hand and rescuing sinking Peter, Matthew 14:31, there rendered “caught.” It is used of Christ when He “took” the blind man by the hand ( Mark 8:23). So of the man sick of the dropsy. He “took” and healed him ( Luke 14:4). Here in Hebrews 2:16 the reference is to the almighty power and invincible grace of the Captain of our salvation.
It receives illustration in those words of the apostle’s where, referring to his own conversion, he said, “for which also I am (was) apprehended (laid hold) of Christ Jesus” ( Philippians 3:12). Thus it was and still is with each of God’s elect. In themselves, lost, rushing headlong to destruction; when Christ stretches forth His hand and delivers, so that of each it may be said, “Is not this a brand plucked from the burning” ( Zechariah 3:2). “Laid hold of” so securely that none can pluck out of His hand!
But not only does our verse emphasize the invincibility of Divine grace, it also plainly teaches the absolute sovereignty of it. Christ lays hold not of “the seed of Adam,” all mankind, but only “the seed of Abraham” — the father of God’s elect people. This expression, “the seed of Abraham,” is employed in the New Testament in connection with both his natural and his spiritual seed. It is the latter which is here in view: “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many, but as of one, And to thy seed which is Christ” ( Galatians 3:16) — not only Christ personal, but Christ mystical. The last verse of Galatians 3 shows that: “And if ye be Christ’s then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to promise.”
This verse presents an insoluble difficulty to those who believe in the universality of God’s love and grace. Those who do so deny the plain teaching of Scripture that Christ laid down His life for “the sheep,” and for them alone. They insist that justice as well as mercy demanded that He should die for all of Adam’s race. But why is it harder to believe that God has provided no salvation for part of the human race, than that He has provided none for the fallen angels? They were higher in the scale of being; they, too, were sinners needing a Savior. Yet none has been provided for them! He “laid not on” angels.
But more: Our verse not only brings out the truth of election, it also presents the solemn fact of reprobation. Christ is not the Savior of angels. “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, He hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day” (Jude 6). On this Dr. J. Brown has well said: “What an overwhelming subject of contemplation is this! He is not the Savior of angels, but of the elect family of men. We are lost in astonishment when we allow our minds to rest on the number and dignity of those whom He does not lay hold of, and the comparative as well as real vileness of those of whom He does take hold. A sentiment of this kind has engaged some good, but in this case not wise men, in an inquiry why the Son of God saves men rather than angels. On this subject Scripture is silent, and so should we be. There is no doubt that there are good reasons for this, as for every other part of the Divine determinations and dispensations; and it is not improbable that in some future stage of our being these reasons will be made known to us. But, in the meantime, I can go no further than, ‘even so, Father, for so it hath seemed good in Thy sight.’ I dare not ‘intrude into things, which I have not seen,’ lest I should prove that I am ‘vainly puffed up by a fleshly mind.’ But I will say with an apostle, ‘Behold the goodness and severity of God; on them that fell, severity’ — most righteous severity; ‘but to them who are saved, goodness’ — most unmerited goodness.” (Dr. J.
May the Lord add His blessing to what has been before us.