« PreviousContinue »
been no enmity between the woman and the devil, without renioving, by justification, the enmity with God, which the devil, by his seduction, had brought the woman and her posterity to ; and without conquering and subduing, by sanctification, the dominion of sin in the woman. Putting therefore that enmity against the devil, he appoints a covenant of peace and friendship, whereby he promises to the woman the grace of justification and sanctification.”
XIV. The fourth benefit is the resurrection of the body, which was brought to dust, by his means who has the
power of death : this is more obscurely intimated, when it is said, that the serpent shall eat dust all the days of his life ; which we have shewn, sect. 5. to be the days preceding the last judgment. From which we concluded, that the time of the devil's power, and of his going about to devour, is limited, and to have a final period. And, when that is elapsed, the bodies of the righteous shall be raised from the dust, and all the effects and remains of the power of the devil, and of sin, by which he acquired his power, entirely abolished; that he may not detain, under his power, the dust of our bodies, which ought to be temples of God, and of his Holy Spirit, in a state of glorious holiness. Nor was this, indeed, altogether unobserved by Fagius, who thus speaks: “ The days of Satan's life are the whole time to the consummation of the world, and the coming of Christ. For then he and all his servants shall be thrown -headlong into everlasting fire, Matth. xxv. 41."
XV. Jehovah God, who speaks to the serpent, and declares, that he would put that enmity, of which we have been speaking, takes the honor to himself of being the Author of all those benefits. Though we are not to deny, that the conferring so great a benefit is to be ascribed to the whole undivided Trinity; yet, in the
æconomy of our salvation, the Father, who is first in order, holds the principal. place. And whereas the eternal suretiship of the Son, according to the tenor of the covenant between the Father and the Son, on the supposition of sin, began immediately to exert its efficacy, these words are not improperly referred primarily and immediately to the Father, who, on account of the suretiship of the Son, appoints. his grace to the sinner; and who expressly enough distinguishes himself from the Mediator, or the seed of the woman. And indeed God. was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, 2 Cor. v. 19. that is, the Father in the Son, the Mediator. XVI. The meritorious cause of those benefits is the
. seed of the woman, eminently so called. I own indeed, when the seed of the woman is opposed to the seed of the serpent, and between both an enmity established, both seeds are to be understood collectively: that by the seed of the serpent, all the wicked are intended, who, Matth. iii. 7. are called the generation of vipers : by the seed of the woman, élect believers, together with Christ their head: yet it is without doubt, that, in this seed, there is some eminent one, to whom that name does chiefly belong, and by whose power the rest of the seed may perform the things that are here foretold. Just as the seed of Abraham is sometimes to be understood more largely, at other times strictly; sometimes denoting his posterity by Isaac and Jacob, as Gen. xvii, 8. I will give unto thy seed the land wherein thou art a stranger : sometimes more especially believers of his posterity, who walk in the steps of the faith of their father Abraham, and to whom the promise of the inheritance of the world, by the righteousness of faith, is made, Rom. iv. 12, 13. sometimes, more eşpecially, that eminent one in the seed of Abraham, who was to be the spring of every blessing, as Gen. xxi. 18.
In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; which is Christ, Gal. iii. 16. Thus also the things here said are, in their measure, coinmon to all believers ;
but then some effects are primarily and principally to be ascribed to him, who, in this seed, is the eminent one, namely, Christ: as the apostle also distinguishes the seed that sanctifieth, and that which is sanctified; both which are one, Heb. ii. 11.
XVII. But the reasons for which Christ is called the seed of the woman, seem to be chiefly these two: one peculiar to Christ, the other common to him with other men. That which is common, is his being of the same blood with us, that we might know him to be our brother and next kinsman. For men, in scripture-language, are called, born of a woman, Job. xiv. 1. xv. 4. & xxv. 4. and born of women, Matth. xi. 11. But then, we must add that which is peculiar to himself, that though Christ, indeed, had a woman for his mother, being made of a woman, Gal. iv. 4. yet he had no man for his father, being roithout father, Heb. vii. 3. See Jer. xxxi. 22. A woman shall compass a man.
For though this last reason holds not in believers, who are likewise called the seed of the woman, for another reason, to be explained directly; yet, seeing Christ holds the principal place in this seed, as he bruises the head of the devil in one sense, and believers in another; so therefore he is called the seed of the woman in a different serse from them. The same words are indeed used of both; but because Christ is far more excellent than they, therefore when they are applied to Christ, they have a much more illustrious meaning.
XVIII. It is indeed true, that Christ is the seed of Adam, whose son he is called, Luke jii. 38. also the seed of Abraham, and the son of David, because he was born of a virgin, who descended from them. Yet
there was great reason, why he should be here called the seed of the woman, rather than of Adam. For Adam, in scripture, is represented as the origin of sin and death. Eve, indeed, was first in the transgression: but as it was not Eve, but Adam who was expressly constituted the federal head of all mankind; so sin and death are said to have entered into the world by Adam, Rom. v. 12, 14.
Wherefore he who delivers us from sin and death, ought not to be considered as subordinate to Adam, and as his son ; but as the second Adam, and the head of another family, opposed to Adam. However, as he was to be our kinsman and brother, it was necessary he should be born of a woman; and that Adam, as his son by the Spirit and by faith, should be subordinate to him. For since God says here, that he would put enmity between the woman and her seed, and the serpent and his seed, without any mention of Adam ; it must be, that either Adam is excluded this promise, or camprized under the seed of the woman. The respect and regard we ought to have for our parent, who was the author and teacher of the true reli gion to his posterity, forbids our saying the first. Nor do I think we should say the second ; because it is agreeable to reason, that the woman should be comprized under, and accounted in the man; not, on the contrary, the man under the woman.
It therefore remains, that we say the third ; namely, that Adam, as he was the origin of sin and death, is opposed to Christ; as himself was saved, is to be accounted to the seed of the woman, whose head is Christ, and so to be subordinate to Christ. Christ therefore is called the seed of the woman, because, being the origin of a better stock, he is opposed to Adam, as the root of a corrupt race. And it is hinted, that Adam himself owes his salvation to the woman, on account of her seed.
XIX. Paul, if I mistake not, leads us to this, i Cor. xi. 11, 12. Neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man in the Lord. the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the ucman : but all things of God. I do not remember to have seen a fuller explication of this place, than what I shall give from the Theses of a certain very learned
per. son. That the man and the woman may be in the Lord, partakers of the grace and redemption purchased by Christ, they are mutually indebted to one another, for something common to both, which the one neither had, nor could have obtained without the other. For as the woman is EK TOU ANDROS, of the man, from whose rib she was formed, and who could not have been in the Lord, had it not been for the man, without whom she could not have so much as existed ; so the man is in the Lord, DIA TES GUNAIKOS, by the woman, for the woman was appointed to be the first enemy of the serpent, and the Messiah is called the seed of the woman: but the man obtains the same happiness by the woman, as by faith he lays hold on the Messiah, who was to descend from her in virtue of the promise. The woman is of the man, materially and naturally: not so the man of the woman (which yet might be said, if we only mean ordinary generation, according to the manner that children are of a woman, Matth. i. 3, 5, 6. and Christ himself, Gal. i. 4.) but by the woman ; because not materially, but spiritually and supernaturally, by grace and faith. Thus therefore the man is the origin of being to the woman, the woman of well being to the man. But to prevent pride on either hand on this account, and their arrogating any thing to themselves, it is added, But all things are of God: by whose wisdom and most free disposal it was ordained, that the woman should derive her natural origin from the man; the