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supernatural from the woman ; and they become mutually debtors to one another : but the glory of both these. privileges to remain entirely to God alone, the supreme
XX. Hence it is evident, that such a Saviour is promised, who was to be man, and the son of man. But seeing he is described as stronger than the devil, who, by sin, had acquired a right over man; it follows, that he is also true God. For the bruising of the serpent's head is ascribed to him ; and this he does, 1. By the merit of his satisfaction, and therefore he must have been of such dignity, as to be able to pay a suitable ransom for all the elect. 2. By the efficacy of his Spirit, which gradually abolishes every power of the devil, and so shews himself to be stronger than the strong man.
XXI. God declares the manner in which this Saviour was to purchase salvation, by saying to the serpent, Thou shalt bruise his heel. In which words there is, 1. A denunciation of sufferings, to be inflicted on Christ by the devil and his instruments, whereby he would be thrown down for a time. While he himself bruises with his foot the serpent's head, and strips him of all
the serpent, by his envenomed sting, will grievously wound his heel,* and constrain him to stagger and fall. For a man, in an upright posture, stands on his heels, which being grievously wounded, he is thrown down. 2. A prophecy of his resurrection. For his head will not be bruised, nor his heart wounded, nor any vital part grievously affected; but only his heel hurt; nay, not both, but only one. Though he was therefore thus to be thrown down, yet he was soon to
* Some have observed, that this expression of bruising Christ's heel, was not altogether an obscure representation of his death on the cross, to which his feet were nailed. VOL. II.
his power ;
rise again, on resuming strength, and shew to the whole world, that he is a conqueror.
XXII. The si ffe ings here denounced are not only zearlike, as a certain author calls them, with which the serpent together with his seed, from a hatred to holiness and righteousness, assaulted Christ; but even judiciary, being inflicted, by the most righteous sentence of God, on the Son the Surety, to shew his righteousness, by which he could not pardon sin without a due satisfaction. For God here personates a judge ; pronounces sentence against the devil, declaring his destruction at the appointed time. But the same sentence also condemns the Surety of men to undergo those vexations of the devil, which, as a conqueror he could have inflicted on sinful men. He had indeed acquired his dominion over man by evil practices.
Yet after man, by forsaking God, his lawful Lord, had enslaved himself to the devil, the justice of God, in every respect, required' his being subject to the devil, as God's jailor and executioner, for his torment, punishment, and condemnation. In which sense the devil is said to have the power of death, Heb. ii. 14. and that even by virtue of the law and the sentence of God: for the sting of death is sin ; that is, sin introduced death, and the instruments of it, and made them sharp, mortally to wound man : but the (strength) power of sin is the larv. That is, the power that sin has of putting man to death, is in virtue of the divine law, which threatened the sînner with death, 1 Cor. xv. 56. Whence it follows, that the power of the devil over sinners of mankind is so far lawful, because the devil obtains the power of · death over man, but as that law is most righteous, life *cannot be granted to the sinner in prejudice thereto. It is therefore necessary, that satisfaction be made to it from some other quarter; and that the devil should
exercise that power of death, which he had acquired by sin, either on the sinner himself, or on his Surety. Yet in such a manner, that, while he puts the Surety to death, he lays violent hands upon himself, and loses all his dominion over the elect; for full satisfaction is made, by the death of the Surety, to that divine justice, by which the devil had obtained power over the sinner. These words therefore shew, how the devil, in a way agreeable to divine justice, may be deprived of all that power over the elect, which justice had granted him over sinners ; namely, because the devil was to exercise that power over the Surety of men, 'by biting his heel, or putting him to death. So that those sufferings which Christ was here foretold to endure, are, in the highest degree, judiciary or satisfactory. Compare these things with what we have said, book ii. chap. 6. $ 23, 24.
XXIII. The heirs of those benefits or blessings are, 1. The woman herself, HAISHAH, with the demonstrative particle He, namely, that woman whom the 'serpent had first attacked and conquered. She is here mentioned, but not in exclusion of her husband ; but because she, having been enticed by the flatteries of Satan, seemed to have contracted a greater familiarity with him ; and therefore her enmity to the devil was to be a most admirable effect of divine power and good
And then it was also a remarkable contempt put upon the proudest of spirits, that he should be vanquished not by the man, but the woman, that very woman, whom he had so easily subdued by his delusions. In fine, from this it most clearly appears, that the whole work of our salvation is owing to divine grace. For if Adam had here been expressly set in opposition to the serpent, because he was stronger and more prudent by nature, and was last overcome by the devil; this thought
might by degrees have easily gained upon mankind, that, by the remains of virtue and wisdom, which were in Adam, he had undertaken a new combat with the serpent, and with better success. But seeing the commencement of the enmity is ascribed to Eve, the woman, who was both weaker by nature and first overcome, it is clearer than noon-day, that the
of God alone is here all in all,
XXIV. 2. The seed of the woman. By which is signified not all mankind, but elect believers ; as appears from that distinction, by which that seed is opposed to the seed of the serpent. For it is evident, that wicked men, who are of their father the devil, John viii. 44. 1 John iïi. 8. and the children of the wicked one, Matth.
, xiii. 38. are the seed of the serpent. The seed of the *woman, therefore, is the godly posterity of Eve; namely, the children of the promise, who are counted for the seed, Rom, ix. 8. And perhaps this is the reason, why the godly are called the seed of the woman, and not the seed of the man : because as the woman was wholly indebted to a gracious promise, that she was appointed to oppose and fight against the serpent, not without the desired success : so also it was not those children in general, who were to be born of her, according to the law of nature, by matrimonial commerce; but those only, whose mother she was to be by the same gracious promise, who are here accounted for her seed. For though Eve, as she was joined to Adam in marriage, is the natural mother of all mankind, even of those who are calied the sced of the serpent; yet the same Eve, being, by virtue of this divine promise, set in opposition to the serpent, by whom she was overcome, is the mother only of the blessed seed; which was to proceed from her, not according to the law of nature, but in virtue of the promise of grace ; which is
therefore called the seed of the woman ; even of that woman, who is, and in so far as she is, placed in opposition to the serpent.
XXV. The mean, by which the appointed heirs become actually partakers of the promised benefits, is faith in the Surety ; which is intimated by a twofold enigma or dark saying. 1. As all the heirs are called by, the common name, seed; this denotes the mystical union and communion of the seed, which is sanctified, with that which sanctifies ; so that what the latter has done or suffered, the former is accounted to have done or suffered in hiin. But the band of that union is faith, by which we receive Christ, adhere to him, and become one spirit with him, i Cor. vi. 17. 2. As the bruising the serpent's head is ascribed to the seed; which, indeed, Christ alone does by the merit of his obedience, and the infinite efficacy of his Spirit; yet the elect also in Christ, and by the power of Christ, conquer him through faith. Christ is the general in this combat, the seed of the woman by way of eminence, who overthrows and triumphs over the enemy: but next to Christ, and under him, believers also fight and overcome by his power : And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, Rev. xii. 11. that is, because on that very account the blood of the Lamb was shed for them. . The victory, which the rest of the seed gains over the serpent cannot but follow upon the shedding of the blood of the Lamb, who is the seed of Eve. Moreover, that victory is obtained only by faith : Whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world (consequently the devil, who is called the prince and god of this world, Eph. vi. 12. 2 Cor. iv. 4.) and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
XXVI. It is not to be thought improbable, that so many and so great mysteries of faith are expressed in