For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor
perceived by the ear
Not only the things unexpected, undesired, and undeserved, had been done for the Lord's people of old; but there were other things, unheard of and unseen, which God, in his secret counsels, had prepared for them; and for which reason his appearance in his providential dispensations was the more to be desired and entreated. The Apostle Paul has cited this passage in ( 1 Corinthians 2:9 ) and applied it to Gospel times, and to evangelical truths, which are not discoverable by the light of nature; had there not been a revelation from God, the ears of men had never heard them, nor the eyes of men ever seen them: neither hath the eye seen, O God, besides thee;
and though there is a revelation made, yet, unless God gives men eyes to see, and ears to hear, divine truths will remain unknown to them; and those who have knowledge of them, it is but imperfect; perfect knowledge of them is reserved to another state. These are mysteries and, though revealed, remain so; the modes of them being unknown, or the manner how they are is inscrutable; such as the mode of each Person's subsisting in the Trinity; and how the two natures, human and divine, are united in the person of Christ. Moreover, under the Old Testament dispensation, these things were not so clearly revealed as now; they were the fellowship of the mystery hid in God, the treasure of Gospel truths hid in the field of the Scriptures; they were wrapped up in the dark figures and shadows of the ceremonial law, and expressed in obscure prophecies; they were kept secret since the beginning of the world, from ages and generations past, and, not so made known, as now, to the holy apostles and prophets; a more full and clear knowledge of them was reserved to Gospel times. This may also include the blessings of grace, more peculiarly prepared and provided for the church of Christ under the Gospel dispensation, especially in the latter part of it, as the promise of the Spirit; more spiritual light and knowledge; peace in abundance, and such as passeth all understanding; and particularly what will be enjoyed in the personal reign of Christ, described in so pompous a manner, ( Revelation 20:1-21:27 ) and it may be applied to the glories of the future state, which are such as the eye of man has never seen, nor his ear heard; and, as the apostle adds, have not entered into the heart of man to conceive of; and, as Jarchi paraphrases the words here,
``the eye of any prophet hath not seen what God will do for him that waits for him, except thine eyes, thou, O God;''having cited a passage of their Rabbins out of the Talmud F15, which interprets the words of the world to come,
``all the prophets say, they all of them prophesied only of the days of the Messiah; but as to the world to come, eye hath not seen''Some read the words, "neither has the eye seen God besides thee who will do for him that waiteth for him" F16; that is, none besides thee, O Christ, who lay in the bosom of the Father, and was privy to all, ( John 1:18 ) : what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him;
the apostle quotes it, "for them that love him"; which describes the same persons; for those that wait for the Lord love him, and those that love him will wait for him; as Old Testament saints did for the first coming of Christ, and as New Testament saints now wait on him, in the ministry of his word and ordinances, for his spiritual presence, and also are waiting for his second coming, and for the ultimate glory; and for such persons unseen and unheard of things are prepared in the counsels and purposes of God, and in the covenant of his grace; Christ, and all things with him; the Gospel, and the truths of it, ordained before the world was; and all the blessings of grace and glory. The Targum is,
``and since the world was, ear hath not heard the voice of mighty deeds, nor hearkened to the speech of trembling; nor hath eye seen, what thy people saw, the Shechinah of the glory of the Lord, for there is none besides thee, what thou wilt do to thy people, the righteous, who were of old, who wait for thy salvation.''
F15 T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 63. 1. & Sanhedrin, fol. 99. 1.
F16 (wl hkxml hvey Ktlwz Myhla htar al Nye) "nono oculus vidit Deum praeter te, faciat expectanti ipsum", Montanus; "qui faciat sic expectanti se", Pagninus, Munster.