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S E R M O N CXX.
Jesus, the Son of God, proved by his re
Rom. i. 4: And declared to be the son of God with power, ac
cording to the Spirit of holiness, by the refurrection from the dead.
(T. Paul, in the beginning of this epistle ( accor
ding to his custom in the rest ) files himself
Apoftle particularly called and fet apart by God for the preaching of the gospel; the main subject whereof was, Jesus Christ our Lord; who as he was, according to his divine nature, the eternal son of God; so, according to his human nature, he was not only the son of man, but also the Son of God. According to the flesh (that is, the weakness, and frailty, and mortality of his human nature ) he was the son of David, that is, of his posterity by his mother, who was of that house and line. Made of the feed of David, according to the flesh, ver. 3. But according to the Spirt of holiness, (that is, in regard of that divine power of the Holy Ghost
, which was manifested in him, especially in his resurrection from the dead ) he was demonstrated to be the Son of God; even according to his human nature ; declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holines, by the resurrection from the dead.
All the difficulty in the words is concerning the meaning of this phrase, of Christ's being declared to be the son of God: The word is ope évos, which most frequently in scripture does signify predestinated, decreed, determined; but it likewise signifies, that which is defined, declared, demonstrated, put out of all doubt and controversy. 'And in this sense our VOL. VI.
transla, translation renders it. As if the Apostle had said, that our Lord Jesus Christ, though according to the frailty and weakness of his human nature, he was of the feed of David; yet in respect of that divine power of the Holy Ghost, which manifested itself in him, especially in his resurrection from the dead, he was declared to be the Son of God with power, that is, mightily, powerfully demonstrated to be so; so as to put the matter out of all dispute and controversy.
And therefore, following our own translation, I shall handle the words in this sense, as containing this proposition in them ; That the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Chrift from the dead, by the Holy Ghost, is a powerful demonstration that he was the son of God.
And it will conduce very much to the clearing of this proposition to consider these two things :
First, Upon what account Christ, as man, is said to be the Son of God.
Secondly, In what sense he is said to be declared to be the son of God by his resurrection from the dead.
The consideration of these two particulars will fully clear this proposition, and the Apostle's meaning in it.
First, Upon what account Christ, as man, is said to be the son of God. And for our right apprehension of this matter, it is very well worthy our observation, that Chrift,as man,is no where in scripture said to be the Son of God, but with relation to the divine power of the Holy Ghost, some way or other eminently manifested in him ; I say the divine power of the Holy Ghost, as the Lord and giver of life, as he is called in the ancient creeds of the Christian church, For as men are naturally said to be the children of those from whom they receive their life and being; so Christ, as man, is said to be the Son of God, because he had life communicated to himn, from the Fa. ther, by an immediate power of the Spirit of God, or the Holy Ghost; first at his conception, which was by the Holy Ghost. The conception of our blessed saviour was an immediate act of the power of the Holy Ghost, overshadowing, as the scripture expresseth it, the blefled mother of our Lord. And then at his
resurrection, when after his death, he was, by the operation of the Holy Ghost, raised to life again. Now
upon these two accounts only, Christ, as man, is said in fcripture to be the Son of God. He was really so upon account of his conception; but this was secret and invisible: but most eminently and remarkably so, upon account of his resurrection, which was open and visible to a!).
j. Upon account of his conception by the power of the Holy Ghost: That upon this account he was called the son of God, St. Luke most expressly tells us, Luke i. 35. where the Angel tells the virgin Mary, that the Holy Ghost jould come upon her, and the power of the Highest should overshadow her, and therefore that holy thing which should be born of her, should be called the Son of God. And this our Saviour means by the Father's fan&ifying him, and sending him into the world; for which reason he says he might justly call himself the Son of God, John X. 35, 36. If he call them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken : Say ye of him, whom the Father hatb sanétified, and sent into the world, Thou blafphemeft; because I said, I am the Son of God? If there had been no other reason, this had been sufficient to have given him the title of the son of God, that he was brought into the world by the fan&tification, or divine power of the Holy Ghost.
2. Christ is alfo faid in scripture to be the son of God, and to be declared to be so, upon account of his refurrection from the dead, by the power of the Holy Ghost. His resurrection from the dead is here in the text ascribed to the Spirit of holinefs, or the Holy Ghoft. And so in other places of fcripture, Rom. viii. 11. If the Spirit of him that raised up FeJus from the dead dwell in you : And · Pet. iii. 18. Being put to death in the flejle, but quickened by the Spirit; that is, he suffered in that frail mortal nature which he affumed: but was raised again by the power of the Holy Ghost, of the Spirit of God which resided in him. And upon this account he is expressly said in fcripture to be the Son of God. Psal. ii. 7. I will deciare the decree; the Lord hath said unto
me, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee ; to which perhaps the Apostle alludes here in the text, when he says, that Christ was decreed to be the son of God, by his resurrection from the dead. To be sure these words, this day have I begotten thee, St. Paul expressly tells us were accomplished in the resurrection of Christ; as if God by raising him from the dead, had begotten him, and decreed him to be his Son. 'Acts xiii. 32, 33. And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Fesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.
He was the Son of God before, as he was conceived by the Holy Ghoft; but this was secret and invisible, and known only to the mother of our Lord: And therefore God thought fit to give a publick and vi. fible demonstration of it, so as to put the matter out of all question ; - he declared him in a powerful manner to be his Son, by giving him a new life af. ter death, by raising him from the dead; and by this new and eminent teftimony given to him, declared him again to be his Son, and confirmed the title which was given him before upon a true, but more fecret account, of his being conceived by the Holy Ghoft.
And as our Saviour is said to be the Son of God upon this twofold account, of his conception by the Holy Ghost, and his resurrection to life by the Spi. rit of God: So the scripture (which does solicitous. ly pursue a resemblance and conformity between Christ and Christians ) does likewise upon a twofold account ( answerable to our Saviour's birth and resurrection) call true believers and Christians the children of God, viz. Upon account of their regeneration or new birth, by the operation of the Spirit of God;
and upon account of their resurrection to eternal life, by the power of the same Spirit. .
Upon account of our regeneration, and becoming Christians by the power and operation of the Holy Spirit of God upon our minds, we are said to be the children of God, as being regenerated fand born again by the Holy Spirit of God: And this is our first adoption: And for this reason the Spirit of God conferred upon Christians at their baptism, and dwelling and reliding in them afterwards, is called the Spirit of adoption ; Rom. viii. 15. Ye bave received the Spirit of adoption, whereby you cry, Abba Father; and Gal. iv, 5, 6. Believers are said to receive the adoption of fons; God having sent forth the spirit of his son into their hearts, crying Abba Father; that is, all Christians, forasmuch as they are regenerated by the Holy Spirit of God, and having the Spirit of God dwelling in them, may with confidence call God Father, and look upon themselves as his children. So the Apostle tells us, Rom. viii. 14. That as many as are led (or acted) by the Spirit of God, are the Sons of God.
But though we are said to be the children of God upon account of our regeneration, and the Holy Spirit of God dwelling and residing in Christians; yet we are eminently so, upon account of our resurrection to eternal life, by the mighty power of God's Spirit. This is our final adoption, and the consummation of it; and therefore, Rom. viii. 21. this is called the glorious liberty of the Sons of God, because by this we are for ever delivered from the bondage of corruption; and by way of eminency, the adoption, viz. the redemption of our bodies.
We are indeed the fons of God before, upon account of the regenerating and fanctifying virtue of the Holy Ghoft; but finally and chiefly upon account of our resurrection by the power of the divine Spirit. So St. John tells us, that then we shall be declared to be the fons of God, after another manner than are now : 1 John iii. 1. Behold what manner of love the Father bath bestowed upon us, that we jould be called the Sons of God. Now we are the sons of God, (that is, our adoption is begun in our regeneration and fanctification) but it doth not yet appear what we shall be; we shall be much more eminently so at the refurrection. We know, that when he shall appear, we fall be like him.