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themselves,* and whose desire of benefiting mankind is equal to their own.
In reliance, therefore, upon the divine assistance, let us now enter upon the subject itself.t
OF THE SON OF GOD. Hitherto I have considered the internal efficiency of God as shown in his decrees.
His external efficiency, or the execution of his decrees, whereby he carries into effect by external agency whatever decrees he has purposed within himself, may be comprised under the heads of Genera·tion, Creation, and the Government of the Universe.
First, Generation, whereby God, in pursuance of his decree, has begotten his only Son; whence he chiefly derives his appellation of Father.
Generation must be an external efficiency, since the Father and Son are different persons; and the divines themselves acknowledge this, who argue that there is a certain emanation of the Son from the Father (which will be explained when the doctrine concerning the Holy Spirit is under examination ;) for though they teach that the Spirit is co-essential with the Father, they do not deny that it emanates, and goes out, and proceeds, and is breathed from the Father, which are all expressions denoting external efficiency. In conjunction with this doctrine they
* The sentence is thus written in the original-quid est æquius quam ut permittant alteri eandem atque ipsi ratione ac via veritatem indaganti-probably an error for eadem.
†•Which, imploring divine assistance, that it may redound to his glory, and the good of the British nation, I now begin. History of Britain, B. I. Prose Works, IV. 3. VOL. I.
which, implod of thes, IV. 3.
hold that the Son is also co-essential with the Father, and generated from all eternity. Hence this question, which is naturally very obscure, becomes involved in still greater difficulties if the received opinion respecting it be followed ; for though the Father be said in Scripture to have begotten the Son in a double sense, the one literal, with reference to the production of the Son the other metaphorical, with reference to his exaltation, many commentators have applied the passages which allude to the exaltation and mediatorial functions of Christ as proofs of his generation from all eternity. They have indeed this excuse for their proceeding, if any excuse can be offered in such a case, that it was impossible to find a single text in all Scripture to prove the eternal generation of the Son. This point appears certain, notwithstanding the arguments of some of the moderns to the contrary, that the Son existed in the beginning, under the name of the logos or word, and was the first of the whole creation,* by whom afterwards all other things were made both in heaven and earth. John i. 1—3.
in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,' &c. xvii. 5. and now, O Father, glorify me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.' Col. i. 15, 18. the first-born of every creature.' Rev. iii. 14. “the beginning of the creation of
* Thee next they sang of all creation first,
Paradise Lost, III. 383.
God.' 1 Cor. viii. 6. •Jesus Christ, by whom are all things.' Eph. iii. 9. who created all things by Jesus Christ. Col. i. 16. all things were created by him and for him. Heb. i. 2. - by whom also he made the worlds,' whence it is said, v. 10, thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth;' on which point more will be said in the seventh Chapter, on the Creation.
All these passages prove the existence of the Son before the world was made, but they conclude nothing respecting his generation from all eternity. The other texts which are produced relate only to his metaphorical generation, that is, to his resuscitation from the dead, or to his unction to the mediatorial office, according to St. Paul's own interpretation of the second Psalm : I will declare the decree ; Jebovah hath said unto me, thou art my Son ; this day have I begotten thee'-* which the apostle thus explains, Acts xiii. 32, 33. “God hath fulfilled the promise unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again ; as it is also written in the second Psalm, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.' Rom. i. 4. declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.' Hence, Col. i. 18. Rev. i. 4. the first begotten of the dead.' Heb. i. 5, speaking of the exaltation of the Son above the angels ; • for unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten
* Hear my decree, which unrevok'd shall stand;
This day have I begot whom I declare
Paradise Lost, V. 603.
thee? and again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son. Again, v. 5, 6, with reference to the priesthood of Christ ; so also Christ glorified not himself to be made an High Priest, but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee : as he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever,' &c. Further, it will be apparent from the second Psalm, that God has begotten the Son, that is, has made him a king : v. 6. • yet have I set my King upon my holy hill of Sion ;? and then in the next verse, after having anointed his King, whence the name of • Christ' is derived, he says, this day have I begotten thee."* Heb. i. 4, 5. • being made so much better than the angels, as he bath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.' No other name can be intended but that of Son, as the following verse proves : "for unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee?' The Son also declares the same of himself. John x. 35, 36. • say ye of Him whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest, because I said, I am the Son of God ?? By a similar figure of speech, though in a much lower sense, the saints are also said to be begotten of God.'t
*...... Into thee such virtue and grace
Immense I have transfus'd, that all may know
Paradise Lost, VI. 703. + Thenceforth I thought thee worth my nearer view And narrower scrutiny, that I might learn
It is evident however upon a careful comparison and examination of all these passages, and particularly from the whole of the second Psalm, that however the generation of the Son may have taken place, it arose from no natural necessity, as is generally contended, but was no less owing to the decree and will of the Father than his priesthood or kingly power, or his resuscitation from the dead. Nor does this form any objection to his bearing the title of begotten, in whatever sense that expression is to be understood, or of God's own Son,' Rom. viii. 32. For he is called the own Son of God merely because he had no other Father besides God, whence he himself said, that · God was his Father, John v. 18. For to Adam God stood less in the relation of Father, than of Creator, having only formed him from the dust of the earth ; whereas he was properly the Father of the Son made of his own substance. Yet it does not follow from hence that the Son is co-essential with the Father, for then the title of Son would be least of all applicable to him, since he who is properly the Son is not coeval with the Father, much less of the same numerical essence, otherwise the Father and the Son would be one person; nor did the Father beget him from any natural necessity, but of his own free
In what degree or meaning thou art call’d
Paradise Regained, IV. 514. • The people of God, redeemed and washed with Christ's blood, and dignified with so many glorious titles of saints, and sons in the gospel. Of Reformation in England. Prose Works, I. 14.