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length oftime; it begins to operate at his very first entrance on the as a savour of death unto deathe scenes of his public ministry,
« Wist ye not,” says he, “ that I Wisdom dependeth less upon must be about my Father's busi, positive knowledge, than upon ness?" Through all his life on intelligent acquiescence in pega earth we find him insisting conţi. tive. . Ilan in
nually upon his appropriate right
to this title and character: This God once wrought the strange alsó formed the principal accusa miracle of causing a brute to speak tion of his enemies, and this was with the human voice. Wherefore? the imputed cause for which he To forbid the madness of a man was condemned to death: “ bewho was pursuing gain in pre cause he made himself the Son of ference to the glory of God. . God." The name Messiah, or
the Christ, was indeed considered, He that hath been led by the if not the same as the Son of God, Holy Spirit to the foot of the cross, yet as including the divine characthough he see not the crown, yet ter; and the Jews looked for him cannot be allured to leave it for as such before he came, though, a false cross, though on it the after his coming, it became necescrown may be very conspicuous." sary, in defence of their rejection
: : i of him, to deny it. • The world is pretty well filled by It is evident, therefore, that this two sorts of fools :- those who are name must belong to Jesus Christ, poisoned by prosperity, and those in a sense far beyond that in which who will learn nothing by adver- it is applicable to any one beside, sitv. rimonio
, even the highest angels round the sus pliantina Lab i n Ling throne. Which is most conspicuous, the
Angels are called sons of God by misery of man, or his insensibility?
creation, and by likeness. Be
ilievers are called sons of God by Suffering man needs an expe
adoption and grace, because chorienced sufferer for his guide.
PA sen to the privilege, and begotten
A guilty sufferer, with the prospect
again by the Spirit of God; forn.
s ed like unto their elder brother ; of infinite and never-ending woe before him, needs an almighty
or resembling their heavenly Fa. Friend in his guide ; and how gra
ther in disposition and in actions, ciously is such an one presented!
But Jesus Christ is the only “ It became him for whom are all
Son, the only begotten of the Fa
ther; and when he claims the chathings, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory,
racter he calls God ιδιον τον πατερα, to make the Captain of their sal.
his own proper Faiher. (John, y. vation perfect through sufferings."
» 18.) He is, then, a Son equal : with the Father.
Different reasons have been given
for his bearing and claiming such AN ESSAY ON THE SON OF GOD.
a name as this. Let us enter upon John, i. 34.
the consideration of so momentous - The name Son of God is one a subject with religious reverence of the most important and com- and holy awe. Spirit of Jesus ! prehensive that the Redeemer enlighten our minds, and testify of bears, and was claimed with pecu- his true character to us, while se.
hiar authority by himself when riously and candidiy pursuing the : upon earth. - When found among inquiry.. the doctors disputing in the temple, Our views of the subject shall be
CHRIST. GUARD. Vol. VI.
stated as shortly as possible, that sists upon his right to the characa we may attend to the inferences ters and they upon the blasphemy which natdrally result from this of such a claim. Ver. 32: Many character, so very important for good works have I showed to you the instruction and the consolation of my Father : for which of these of his people ; so suitable for the works do ye stone me? Ver. 33: confirmation of their faith, and the The Jews answered him, saying, excitement of their admiration and “ For a good work-we stone thee love of Him, whose true nature and not, but for blasphemy, and because glory their highest powers will that thou, being a mang makést never be able fully to conceive or thyself God.”. This our Lord cer. understand ! ! Probin werk tainly had doné; nor does he con. * We shall first demor.strate that tradict their views, nor; endeavour this name iinplies a union in the di- to soften down or explain away the rine nature and essence, and pen expression he had used, but justi. fect equality wiblr the Father.j Tliis fies it in, itş fullest extent, by an will be evident from the manner in appeal to the works which he per which dur Lord uses it, and the formed. This is more dirêdtlycassense in which he was understood serted again in John (v. 17,18: we to use it by the Jews. Their in- there find our Lord thus asserting
terpretatiowof his words he never his divine Sonship : My Father : contradicted, but maintained and worketh hitherto, and I work ;":
asseited even before the tribunal, therefore the Jews sought to kill till for this 'veryathing he was con- him, because he had not only brodemned to be crucified. Out of a ken the sabbath, but said also that variety of Scripture passages we God was his: Father, making himslvall select only two or three, as self equal with God (soov TW :W). sufficient for our purpose. The What follows is surely calculated first we shall allude to is in John, to confirm this idea; for, though it chap. X. At the 23d verse we find implies that as Mediator he acted our Lord walking in the temple; under a delegated authority, and -then (verse 24.) the Jews came (which was peculiarly, caléulated
round him, and said unto him, to convince and confound his ene. -How long dost thou make us to mies) under the divine and imme: doubt ? it thou be the Christ, tell diate authority of the Father ; yet - us plainly: (ver. 25), Jesus an- as he did the works of the Father, • swered them, I told you, and ye be- all the works of the Father, whatlieved not; the works that I do in spever the Father did (ver.19), (of my Father's name, they bear wit. ; which some of the most important -ness of me, &c.:-here is an express are particularly specified, which allusion made to this character. He require no less than almighty powthen goes on to intimate the im- er to perform), he must possess di. portant blessings which in this cha- vine power and ability : for none racter he gives to his people; they can do the works of God but God are his sheep, and he gives unto himself; but our Jesus does those them eternal life, &c.; they were works, therefore our Jesus is God given to him of his father (verse over all.–Again: it is evident that 29), who is greater than all, and this was the claim upon which the none is able to pluck them out of Jews fixed the charge of blasphemy, his Father's hands.. Then he adds, and for which they sought his con“ I and my Father are one." What demnation, (Matt. xxvi. 63.) The a most decisive claim to divine high priest answered and said unto power and glory! Ver. 31: The him, I adjure thee by the living Jews therefore took up stones to God, that thou tell us whether thou stone him, while our Lord still in- be the Christ, the Son of Godot
This contains an acknowledgment upon their minds, when he declared that Messiah-was expected to be to Philip, “ He that hath seen me the Son of God. (Ver. 64.) Jesus hath seen the Father.” (John, xiv. said unto him, Thou hast said: i.e. 9.) Upon such a conviction they Thou hast said what is the fact evidently acted in the whole of Again, Mark, xiv. 61-64: “ Art their conduct: appealing to him, thou the Christ, the Son of the praying to him after his resurrecBlessed ? And Jesus said, I am; tion and ascension, working mira. and ye shall see the Son of man cles in his nanie, and declaring sitting on the right hand of power, him to be “ God OVER ALL, and coming in the clouds of hea BLESSED FOR EVER.” ven. Then the high priest rent his It is most evident, then, that clothes, and said, What need we by the use of this name our Lord any further witness ? ye have himself intended to claim an equaheard the blasphemy : what think lity with the Father ; and that he ye? And they all condemned him possessed this equality might be to be guilty of death; &c.” There- proved in a variety of ways, by fore (John, xix. 6, 7), when they Scripture testimony. Without would justify their rage in the pre- this, indeed, he could not be the sence of Pilate, who had pronoun- Son of God, the only begotten of ced his innocence, “ We have a the Father, in that proper, pecu, law,” said the Jews, “ and by our liar, and appropriate sense, in law he ought to die, because he which the Lord Jesus Christ is acmade himself the Son of God." knowledged to be; for he who is But this had not been blasphemy, in so must be of the same nature and its general application, nor unless essence, and therefore must pos. he had made the claim in such a sess the same infinite and eternal manner as to imply, equality with attributes and perfections.' the Father."
. But why, then, is he denominatThis, then, was the claim of the ed a Son? Let us enter upon the Lord Jesus Christ himself; this inquiry with caution, and with that was the accusation of his enemies; holy reverence which becomes us on this was the truth which he con- a subject so deep and inexplicable, firmed by his miracles; and he ap- attending only to the word of pealed to the power of his father, truth, and relying upon the pro, displayed in those miracles, as a mised aid of his Holy Spirit, decisive. testimony corroborating Though a son is of the same na his claim. If his words had been ture with his father, yet we genemisapprehended, would he not have rally attach to the term an idea of explained himself? Would he not, interiority as to time or present auwith the pious and holy indigna- thority. This, however, cannot be
tion of St. Paul at Lystra, have in the diyine nature. None who - denied his right to any such emi- hold the divinity of the Lord Jesus nence of title or dignity? Would Christ will or can acknowledge Jię not have denied the accusation, this; for as “ the Father is God, and have cleared his character the Son is God, and the Holy from the imputation of blasphemy? Ghost is God," so " in this Trinity But he never attempted it at the none can be afore or after another; time, and has never done it since. none can be greater or less than Every thing that he said tended to another ; but the whole three Perconfirm the Jews. in such an error sons must be co-eternal together (if an error it was), and to exas- and co-equal.” It will be difficult, perate their rage. Yea, he left however, to avoid this idea of some his Apostles with the fullest im- mystical inferiority, if we conpression of such a divine charactersider the term Son as inarking out the mode of existence in the divine very inadequate representations. --essence, with any allusion to the Explanation, therefore, has been appellation among men.
added to explanation, which have : *Considering it" (1) in this light, been calculated to lead into Arian. as an essential character of the se- ism, or to the conception of some cond Person in the divine Essence, mystical inferiority or subordina. independent of the everlasting co. tion in thě Deity. But to make venant of redemption, it is gene- any inferiority or priority in Deity, rally explained and accounted for is to give up the Godhead of the by what is called the eternal gene- Lord Jesus Christ and of the Spirit ration of the Son in the Godhead; altogether. He can be no little, whereby the Son was begotten of inferior, or subordinate God, who the Father, by a mystical act of is JeHOVAH, the Self-existent, the Godhead, but that from all eter- Almighty. He must be “ equal to nity. But if so, and I am not pre- the Father as touching his God: pared to deny it, whatever this act head, though inferior to the Father might be, it is not only difficult to as touching his manhood.” It is, explain, but utterly impossible for therefore, well said by Isaac Amus to have any conception of it. brose, though he maintains the Every attempt at explanation has, .doctrine of eternal generation, “As therefore, tended only to envelope he is a Son he is the thing begotten, the subject in thicker, darkness : but not as he is God; as God he is as must always be the case when we of himself, not begotten nor pron endeavour to explain what is in its ceeding; the Godhead of the Fa. nature so far removed beyond our ther and the Son is one and the finite understanding. It has been same thing." Whether, therefore, illustrated by a comparison with any thing took place in the divine the ray of light issuing out from nature, in eternity, which may prothe body of the sun. - This, in perly be compared to human gene
deed, may be considered as the ration, in any sense whatever, or - image of nature. And as fire, light, whether the Scripture terms, of be
and air, are but one in the body of gotten, only begotten, &c. do not the sun, though distinct in pro- refer to something entirely distinot ceeding from it, and in all their from this, is a question not easily operations, we have here, no doubt, decided. The subject itself is far the most exact illustration of the beyond our researches, and it will unity of the divine nature, and the be much more suitable to our Trinity of divine Persons. But feeble apprehension to stop where how far this image justifies such Scripture declaration fails us, and an explanation as to the mode of not to seek for the explanation of existence, may admit a doubt. divine mysteries in human wisdom. -This view, also, has been further - Some, therefore, there are, who illustrated by a comparison with conceive the term Son to belong the streams issuing out of a foun: only to the appointment of the ecotain. Here the causes and the ef- nomical character of the Lord Je, fects are necessary to each other, sus Christ. But Scripture speaks and cannot exist the one without of the person of the Son as one in the other; nor can we scarcely the divine nature; there must, conceive any priority of time in therefore, be somewhat in the ditheir existence. This has, there- yine nature upon which the econofore, been considered as the just- "mical character is founded ; and est representation of the eternal from which it arose that the second generation of the Son in the God- Person alone of the blessed Trinity head. It must, however, on all was or could be set up from eversides be confessed, that these are' lasting as the Mediator between God and man. : It is evident from only-begotten of the Father, God Scripture that the whole plan of of gods, and Lord of lords. But mediation seems founded on this such feeble intellects as ours, idea, viz. that there is a ground in which never can understand, ought the divine nature, and mode of the never to be employed in explaining divine existence, for such a me- that mode. All such attempts, I diatorial relative character of the confess, appear to me unintellisecond Person as the Son of God: gible, confounding, and contradicfor, that it is applied to the relative tory, and not understood by the character of the Lord Jesus Christ writers themselves. Nor could any in many places of Scripture çan- man of the strongest intellect ever not be denied. Hence it will ap- conceive what was meant by many pear, that the Son is not the Fa. of the wisest of them. May we ther, neither the father the Son, not, then, with reverence and mo. nor is the Holy Ghost either the desty, assume the following hypoFather or the Son ; yea, that thesis ?--There is, in the unity of there is somewhat in the divine the divine nature, an essential per nature, and in the mode of exist- sonal distinction, which is entirely ence in the divine essence, which incomprehensible, and admits of renders. each of the distinct per- no name or appellation. Grounded sonal characters necessarily and upon this essential personal disalone suited to the Person which tinction, there is a suitableness for bears it ; so that the Father could those distinct offices and characters not be the Son, nor the Son the which are assumed by each inefFather, nor the Holy Ghost either fable Person in the ever blessed the Father or the Son. If it be Trinity (such as the Father, the. asked what this is, I answer, I nei. Son, and the Holy Ghost) in the ther know nor am anxious to know. covenant of redemption on behalf It is better to confess our total igno- of guilty men. Though we may, rance, than endeavour to explain therefore, doubt as to the proan unintelligible subject by terms priety of applying the terms eterequally unintelligible, and appa- nal generation and procession to rently derogatory to the necessary the Persons as in the Godhead, yet being and self-existence of the there must be in the divine EsLord Jesus Christ.
sence, though beyond our com. Without such a distinction as prehensiou as to the mode of it, a this, we run directly into Sabellian- distinction between the Father, ism, in confounding the divine Son, and Holy Ghost, analogous Persons. “But there is one Person or suitable to these relative disof the Father, another of the Son, tinctions, and upon which they are and another of the Holy Ghost :” founded. we must therefore " neither con- Upon this hypothesis the term found the Persons nor divide the Son of God will relate to the eter. substance." This, perhaps, when nal appointment to, and the assumproperly understood, is all that is ing of, the mediatorial character, meant by those who assert the by Him, who is essentially a Pereternal generation of the Son; at son in Godhead, and considered least, itis all that we can understand. as the second Person, not in the Here, also, we may observe, that order of Godhead, but in the ecorevelation is not intended to disco- nomy of the covenant; and who ver the mode of the divine exist- was set up therein, as the Scripture ence, but the covenant relations informs us, it from everlasting.'' - which the distinct Persons have as. This may, therefore, be consideri sumed in the great business of re- ed as the act of eternal generation; demption. In this sense he is the and in this sense, the Son of God