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personal distinction between the Father and the Son is intimated in the following context, by the distinct personal acts which are ascribed to them. Of Christ it is said that he made himself of no reputation: of the it Father, it is said, that he highly exalted him. Of the Son it is said, that he took upon him the form of a ser. O vant: of the Father, that he hath given him a namet above every name.
Of the Son it is written, that he c became obedient: but it is testified of the Father, that is he hath exalted him to such honours, that at his name ti every knee should bow, and every tongue confess that S he is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Thus by much in illustration of the distinction between God in and Christ.
The second doctrine which we proposed to illusof trate was, that Christ in his person is nearly related T unto God. It cannot be denied that all the parti.co culars, mentioned in illustration of the first doctrinal proposition, are so many proofs of this. For if the dis.be tinction between God and Christ be such as we have hi said, it unavoidably follows, that they are nearly relat-se ed to one another. Being distinguished by their oro der, their names, their mutual delight, their agency in 1 the work of redemption, and their personal actions towards one another, in bringing it to a close, a most inti. at mate relation cannot but subsist between them. This 41 relation we shall consider as represented in scripture A. under the following views.
1st. Our Lord Jesus Christ is so nearly related unto ! God that he is his Son. He is so called, not on account of creation, as are angels, Job xxxviii
. 7. and Adam, Luke iii. ult. For his goings forth were oft old, from the days of eternity, Mic. v. 2. Nor is het! so denominated from his incarnation only. For thereby he became the Son of Adam, Luke üii. 23, 38. the Son of man, as he is often called in the New Testa- 0 ment, Matt. xvi. 13. chap. xxvi. 24, 64. Son of God, he was made of a woman, Gal. iv. 4. ac. cording to the first intimation concerning him, bearing
that he should be the seed of the woman, Gen. iii. 15. Instead of becoming the Son of God by incarnation, he thereby took upon him the form of a servant.
a True it is, that the angel, in solving Mary's doubts, told her, “ the Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God,” Luke i. 35. But the true sense is, that that holy thing born of her, being united to the person of the Son, should therefore be called the
Son of God. Christ's human nature never subsisting - by itself, as is the case with other men, but in personal
union with the Son, was therefore called the Son of God. Accordingly the angel in the 32d verse, speaks of him both as the Son of the Highest, and as the son of David, i. e, as the apostle expresseth it, Rom. i. 3. The Son of God was made of the seed of David according to the flesh.
It must be granted that the Father prepared him a body, Heb. x. 5. But were there no other reason of his Sonship than that, he would be a son in no higher a · sense than Adam, whose body he formed of the dust
of the ground. It deserves our attention that the two titles mentioned by the angel, “ that holy thing, and the Son of God," seem to refer to the two clauses immedi. ately preceding:“ the Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee." According to this view of the passage, the connection stands thus: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, therefore that which shall be born of thee, shall be a holy thing; and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee, therefore, also that holy thing shall be called the Son of God. By the power of the Highest may therefore be meant, the almighty agency of God the Father, in preparing a body for his Son. Compare the angel's words, verse 32d. " He shall be called the Son of the Highest.” It can scarcely be denied that the Highest, verse 35th, signifies the same person as in verse 32d, viz. God the Father. Our Saviour is called the Son of the Highest there, and the Son of God
here. Hence the inference is, that God the Father is meant in both. For whose Son is Christ? Why, not the Son of the Holy Ghost, as some seem to insi. nuate, but of God the Father. For as in the Trinity there is but one Son, so but one Father *
But to go on, the relation of Sonship which our Lord bears unto the Father, is not founded on his resurrection from the dead, as Socinians will have it. It cannot be denied that in scripture language, the resurrection is mentioned under the metaphor of a birth. So Christ is called the first-born from the dead, Col. i. 18. and the first-begotten of the dead, Rev. i. 5. Hence also it is, that the saints are called the children of God, being the chil. dren of the resurrection, Luke xx. 36. But as they are certainly his children before their resurrection, so the Saviour was the Son of God before he was raised from the dead. It is not unusual in scripture to say that a thing is, when it is only evidenced or proved to be, 2 Cor. xii. 9. James ii. 22. And it is in this sense that we are to understand these words in Psalm ü. 7. “ Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee,” i.e. this day, this thy resurrection-day, I have given proof that I have begotten thee. So, Rom. i. 3. the apostle having called Jesus Christ the Son of God, immediately adds, that he was declared to be the Son of God, by the resurrection from the dead. His resurrection therefore did not constitute him a Son, it only evinced that he was truly so.
But further still, our Lord Jesus Christ is not the Son of God by office. He does not bear that name merely because he is the Messiah.
For if so, his sonship would not be necessary, but adventitious. The salvation of sinners, depended merely on the good pleasure of God, and therefore so did the mission of Christ. Now, as it was possible the former might never have been, so was it, respecting the latter.
* The great Charnock, takes the Highest in vesse 35:h. fo: Cod the Father. Vol. 2, p. 199.
And at this rate the Sonship of Christ, would only be an adventitious relation, as that of creator, governor, or preserver. If God had not given being to an universe, these relations he had never sustained; and if Christ's Messiahship be the same with his Sonship, it as necessarily follows, that if sinners had not been redeemed, he had never been a Son. And if this be true, it also follows, that filiation does not constitute the per. sonality of the second subsistent in the Godhead, nor paternity that of the first. And thus the names Father and Son, by which they are denominated in holy scripture, would not intimate the natural and necessary relations subsisting between them, but only such as presupposed the redemption of mankind: the one being called a Father to the other, because he chose and sent him to be their Saviour; and the other a Son to him, as being chosen and sent by him. This doctrine, however, is inadmissible, according to the scripture representation of the matter. There the Sonship and office of Christ, are uniformly mentioned, as distinct things. Nathaniel's confession runs, " Rabbi, thou art the Son of God, thou art the King of Israel," John i. 49. He confesses not one thing but two, viz. that Christ was the Son of God, and next that he was the King of Israel; the former by nature, the latter by office. In respect of the one, he is said to be begotten; as to the other anointed. Whether the faithful Israelite had a view to the second Psalm, I shall not say, but certain it is, that there our Lord is mentioned under both characters, the Son, and the anointed of God, verse 1, 6, 7, 12.
The distinction, in Nathaniel's confession is equally kept up in that of Peter. Our Saviour having interrogated the disciples, “ Whom say ye that I am?” Peter in their name immediately answers, “ Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God,” Matt. xvi. 16. Or as it is elsewhere expressed, “ We believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God,” John vi. 69. In the same strain runs the contession of the Ethiopian Eumuch, Acts viii. 37. and the doctrine of Paul, soon as
he began to preach, Acts ix. 20. That our Saviour's Sonship is distinct from his office, appears from his well known words, John. iii. 17.“ God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Here it is obvious that he who was given, was previously a Son. He was not given to be a Son and therefore a Son; but a Son prior to his being given; a Son, though he never had been given. The love celebrated here appears from the previous and intimate relation subsisting between the giver and the gift. The one was the Father, the other his only begotten Son. But once suppose that our Lord was a son by office only, and a sable veil is thrown over redeeming love. For then the matter comes to this, one person in the Godhead so loved the world, that he gave another, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life. But taking the words in the sense which they naturally convey, the love of God appears in the strongest light. He had but one Son, yet him he gave. Notwithstanding the near, the natural, the necessary relation, which he bore unto him, yet him he spared not, but delivered him up for us all, Rom. viii. 32.
Of this doctrine we have a faint illustration in Abraham's offering up his son, his only son Isaac, whom he so dearly loved. Isaac was his son previous to his laying him upon the altar. The miracle of love to God consists ed in this, that to him the Patriarch offered his own, yea, his only son. Hence, Jehovah said, “ Now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me," Gen. xxii. 12. Had not Abraham been so nearly related to Isaac, his love to God had not been so illustriously displayed. In like manner, had not the first of the adorable Three, stood in a paternal relation to the second, the love in giving him had not been so wonderful. The wonder is, that God gave his only begotten Son: sent him forth made of a woman, made under the law, Gal. iv. 4. Having sent servants in succession, last of all, he sent his Son, Matt. xxi. 37. That our Lord was not a Son by office, is