« FöregåendeFortsätt »
God, as he is the glorious, divine EMANUEL, --the promised Messiah and ALL-SUFFICIENT SAVIOR, chosen, anointed, and sent of God, for the SALVATION of men. Here I include these three things: the excellency of the PERSON, EMANUEL, who is God and Man; his designation to the office of SAvior; and his fitness and sufficiency to finish the great work of salvation.
Before I enter upon the proof of the above proposition, I shall mention some texts where the title Son of God is given him, to point out the excellency of his person, and some others his office, which will tend to clear the terms I have used.
It is certain that Jesus Christ is called the Son of God, in a sense far superior to all others who are called his sons; because he has a nearer relation and resemblance to God; hence he is called his own Son, only begotten Son,—beloved Son,first-born,—the image of the invisible God,—and the brightness of his glory. Though all these expressions imply derivation and dependence, ideas inseparable from the common sense of the terms; yet, they also denote the excellency of the person, and his resemblance to God, with the peculiar relation and endearment he is under above all others.
The title Son of God, seems likewise to have a respect to the excellency of his person, when joined to the word Messiah or Christ, (which are the same in sense) as descriptive of the person who bore that official name.-“ Peter answered and said, thou art Christ, the Son of the living God." And the high priest, when adjuring Christ to a confession, said, " Tell us whether thou be Christ, the Son of God.” To the same purpose is that which Martha says, “ I believe that thou art Christ, the Son of God.”
There are also many texts, where the title, Son of God, has a respect to his office, as the promised Messiah, the Savior; not excluding the excellence of his person, which rendered him fit for the office he was appointed to. This is plain from what he replied to the Jews, who charged him with blasphemy for assuming the title Son of God. -“ Do ye say of him whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, thou blasphemest; because, I said, I am the Son of God?” His being sanctified and sent by the Father, he makes a sufficient ground to entitle him to the name Son of God. It is said of John the baptist, that he “saw and bare record that this is the Son of God.” Which must be meant of the promised Messiah. “ Nathaniel said, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God, thou art the king of Israel.” As the Messiah was promised as a king, the Jews looked for him in that character; and here Nathaniel owns Jesus to be the very person, Messiah the king. When Jesus asked the man whose eyes he had opened, thou believe on the Son of God?" It must mean Messiah, the Savior, for in that character only he was the object of the man's faith; which is evident from the reply he made to the man who asked him who the Son of God was? Jesus said, “ thou hast hoth seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee." When the apostle says, “ We know that the Son of God is come,” it must mean the promised Messiah, who was appointed of God the Savior of men,
It might be also observed, that there are several texts where Son of God is joined with Jesus or Christ, in which the name Son of God is put for the Messiah or Savior, and the terms Jesus or Christ do not signify character or office, but the particular name by which he was known among the Jews as a man, and distinguished from other men. Hence the Ethiopian eunuch says, “ I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God;” and Luke tells us, that Paul“ preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.” That is, that the man commonly called Jesus, is the promised Messiah, the Savior. The sense of such texts is the more evident, if it is considered that the great question betwixt the Jews and Christians, was not concerning the proper Deity of our Savior, or whether Jesus of Nazareth was the true and eternal God; but whether he was the promised Messiah, the Savior of the world. But I only hint these things here, as I shall have occasion to consider some of them more fully afterwards. This much was necessary to free the terms from ambiguity, and distinguish the ideas included in that sense, which I think the title, Son of God, is applied to Jesus Christ in scripture.
I shall next endeavor to prove, by a number of particular arguments, that it is the true sense and meaning, which our Savior and the sacred writers designed to convey to christian disciples in all ages: and the only sense in which it is possible for them to understand that phrase, as applied to Christ, agreeable to the scope of revelation, or their own spiritual edification.
1. The first argument in favor of this sense of Christ's sonship may be taken from the various ideas of sonship mentioned above. The common notion of Christ being a Son, as he is God, does not agree with any sense sonship is taken in among men, nor can any idea that revelation affords, be justly connected therewith; except that one of human sonship be insisted on, that a son is of the same nature with his father, which in this case, would make two Gods, as we shall see afterwards, But when we consider Christ in his character as
Emanuel, the promised Messiah, the sent of God, and Savior of men, engaged in the great work of their salvation, there is not one idea of sonship, that I can remember, either in scripture, or the common acceptation of mankind, but what is perfectly reconcileable to him as the Son of God. But as it would be too prolix to consider every idea of sonship in this light, I shall only take two or three, which will serve as a key for all the rest.
Derivation is one idea of sonship, which is necessarily implied in his being begotten of God, and his first-born. And with respect to the offices he bears, the scriptures plainly shew that they are derived from God, as he was chosen, appointed, sent, and authorized by God.
Likeness, is another idea of sonship, in which respect he is the image of God,—the only medium of all the knowledge we can have of God; but this idea is entirely contined to his complex character, as we shall see afterwards.
Subordination, dependence, and submission, are manifest in his character as a son. Hence he says, “ The Father is greater than 1,-1 live by the Father,—the Son can do nothing of himself;--I must be about my Father's business, the Father who sent me, he doth the works." All these prove his character to be inferior as a Son.
The son is a distinct individual being from the father. This idea is just, when applied to Christ. in his economical character as a Son, which is clear from his praying to the Father,--and saying, “ I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father that sent me. Not my will, but thine be done." The will of God is but one, yet here are two wills, distinct from each other, mentioned. If the will of the Father, be the will of God, and the will of the Son, distinct from the Father's, the Son must be a distinct being from the Father, or he could not have a distinct will and consciousness from the Father, as the above expressions of his plainly prove he has. Now, we must either conclude that he is a Son, in an economical sense, in which it is necessary for him to have a distinct will; or, we must maintain that there are two Gods, each
possessed of distinct powers of willing and consciousness,
Another scriptural idea of sonship, is one that
up his father's house. We can be in no doubt in what sense this is applicable to the Son of God, as it must be limited to his official character as the Savior of men.
God tells David, by Nathan, “ I will set up thy seed after thee,—and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for
I will be his father, and he shall be my son.” The whole of this undoubtedly refers to the promised seed of David; and whatever respect it had to Solomon, the particulars mentioned, are strictly true of none but the Son of God, who is also called the son and seed of David, whose kingdom and reign is for ever. Of this we are absolutely certain, since the apostle hath applied the words. expressly to the Son of God, when proving his character to be more excellent than the angels, because God had said of him, “ I will be his Father, and he shall be my Son."
Son." That is him, of whom it was said, “ He shall build a house for my name,” &c. A short, but clear description of the distinct parts the Father and Son sustain in the economy of redemption.
The Son of God rears such a superstructure, in such a way, and with such materials, as shall eter