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« The Lord possessed me in the the divine, original dignity of his beginning of his ways ; before nature, the passage would be a his works of old. I was set up | tautology. That the word Mesfrom everlasting, from the be siah in the Hebrew, is of the ginning, before ever the earth | same import with Christ in the was.” According to the well | Greek, is clear from John i, 41. known idiom of the Hebrew “We have found the Messiah, language, the words rendered | which is, being interpreted, the possessed, and brought forth, Christ.” But if we consider the plainly imply generation. That term Son of God, as expressing this generation is eternal, is far. only the Messiah's office, withther manifest from Isa. liii. 8. | out any reference to the original « Who shall declare his genera- | dignity of his nature, will it not tion.” And Mic. v. 2. “Whose follow that when Paul preached goings forth have been from of Christ in the synagogue, that he old, from everlasting." Point- / is the Son of God, it only meant ing not barely to simple exis- that he preached that Christ tence, but to the date of his Son was Christ, or the Messiah was ship. It seems, therefore, plain, the Messiah ? And Peter's imthat the name and title Son of portant confession, “ Thou art God, Only begotten Son, &c. | Christ, the Son of the living are terms used, not so much to God,” will be no more than telpoint to the Messiah's office, as ling, that Christ was Christ. to express the divine dignity of And the disciples profession of him who was invested with it, faith, “We believe and are sure, and who humbled himself, that that thou art Christ, the Son of he might become the author of the living God," will be only eternal salvation to all them that saying, thou art Christ the obey him. He was not called | Christ. Such unmeaning tauthe Son of God because he was tologies must not be charged the Messiah; but because he upon inspiration. But if we was the Son of God, he was | understand the term Son of the every way qualified to bear the living God, as pointing out the weight of that office.
divine, original dignity of the Christ's Sonship is also dis- | person or character, who is, by tinguished from his office, and divine constitution, appointed to declared to be prior to it, in the office of the Messiah, or such passages as these : Speak-Christ, the anointed, according ing of his Father, Christ says, 1 to the literal and natural signifiJohn v. 29. “I know him, for I | cation of the term, in all lanam from him, and he hath sent guages, then the phrases are me." Being from the Father not only vastly important, but by an eternal generation, is dis very plain and intelligible. tinguished from his being sent, In this sense, it is abundantly which relates to his office. Sev evident, the Jews understood the eral places might also be men- / term, John v. 18. “Therefore tioned, in which, if we under the Jews sought the more to stand the term Son of God, kill him, because he not only either of Christ's inferior na- had broken the Sabbath, but ture, or of his office, or as ex- said also that God was his Fapressing any thing lower than ther, making himself equal with
God.” John X. 30. “I and my to reason from the less to the Father are one." Verse 33. / greater, and assert the justice “For a good work we stone of his own claim to that title, he thee not, but for plasphemy, and does it in language, asserting because that thou, being a man, his right to divinity, in the highmakest thyself God.”-Had the est sense. Observe, he founds Jews understood no more by his claim to be the Son of God this term, than merely his pro- upon three things.-. Upon fessing himself to be the Mes | his sanctification and mission insiah, in a language which laid to the world. Verse 36. i. e. no claim to proper divinity, they Upon the sanctification of his could have had no ground for a human nature, which was fitted charge of blasphemy, even if for office by a union with the they had disbelieved his preten- divine.-.2. Upon his doing the sions. Or, if their charge had works of the Father. Ver. 37. been founded on a misappre- | 3. Upon his being in the Fahension of the sense of the term, | ther, and the Father in him. here was a fair opportunity to / Ver. 38. A claim to a particirectify the mistake, by explain- pation of Deity. in the highest ing the title, which he claimed sense. So far was this from in its true sense. Or, though it correcting any mistake which be granted that our Lord did the Jews might be in about the not, at all times, explain things meaning of the title Son of to the Jews, in such a manner | God, that he admits, in the fulas to correct their obvious mis- lest manner, that sense in which takes, yet, is it not probable that they understood him. he would have done in this, as It is farther worthy of notice, he frequently' did in similar that Christ's Sonship is always , cases, i. e. explain the matter supposed, even where it has no
to his own disciples, who were, respect to his office. lie is probably, in the same mistake, never said to be made a Son if it was one. But so far from He is said to be made a priest. retracting what he had advanced, Heb. v. 4, 5, 10. He is said to or from insinuating that the be made Lord and Christ. Acts Jews did not understand him ii. 36. He is also said to be right, he goes on, farther, to raised up as a Prophet, to be set vindicate the justice of his claim as a King upon the holy hill of to be the Son of God, from his Zion, and to be raised up as a doing such works as afforded Prince and a Saviour ; but he is infallible proof of his real divini never said to be made a Son.com ty; though the Jews were, here His Sonship is always supposed, by, more and more exasperated. which, I think, shows it to be a And although in John X. 30, he divine title, expressing the esreminds the Jews, that they sential dignity of his nature, irsometimes used the term in a respective of his office. lower sense, and from thence, 1 No time could be more prourges the inconsistency of their per to exhibit Christ by a dicharge of blasphemy, seeing they vine title, than when he is held had been accustomed to use the l up to view as being entitled to term God, and Son of God in a equal honor and obedience with lower sense; yet when he comes the Father and Holy Spirit, as is
the case when baptism is admin-, ous person, who had, in general, istered in his name. But here some sublime relation to God, this is the title used. Matt. and who was also to sustain the xxviii. 19. “Go and teach all character and office of the Mes. nations, baptizing them in the siah, the Saviour of the world." name of the Father, and of the After rejecting the several other Son, and of the Holy Ghost." senses, he prefers this as being
Farther, to suppose Christ to the true meaning of the term, be called the Son of God, on ac- as it is generally used in the count of his being designated to New Testament ; for this reathe office of the Messiah, is, it son, that the doctrine of an appears to me, to fix a meaning | eternal Sonship, implying a to the title, not warranted either sameness of nature in the divine by the natural sense of the term, essence, as subsisting in Father or the use of it in Scripture. and Son, was too deep and mys. It will, I believe, be a difficult terious a doctrine, to be propos. task to mention a single instance, ed to young disciples. But in which the title, Son of God, is what this sublime relation to used to point out an extraordi- God is, which is something nary office. Angels are called different from either creation, Sons of God, because they de- adoption, angelic likeness, or a rive their beings from him by sameness of nature, we are left immediate creation, and be to guess. The above-mentioncause, as holy beings, they bear ed worthy author has not told his image ; but they are never us, and Scripture, I apprehend, so called because they are ap- | gives us no light. It is a subpointed to important offices or lime, unknown, undefined some. missions. Adam was called the thing, none knows what. How Son of God, on account of his this will help the matter, so as . immediate creation; and be- to render that article of faith lievers are called Sons of God, / less mysterious, and better adapbecause they are spiritually be- / ted to the capacities of young gotten of him, and because they disciples, I know not. Indeed are adopted into his family, and I see not what we can make of are made partakers of the heav- this glorious personage, who enly inheritance, by virtue of had, in general, some sublime their union with God's eternal relation to God, unless it be the Son; but ministers or other of | Arian notion of a super-angelfice-bearers in the church, have ic being, and so strip the Saviour never that title given them on of real divinity. So that, howaccount of their constitution in ever friendly those who adopt office. But a sense, perhaps, a | this idea of the Sonship of little different, is preferred by a Christ, may be to the real undelate learned and pious author, rived divinity of the Saviour, it whose praise is in the church- appears to me they lay themes.* After naming several sen-selves under great disadvanta-* ses in which Christ may be cal- ges in defending that doctrine; led the Son of God, he men- | for if it is but once conceded to tions this with approbation.- an Arian or Socinian, that “ The title Son of God, is used Christ's Sonship refers only to in order to point out that glori- | his human nature, or is, at best,
* Dr. Watte.
but a mere title of office, not vious to his conception in the implying real divinity, it appears womb of the virgin. He, on to me he will be able to prove this account, speaks more partibut such irresistible arguments, cularly of his divine original.-as can neither be gain-sayed | The other Evangelists, having nor withstood, that all those di- | previously written the series of vine names, Titles, Attributes, our Lord's generation accordWorks and Worship, which are ing to the flesh, he set himself in Scripture applied to Christ, to write a spiritual gospel, beand have been introduced so ginning it with the divinity of successfully in defence of the Christ. And it is probable, that, real, underived divinity of the both in his gospel and in his Saviour, are applied to him as epistle, which were written in the Son of God, and viewed extreme old age, and at periods in the relation of a Son to the not far distant from each other, Father, and are, in a manner, he had a particular view to these synonymous with that title.- heretics, who, as they denied Consequently, if the title itself Christ's real divinity, must conhas no relation to any real di-sequently deny any divine Sonvinity, other names and titles, ship. Now, it is evident, no one given to him in the relation and of the inspired writers so frecapacity of a Son, can infer none, quently gives our Lord the title and must be explained in anoth of the Son of God, The Son, by er sense, and Christ will be a
of eminence, and God's God and the great God, and only begotten Son, as this Aposeverlasting Father, by office | tle and Evangelist. The other only, and not by nature, as well Evangelists more frequently call
him the Son of Man, to point To this essay, already lon- his relation to our nature. But ger than I intended, I shall add, the titles Son of God, &c. are only this one remark more, viz. darling phrases with this AposThat errors, particularly with tle ; he uses them more than regard to the person of Christ, fifty times in his writings. But, began, at an early period, to in if these were names pointing fest the church. The Apostle
out his human nature, or are Paul tells us, that the mystery
merely titles of office, it did not of iniquity had begun to work well agree with his grand dein his days. And the Apostle sign, (which was to exhibit the John, who survived him many
red him many Messiah in his divine original) years, doubtless saw more of it. to abound with this peculiarity. That he saw much appears
But if the name and title be orifrom his epistle. Ancient his-ginally divine, nothing could bettorians, quoted by Dr. Whitbey, ter promote that design than his Mr. Lowman and others, inform so frequent use of it. And his us that St. John wrote his gos-using this name in the same pel, at the earnest desire of the connection, and as synonymous bishops of Asia, with a special with other titles unquestionably view to obviate the early he divine, puts it beyond all reasonsies of Ebion and Cerinthus, able doubt, that this was his inwho held our Lord to be a mere
tention. man, having no existence pre
as a Son.
Vol. V, No. 4,
TO THE EDITORS OF THE CON- / proper to notice, that there is NECTICUT EVANGELICAL MA- something vague and of uncerGAZINE.
tain meaning, in that part of the
question, which is proposed, as Gentlemen,
if it were indisputable, “Since WILL you please to fur. God is always found of them nish your readers with an an- | that seek him not.” There swer to the following question : | seems to be, in this expression, « Since God is always found of | a reference to a passage of them that seek him not, what piro- holy scripture, found in Isaiah priety is there in directing sin | Ixv. 1. and quoted by the Aposners to seek him first ?”
tle, Rom. x. 20. “ I am found F. C. of them that sought me not.”—
But then these words are imme
diately preceded by the followANSWER.
ing, “I am sought of them that THE expression, “ Seek ye asked not after me.” Perhaps
1 the Lord," and directions the sentiment taken for granted to the same effect, are often | in the question, is very differused in the scriptures. They ent from the scripture, to which imply an exhortation or com it seems to refer, tho' the exmand, calling us to search, with pression is nearly the same.cordiality and diligence, into the The text, as used by Isaiah, and glorious nature and perfection quoted by Paul, means no more, of God, as they are revealed in than that the heathen nations his word and works. They shall be brought into the fold of imply a serious inquiry, from Christ, and that nations, which a loyal heart, into the duties | in past ages, had not sought the which God requires of man- | Lord, should seek after him and diligent endeavors, after that find him. Besides, this is spospiritual acquaintance with him, | ken of in the text, as out of the which consists in having the usual course of divine adminissame spirit, and in holding com-trations. It does not mean, that munion with him in the Holy | people find out the perfections Ghost-application to him, and of God, without inquiry ; or dependence on him, for holiness, 1 his will, without seeking to know pardon, comfort and an inheri- | it, or that they obtain the other tance in glory-and desires to blessings, such as growth in honor God, and promote his grace, joy in God, and the comcause in the world. In this way forts of the Holy Ghost, without the directions of the word of asking for them; but that naGod, and the examples of his tions, which had not known nor people, recorded for our use, regarded these things, should teach us to seek the Lord.- diligently seek them and find This, if it were necessary in this them. place, might be abundantly provo! We are also taught in the ed.
scriptures, by precept, promise, This being the meaning of threatening and example, that the directions to seek the Lord, men find, in consequence of so often repeated to us in the seeking the Lord; and that scriptures, it may not be im-I there is an inseparable connec