Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

V. This nature, which they in common partake of, is un. divided; it is not parted between them, so that one has one part, and another a second, and another a third ; nor that one has a greater, and another a lesser part, which might distinguish them; but the whole fulness of the Godhead is in each.

VI. It is the personal relations, or distinctive relative properties, which belong to each Person, which distinguish them one from another; as paternity in the first Person, filiation in the second, and, spiration in the third; or more plainly, it is begetting Psal. ii. 7. which peculiarly belongs to the first, it is being

begotten, that is the personal relation, or relative property of the second Person, John i. 14. and the relative property, of the third Person is, that he is breathed by the first and second persons ; which very pertinently gives him the name of the Spirit, or breath, Job xxxiii. 4. All this will more manifestly appear, by considering each divine person particularly, his relative property, and name pertinent to it. The first Person: whose distinctive relative property is be. getting, is very pertinently called the Father : it is not what the first Person does in either of these respects, that entitles him to the character of Father in the Godhead, and distinguishes him from the others; but it is his being the Father of the second Person, or the Father of Christ, Gal. i. 1. Eph. i. 3. The second Person, whose distinctive relative Property and character is, that he is begotten, which is never

aid of the other two Persons, and so distinguishes him from them, and gives him the name of Son? That he is the Son of God, there is abundant proof; all the three Persons bear testimony to it ; the Father at the baptism and transfiguration of Christ, Matt. iii. 17. and xvii.. 5. see Psal. ii. 7. and lxxxix. 27. the Word, or Son of God himself, John xix. 7. and v. 17, 18. and x. 30. Mark xiv. 61, 62. John viii. 13— 18. and the Spirit Matt, iii. 16, 17. It is testified and acknow. ledged by angels; the good angels, Luke i. 31, 35. Heb. i. 6. evil angels, the devils, Matt. viii. 29. Mark iii. 11. Luke iv. 41. by men of all sorts ; by good men, John i. 6, 7, 33, 34, 49. Matt. xvi. 15, 16. John yi. 67. and xi. 27, Acts viii. 37.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

by bad men, Matt. xxvii. 54. So that he is on all hands acknowledged and owned to be the Son of God. The Sonship of Christ is an article of the greatest importance in the chris. tian religion ; it was declared by a voice from heaven, at the baptism of our Lord, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well plased. Matt. iii. 17. it is mentioned in the first cor fession of faith, and as the sum of it, Acts viii. 37. This was the sum and substance of the ministry of the apostle Paul, with which he first'set out, and continued in, that Christ is the Son of God, Acts ix. 20. 2 Cor. i. 19. and indeed, it is the distinguishing criterion of the christian religion, and what gives it the preference to all others. The doctrines of redemption, justification, atonement and pardon of sin, depend upon the divinity of the Person of Christ, as the son of G d. Gal. iv. 4. Rom. viii. 3, 4. Heb. i. 2, 3. 1. John i. 7. I cannot see there is any reason to object to the use of the phrase eternal gene ration, as applied to the sonship of Christ, since one divine person is said to beget Psal. ii. 7. and therefore must be a Father; and another divine person is said to be begotten, John i. 14, 18. and therefore must be a Son.

It will be granted that the phrases begetting and begotten, as attributed to the divine persons in the godhead, are used in reference to human generation; between which and divine generation there is some resemblance ; as likeness, sameness

of nature, personality, &c.; but then care must be taken to remove from our minds every thing carnal and impure; and what implies an imperfection ; as division of nature, multipli. cation of essence, priority and posteriority, motion, mutation, alteration, corruption, diminution, cessation from operation, &c. What is objected in a modest and decent way may be attended to; the chief objections that I have met with are, that the sonship of Christ by generation makes him to be later than the Father, to be dependent on him, and subordi. nate to him; or in other words, that it seems to be contrary to his e ernity, independence, and equality. Let us a little conşider each of these objections. . It is urged, that he that ge

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

divine person.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

nerales must be before him that is generated; a father that begets must be before the son that is begotten by him; and putting the sonship of Christ on this foot, he cannot be co.eternal with the Father, but must have a beginning. This is the old stale hjection of Arius himself. But a little attention will set this matter in a clear light: father and son are correlates, they suppose each other; a father supposes a son, and a son supposes a father; they commence and exist together ; let a man have a first born són, as soon as he has one he becomes a father, and not before ; and his son is as early a son as he is a father. There is no priority nor posteriority, no before nor after in these relations. 11. As to the objection taken from dependence, suggesting that the doctrine of Christ's sonship by generation, is contrary to the independence of Christ as a

Christ is God of himself, though he is the son of the father; as the distinct personality of the Son of God arists from his relation to his father as such, so the distinct personality of the Father arises from his relation to his Son as such; hence the distinct personality of the one is no more dependent than the distinct pársonality of the other; and both arise from their mutual relation.' 111. As to subordination and subjection, and inequality, which it is supposed the sonship of Christ by generation implies ; it may be answered, that whatever inequality sonship may imply among men, it implies no such thing in the divine nature. There are various passages of scriptures in which Christ, as the Son of God, addresses his divine Father, without the least appearance of any subordination or subjection to him, but as his equal, as Jehovah's fellow, particularly John xvii. 24. Calovius has collected out of the writings of the Socinians no less than thirteen causes, or Teasons of Christ's sonship; some of them are so weak and trifling, as not deserving to be mentioned ; and others require but little to be said to them; I shall take notice of some of the principal ones. 1. The say he is called the Son of God be. Cause of the great love of God to him ; but it is not his love to him that is the foundation and cause of relation to him ; there

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

ultipli

, ration,

ulation

may be

th are

to be

bord Tary to TC COD

ar

may be great love where there is no such relation; Jonathan loved David as his own soul; but this strong love bore to him, did not make him nor denominate him his son. On the other hand, there may be relation and not love; a father may not lore his own son. 11. Sometimes they ascribe the sonship of Christ to his likeness of God. But the reason why Christ is called the son of God, is not because he is like him, but he is like him because he is his son ; of the same nature and es. sence with him.' III. At other times they tell us he is the son of God by adoption; of which the scriptures give not the least hint. To which may be objected, that Christ is God's own son, who ever adopts an own son? besides, Christ is the be. gotten son of God; and if begotten, then not adopted; if he was his son by adoption, he could not be said to be his only son, since he has many adopted ones. iv. The miraculous conception and birth of Christ, or his wonderful incarnation, is assigned as the reason of his sonship; this is founded on Luke i. 35. that holy Thing that shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God. Now let it be observed, that the angel does not say the holy Thing born of the virgin should be, but should be called the Son of God; the angel does not predict that Christ should be called the Son of God, because of his miraculous birth ; for either he was to call himself so, or others were to call him so, for this reason, which neither have been; or else the angel's prediction must be false, which canpot be admitted,

, The reasons why Christ cannot be the Son of God, on account of his wonderful incarnation are the following:-1. If 80, then the holy Spirit must be the Father of Christ; but the Father of Christ is, in many places, distinguished from the Spirit, and therefore cannot be the same, John xiv. 16, 17, 26. and xv. 26. To which may be added, that the Spirit is called the Spirit of the Son, Gal. iv. 6. whereas, if this was the case, rather the Son should be called the Son of the Spirit. 2. If the incarnation of Christ is the cause of his divine sonship then there was no God the Father of Christ under the Old

[ocr errors]

Testament; but God existed as the Father of Christ, before the foundation of the world; for so early as such he blessed his people, and chose them in Christ, Eph. j. 3, 4. 3. If Christ was the Son of God with respect to his human nature only, the distinctive phrase according to the flesh, when used in speaking of him, would be quite impertinent; for it is never said of any mere man, that he is the son of such an one according to the flesh, Rom. i. 4. and ix. 5. 4. The incarnation of Christ is not the reason of his being the Son of God, but the manifestation of him as such, 1 John i. 1, 2. In the fulness of time God sent forth his Son for what? not to be made a Son. 6. It is certain that Christ existed, as the Son of God, before his incarnation ; and is spoken of in the Old Testament as such, Dan. iii. 25. Ezek. xxi. 10. Prov. xxx. 4. Heb. vii. 3. 6. If Christ is only the Son of God as he was man, and so called because made man, then he would be in no other class of sonship than creatures be. v. Another cause or reason assigned by the Socinians why Christ is called the Son of God, is his resurrection from the dead ; which cannot be the true reason of it; because-1. He was the Son of God before ; as has been proved, and they themselves acknowledge ; for if he was the Son of God, through his incarnation, as they say, though wrongly, then before his resurrection; and so not on that account.--2. If he was the son of God on that account, he must beget himself, for he raised himself from the dead, John ii. 19. and x. 18.3. If so, his sonship must be metaphorical and figurative, and not proper ; whereas, he is often called God's own son, Rom. viii. S, 32.-4. On this account he cannot be called the only begotten son of God, since many of the saints rose with him at his resurrection ; and all men will be raised at the last day.-5. If the resurrection of the dead entitles to sonship, then wicked men would be the sons of God; since there will be a resurrection of the unjust as well as of the just, Dap. xii. 2.–6. The resurrection of Christ from the dead, is only a manifestation of his Sonship; he was declared to be the Son of God with power, by the resurrection

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »