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seek a more excellent and proper foundation of this only
Sonship; and such we may deduce from the testimony of John iii. 13. divine writ. It is evident thence that our Saviour had an vi. 62.
existence before his temporal generation; for he did descend from heaven, and was there before he did descend; (his ascension was but a returning thither, whence he had
descended at his incarnation ;) he was before St. John John i. 15. the Baptift; and therefore, as St. John confesses, was viii. 58.
worthily preferred before him. Before Abraham was born, he did subfift; (and therefore might without any absurdity affirm, that Abraham and he did see each other, might have intercourse together, as his own discourse with the Jews doth declare :) nay farther, it is plain he was
of standing, and had a glory before the world had a being: Johnxvii.5. for he prays thus; And now, Father, glorify me with thy
self with the glory which I had before the world was with thee : (glory; that is, a most honourable state of being and excellent perfection was not only designed him, but he
really had it before the world was:) and needs must it be Heb. i. fo; for by him God made the world; and himself made it: Col. i. 16, By him, saith St. Paul, were all things created, that are in Eph. iii. 9. heaven, and that are in earth, vihble and inviflle, whether
they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers : all things were created by him and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things confijt. (He did not only create anew and reform mankind, but he created all things; and among them all degrees of angels, all things
in heaven; such things as the new metaphorical creation John i. 3, did not extend unto.) All things were made by him, (or
did exist by him,) and without him there was not any thing made which was made, faith St. John: (and what could be said more expressly or clearly ?) In fine, he did exist
from all eternity : mpwtótoxoş taons xtiews; that is, bom John i. 1. before all the creation : as, In the beginning was the
Word: in the beginning; that is, before any point of time
defignable or conceivable; that is, from eternity: whence Rev. i. 17. he is truly styled, the first and the last, (ó ngãtos xał o égcaii. 8. xxii.
70s,) and Alpha and Omega, several times in St. John's Revelation; (a phrase by which God's eternity and im
ure and propere erfence and attes called God, will. 53..
mortality are usually expressed.) He had therefore a Ifa. xli. 4.
u xlviii. 12. being before his temporal generation, and that before all zliv. 6. creatures, even from eternity: therefore that being was Rev. i. 8. divine :. if no creature, if author of all creatures, if eternally subsistent, then God: that action is proper, that attribute is peculiar to God; only God can be the Creator of all things: (he that built all things is God; none but God can be eternal; he only hath immortality, and only therefore hath eternity :) he is consequently said, before he did assume the form of a servant, and became like unto Heb. iii. 4. men, to have subsisted in the form of God, and not to have 1 Tim. vi. deemed it robbery to be equal (or in equality) to God; (so Phil. ii. 6, that as he was after his incarnation truly man, partaker 7. of man's nature and properties, so before it he was truly God, partaker of the divine essence and attributes ;) and therefore he is frequently in the Scriptures called God, Vid. Rom.
viii. 33. in the most proper and highest sense :) In the beginning John i.i. was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. God is said to have been manifested in the 1 Tim. iii. flesh, justified in the Spirit, Seen of angels, preached among o. the Gentiles, believed upon in the world, assumed into glory; (of which positions it is evident that the subject is Christ; he is therefore called God.) God is also said, by St. Paul, to have purchased his Church with his own blood; who Afts xx. 28. else did that but Christ? My Lord and my God; fo St. Johnxx.28. Thomas expressed his faith in Christ, (upon his conviction,) which our Saviour accepts and approves as a proper testimony thereof. Also; We are, faith St. John, in 1 John v. the true one, (the God of truth,) in his Son Jesus Christ. 20. This he, is the true God, and life eternal, (no false, no metaphorical God, but the very true, supreme, ever-living God;) out of whom, faith St. Paul, as concerning the flesh Rom. ix. 5. (according to his humanity,) Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever; (o śrì TÁVTwy Osos,) the God over all, the supreme God, the Most High: God, blesed for ever; the ó úrayntòs, the blessed one, (which is a special and cha- Mark xiv. racteristical attribute or title of God.) Now this proper 61. appellation, with the majesty and worship due thereto, as also the title of Lord and King, King of kings, and Lord of 1 Tim. vi.
lords, with the reverence and authority attending them; likewise the most divine works of creation and providence, and judging the world; immediate working of miracles, remitting of sins; the divine attributes of wise, good, powerful, absolutely and perfe&ly; in a word, all things
that the Father hath, (according to what our Saviour afJohn avi. firmed, All things that the Father hath are mine ;) we
cannot imagine that God, who is so jealous of his honour, (who will not give his glory to another,) would communicate to any creature, how eminent foever in nature, (for the highest creature possible must however be infinitely distant from, infinitely inferior to, himself in perfection and dignity; nor can any be capable of it in nature, or in reafon and justice accept such names, such characters, such prerogatives.) Now our Saviour being thus God, and the whole tenor of our religion (with testimonies of Scrip. ture frequent and obvious) asserting but one God, therefore our Saviour hath the same essence with God; and it must be necessarily true what himself affirms; I and the
Father are one, (John x. 30.) Yet hath he not this essence Col. i. 15. of himself, but by communication; for as the Father
hath life in himself, so hath he given the Son to have life Heb. i. 3. in himself. (John v. 26.) He is the image of the invisible
God, (an image most perfectly like, because having the very same nature,) an effulgency of his glory, and a character (or perfect impression) of his substance; and this eternal communication of the same divine essence is that generation, in respect of which he is most properly and truly the only begotten Son of God. If to produce a being like, (in any kind or degree,) be to generate; to impart a being without any diffimilitude or disparity at all, perfectly the same, is the most proper generation : and that none other (beside our Saviour) was so begotten, in any manner like or comparable to this, is evident enough; for that as no reason could have taught us that our Saviour himself was thus begotten, so no revelation hath shewed us that any other was. By creation things receive a being from God infinitely different, unlike, and unequal to the being of God; and that filiation which is
grounded upon adoption and grace is wholly diverse from this : and the communication of the divine essence to the Holy Ghost doth so differ in manner from this, (though the manner be incomprehensible to us,) that it is never called generation in Scripture, and therefore we must not presume it to be fo. But so much for explication of the point. For application briefly: The confideration of this point will ferve to instruct and confirm our faith concerning the mystery of our redemption; to direct and heighten our devotion; to raise in us a due gratitude toward God; to beget hope and comfort in us. : 1. We may first hence learn whence the undertaking of Christ (his performances and his sufferings for us) become of fo great worth and efficacy. It is no wonder that God's only Son's mediation should be so acceptable and effectual with God; that his blood should be so precious 1 John i. 7. in God's fight, and his intercefsion fo prevalent with him. Heb. íz. 14. What could God' deny his own Son, the Son of his love, Col. i. 13. fo earnestly entreating in our behalf? What debts might Tios oñs not so rich a price discharge? What anger could not fo dear“ a sacrifice appease? What justice should so full a compensation not satisfy? We were not redeemed with 1 Pet. i. 18. gold; all the Indies had not been able to ransom a soul; all the hecatombs in the world cannot satisfy for a peccadillo. Well might a person so infinitely worthy and excellent be a sufficient ransom for whole worlds of miserable offenders and captives; well might his voluntary fuffering a bitter and disgraceful death countervail the deferved punishment of all mankind, if our displeasing and dishonouring a Person fo great, so good, doth aggravate our offence; the equal excellency and dignity of the Per- Pl. xlix. 7. fon submitting in our behalf to justice and performance of satisfaction, may proportionably advance the reparation and countervail the injury done. Well therefore may we believe and fay with the Apostle, Who shall criminate Rom. viü. against the elect of God? It is God that justifieth; (the 33. Son of God, as himself God, that satisfies justice for us :) Who is there that condemns ? It is Chrif that hath died for us,
2. We learn what reverence and adoration is due to John V. 23. our Saviour; and why we must honour the Son, even as
we honour the Father, (as himself hath taught us to do.) Whence it is, that, in St. John's Revelation, every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, did (and ought to) say, Blessing, honour, glory, and power be unto him that stteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever, (afcribing the same preeminency, and paying the fame veneration jointly to God Almighty, and to the Lamb his blessed Son;) why, not we men
only, (whom he hath particularly purchased and redeemPhil. ii. 9. ed,) but even all things in heaven and earth, and beneath
the earth, muft bend the knee (yield worship and observHeb. i. 6. ance) to him; when the firstbegotten is brought into the
world, it is said, Let all the angels of God worship him, We are (we see) obliged to ascribe divine glory, to yield divine adoration, to Christ: Why? Because he is the only Son of God, equal in majesty, one in essence with him.
Were he not so, it were injury to God and sacrilege to do Isa. xlii. 8. it: God would not impart his glory, we should not yield
it to another.
3. We hence may perceive the infinite goodness of
God unto us, and our obligation to love, and anfwerable Rom. v. 8. thankfulness toward him. God commendeth his love to:
ward us, faith St. Paul, in that, while we were yet finners, 1 John iv. Christ died for us: In this, faith St. John, was manifested 9, 10.
the love of God toward us, because God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him, In this is love, love indeed, admirable and inconceivable,) not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his only begotten Son to be a propitiation for our fins. Can there be imagined any equal, any like expression of kindness, of mercy, of condescension, of goodness, as for a prince (himself perfe&tly glorious and happy) freely to deliver up his own only most dearly beloved Son, (out from his bosom of glory and bliss,) to suffer most base contumelies, most grievous torments, for the welfare of his declared enemies, traitors, and rebels ? Such hath