Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

. But

God in the proper and sublime sense of the word, because he is in scripture plainly distinguished from God. Now distinction always supposes diversity. No being can be distinguished from itself. And Jesus Christ being distin. guished from, and opposed to God, in a vast number of places of scripture, every one of these places ought to be considered as a plain and express denial, that he is God. We shall select a few of them, 1 Tim. v. 21. I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things &c.' Here we see God, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, mentioned together in a solemn adjuration; and yet plainly distinguished from one another, and spoken of as diffee rent and distinct beings as they really are : so that there can be no pretence for blending and confounding them, which will not argue as strongly in favour of the elect angels, as our Lord Jesus Christ. Heb. xii. 22. ye are come to mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable con. pany of angels, to the general assembly and church'of the first born which are written in heaven, to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant,' &c.

How clearly is Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant, distinguished in this passage, from God the Judge of all; who is before styled the living God. The innumerable company of angels and the spirits of just men made perfect, may just as well be supposed to be beings of the same species, as God and Jesus."

1 Tim. ii. 5. "There is one God; and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.' Here, the one God, and the one Me. diator, are contrasted in such a manner, as cannot escape the observation of any person, who thinks or reasons at all upon what he reads : and it must be attended with the greatest absurdity and confusion, to suppose the Mediator between God and men, to be in any respect that God with whom he mediates'in behalf of men, for then he must mediate with himself. Again, the words of our text contain as striking an opposition, betwixt God and our Lord Jesus Christ, as can well be imagined. This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true Go:l, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent. So that we

may save ourselves the trouble of quoting any more texts, in proof of what is so clear and evident.

Secondly. Jesus Christ is not, and cannot be the most high God, because he is the Son of God. Now God and the Son of God, are two distinct and different things. In what different senses the scriptures call Jesus the Son of God, we shall shew immediately. In general we may consider Jesus as being called the Son of God, because he is the object of the Father's peculiar complacency and re. gard : who on account of his having eminently loved righteousness and hated iniquity, is anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows. But to come to the senses in which this title of Son of God, is conferred upon Jesus. First, our Lord Jesus Christ is called the Son of God, upon account of his miraculous conception in the Virgin's womb, without the instrumentality of any human progenitor. We have this history of our Lord's wonderful conception and birth, very particularly recorded by St. Matthew and St. Luke. Matt. i. 18 to 23. Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise : when as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband being a just man (or as some render it, a merciful and compassionate man), and noť willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thonght on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear pot tơ take unto thee Mary thy wife; for that which is conceived in her, is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus; for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, behold a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son and they shall call his name Emmanuel, (which being interpreted)is God with us,

* The expression EMMANUEL, God with us, does not denotę as some have absurdly supposed, that Jesus was God; or that God was incarnate in him, which is impossible; but only that God should mani. fest himself by Jesus to his people, and should be with him in a singular and extraordinary manner, agreeably to what St. Peter says, Acts x, 38. God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost, and with power, who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppress. ed of the Devil; for God was with him.'

St. Luke is still more precise in relating the circum. stances of this transaction. Luke i. 26 to 35.

6 And in the sixth month the Angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin espous, ed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David ; and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said ; Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salų. tation this should he. And the angel said unto her, Fear not Mary, for thou has found favour with God. And be hold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb and bring forth a Son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David. And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto 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.* The miraculous conception of Jesus seems to have been alluded to, jin the first promise of the Messiah to mankind after the fall: and it is certain that St. Paul very plainly refers to it in these words, Gal. iv. 4. But when the fulness of time was come, God sent forth his Son yevojievov Ex Jurainos made of a woman, made under the law.' In this supernatural production of Jesus by the power of God which the Evangelists have re, cordel, we have a very plain and intelligible sense in which he may be called the Son of God. All mankind are produced (our first parents excepted, who were created), according to that settled law of gene- , ration, which God has established for the propagation of

* Some early Unitarians believed with our author in the doctrine of the miraculous conception, but it may be proper to apprise the reader, who may not be acquainted with the more recent state of the controversy, that this doctrine is discarded by modern Unitarians, as unauthorised by any thing actually contained in the scriptures, the

passages from Matthew and Luke, above adduced in proof, being deemed by many learned critics to be interpolations.--Ep.

mankind. But our Lord Jesus Christ was an exception to this general law. He was produced by the immediate power of God himself : and therefore on this account, may be styled not only the Son; but the only begotted Son of God: because God never formed any of his crea. tures in a similar manner.

2d. Jesus is the Son of God because he is the MESSIAH, or the CHRIST, promised and foretold by the prophets; and sanctified and set apart by the Father, for that high and honourable office. John X.-34, 35, 36. Jesús an. swered them, is it not written in your law, I said, ye are Gods ? If he called them Gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scriptures cannot be broken, say ye of him whom the Father hath sanctified and sent unto the world, thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? In this passage, our Saviour claims the title of the Son of God, only on account of the father's sanctificar tion, or his being the anointed of God; only on account of those wonderful endowments, and extraordinary quali. fications, which the Father had bestowed upon him as the great teacher and instructor of mankind; and the author of the Gospel'dispensation. The words Christ, and Son of God, were considered by the Jews, as terms of the same import and meaning: thus Matt. xvi. 16. Peter answered and said, thou art the Christ the Son of the living God.', John xii. 7, Martha says, · Lord I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world. Matt. xxvi. 63.

And the high priest said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God,

that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ the Son of God. Acts viii

. 37, And he answered and said (the Eunuch) I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God;' John XX. 31. “These (things) are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God, and that believing ye might have life through his name. These quotations make it abundantly evident, that the first followers of our Lord considered the Sonship of Jesus, and his being the Christ or anointed of God, as one and the same thing : and they seem to have laid a greater stress on this, than op any of the other senses, in which Jesus is called the Son of God. Because this sense included in it a belief of the divine mission of Jesus : and of his authority as a teacher

[ocr errors]

sent from God; and of that fulness of the spirit which dwelt in him, and whereby he performed all his miraculous works, Joha i: 32, 33, 39. And John bare record, saying, I saw the spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not; but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the spirit descending aod remain. ing on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw and bare record that this is the Son of God,'

3d. Jesus Christ is called the Son of God, on account of his resurrection from the dead, by the power of God. Rom. i. 3, 4. •Concerning his Son Jesus Christ, our Lord, which was made of the seed of David, according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.'

Our Lord was descended from the house, or family of David ; and therefore is said to be of the seed of David, according to the flesh. Although our Lord was con. ceived by the power of God, yet he took flesh of the virgin at the same time, and had a body of the same structure that other men have : but with regard to the spirit of holiness which was imparted to him without measure, he was the son of God with power; and was declared or defined to be so in a public and open manner, by his resurrection from the dead. Acts xiii. 32, 33. “And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again ; as it is also written in the second Psalm, thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.' Here, God is said to have be. gotten Jesus, because, he raised him from the dead by his almighty power. For a like reason, he is called, Rev. i. 5. The first begotten of the dead :' and Col. i. 18. “The first born from the dead.'

-4th. Jesus may be also called the Son of God, on account of his exaltation at the right hand of God, and his being appointed by God, the Judge of the living and the dead. John iii. 35. "The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all thivgs into his hands." John v. 21, 22. The Father judgeth no man; but hath committed all judgment

« AnteriorContinuar »