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Why Christ is emphatically stiled. the.son of man, by way of distinction from all other sons of men, and why he is alike honorably distinguished by that high title, the son of God, from us, his disciples, who are only termed sons of God, I> have before explained, and therefore mall only heft add, that the figure of speedh applyecs-to Christ, in Heb. i. 5. 'I will be to him a -father, > and he shall be to the a son,' is <ih» sufficient to <prove, that Got! was the father of Christ, by the miraculous cdnceptlon'jof Mary, 'without the natural instrumentality of Joseph; : else we.! might, with.'equal truth, affirm,- that these1 misrepresehte'3 'words of the Old Testament,, which, iA fact, are spoken of Solorriorr, Jlri?::2'Sam1.1 vii. 14. and in 1 Chrori. xxii. io.: will support us in asserting that God was the father of Solomon, by the miraculous conception of Bathsheba, without the natural instrumentality of David. However, no one disputes that David was the father of Solomoa, notwithstanding God declares to David, by the mouth of his prophet Nathan, 'I will be his father, and he shall be my son.1 By parity of reason, the pa
rental relationship of Joseph to Jesus would be no less indisputable, if the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews had not erred in his application of the aforesaid passage of the Old Testament to Jesus. In short, this phrase, in the stile of the Old Testaments means no more than that God Would take Solomon into his immediate Care and protection, and bestow signal marks of his favor upon him,, in like manner as a good father assiduously promotes the welfare of his son, and that God fulfilled his promise in this respect, the long and remarkably flourishing reign of Solomon exhibits one Continued proof.
Now; as Jesus, the descendant of Solomon and David; was the object of God's particular favor, in a much higher degree than Solomon, or any other man, ever was, being the Messiah, or the anointed of God; to publish his most merciful and glorious scheme of pardon to mankind, for their past sins; arid the promise of eternaHife and happiness, oh the terms of their repentance;their faith in Jesus, as the Messiah, and their- future moral obedience, arid under God their king and judge, he is disF tinguished tinguifhed by the glorious appellation o£ 'the beloved Son of God,' and, in the strong figurative language of the Orientalists,' the only-begotten son of God,' and emphatically, 'the son of God,' as 'being the firstborn from the dead/ Thus> agreeably to this only rational explication of such modes of speech, Christians are called 'sons of God, and heirs of the hope of eternal life.' This glorious inheritance,bestowed on them by the unmerited bounty of their Creator, intitles them to the most honorable distinction of' sons of God.'
As then it is no where pre-signified in the prophecies of the Old Testament, that God would effect the birth of the Messiah, by supernaturally depositing the vivifying principles of a man in the womb of a woman; and, as he is therein described as 'a. Man of sorrows,' and, moreover, repeatedly represented in the New Testament as a 'man, the son of man, and the son of JosephI cannot but regard him as such, and consequently, conclude the passages in Matthew and Luke, which militate against this natural representation of the great son
os ef David, to be no parts of the true Gospel*
It is a matter worthy of inquiry to trace the rise and progress of the present canon of the New Testamentbut as many are better qualified, and more inclined to engage in this laborious undertaking than myself, and possess in perfection the abilities requisite for it, to them I seriously wish to recommend the arduous and meritorious task. That there were' other Gospels, besides those, which we now receive under the names of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, is manifest from the exordium of Luke's evangelic history; 'For as much,' says he, 'as. many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things^ which are most surely believed among us, even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eye-witnesses, and ministers of the word.' Moreover, from this passage it is evident, that these declarations, or Gospel-accounts, were not inspired writings, but merely narratives of matters of fact, which the several compilers had received from the apostles themselves. Nor does Luke himself give us to understands F 2 that that he wrote his Gospel under the immediate and extraordinary inspiration of God, On the contrary* by the expression, 'it seemeth good unto me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order,' &c. he intimates that he derived the materials for his Gospel from the same apostolic source*
Again, as Luke was the inseparable associate 6f the great itinerary preacher to the Gentiles, the inspired Paul, who received the Gospel by immediate revelation from Jesus Christ himself, and who carefully distinguishes between ' his speaking from himself, and his speaking from jhe Lord,' he was completely qualified to describe the labors and travels of this apostle in particular, and accordingly gives us a very circumstantial account of them, in his treatise, irmtled 'The Acts of the Apostles.'
Having now corroborated my opinion, that Jesus was truly the son of Joseph, with arguments deduced from genuine Christian Scripture; having, in like manner, demonstrated