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Why Christ is emphatically fțiled the font of man, by way of distinction from all other fons of men, and why he is alike honorably distinguished by that high title, the fơn of God, from us, his disciples, who are only: termed sons' of God, I have before explained, and therefore shall only here add, that the figure of fpeech applyed to Christ, -in Heb. i. 5.: 'I will be to him å father, and he thall be to me a fon," is in fufficient to prove, that God was the father of Christ, by the miraculous conception of Mary, without the natural inftrùmentality of Jofeph; else we might, with 'equal truth, affirm, that these' mifrepresented Words of the Old Testament, which, in fact, are spoken of Solomon, in 2 Sam. vii. 14. and in 1 Chron. xxii. 10. will support us in afferting that God was the father of Solomon, by the miraculous conception of Baththeba, without the natural instrumentality of David. However, no one disputes that David was the father of Solomon, notwithstanding God declares to David, by the mouth of his prophet Nathan, • I will be his father, and he mall be my son. 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 Teftament; 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 affiduoully 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 descendent of Solo: mon and David, was the object of God's particular favor, in a much higher degree ihan Solomon, or any other man, ever was, being the Meffiah, or the anointed of God; to publish his most merciful and glorious scheme of pardon to mankind, for their past fins, and the promise of eternaldife and happiness, on the terms of their repentance, their faith in Jesus, as the Mesfiah, and theit: future moral obedience, and under God their king and judge, he is diftinguished by the glorious appellation of • 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 fons 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 fupernaturally depositing the vivifying principles of a man in the womb of a woman; and, as he is therein described as “a Man of forrows,' and, moreover, repeatedly represented in the New Testament as a *man, the son of man, and the son of Joseph;' I 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
of David, to be no parts of the true Gofpel.
It is a matter worthy of inquiry to trace the rise and progress of the present canon of the New Testament; but as many are better qualified, and more inclined to engage in this laborious undertaking than myself, and poffeís 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 evidert, that these declarations, or Gospel-accounts, were not inspired writ. ings, but merely narratives of matters of fact, which the several compilers had received from the apostles themselves. Nor does Luke himself give us to understand,
that he wrote his Gospel under the immc. diate 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 fame apoftolic
Again, as Luke was the infeparable afsociate of the great itinerary preacher to the Gentiles, the inspired Paul, who received the Gospel by immediate revelation from Jesus Christ himself, and who carefully disringuishes between his speaking from himself, and his speaking from zhe 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, intitled • 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, demon