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known as the Son of God. In this sense, he was " the eternal Son of God." But the actual event, noted in this Psalm as the only ground of Christ's Filiation, was then only in decree. Ascertain therefore, when and how it was fulfilled; and the true origin of the Sonship is ascertained. But we find it clearly ascertained when, and how it was fulfilled. It was not at some period before the foundation of the world. It was not in the ancient times of the Old Testament. It was when the fulness of time was come for the Messiah to appear. The text is applied by the Holy Ghost, to the time and manner of Christ's coming in the flesh; or his miraculous conception; to his induction into his office, as the Prophet, and especially the High Priest of his people; and to his resurrection from the dead, and exaltation to glory. To the first it was applied, as in a sense literally fulfilled; and therefore in a sense which exhibits the primary reason of the Mediator's being called, the Son of God. And to the two other occasions above hinted, the noted text in the second Psalm is applied, as in a figurative sense fulfilled. We find the humanity of Christ begotten, at the time of his coming in the flesh. We also find the Person of the Mediator represented as begotten, by induction into his public character, especially as High Priest. And we find him represented as “ begotten from the dead," and to his inheritance in glory, when he passed from his humiliation, to his exaltation. i
Where the character, relation and circumstances of father and son are perfect, the relation of son involves the three ideas of generation, filial obedience, and inheritance. The first is essential to a literal son. And the second is involved, where the character and circumstances are pere
fect. Such a son will certainly obey his father. This is essential to the filial heart, and the perfect filial character. And inheriting the father's property occurs to the mind, with no less force, as connected with the relation of a son, when character and circumstances are perfect. And to these three points, relative to Christ, the Holy Ghost clearly applies the prediction of God's begetting his Son. Let these three points be distinctly noted.
1. God miraculously occasioned the conception of the humanity of Christ. He thus fulfilled the prediction in the second Psalm. And hence Christ is the Son of God. This is the primary, the original ground of Christ's Sonship; as is fully decided by the Angel Gabriel in hisinterview with Mary. Before I note this interview, I shall adduce one preceding scriptural testimony; that the language of Gabriel may be better understood. The first sacred passage, where the relation of Father and Son between two of the Persons in the Trinity is noticed, is in 2 Sam. ii. 14. “ I will be his Father, and he shall be my Son." This is repeated in 1 Chron. xxii, 10. « He shall build an house for my name, and he shall be my Son, and I will be his Father.” This was spoken primarily of the son of David. It related typically to Solomon; but really to Christ. Hence the apostle, in his first chapter to the Hebrews, when he was adducing various sacred passages from the Old Testament, to ascertain the character of Christ, quotes this passage ; verse 5; 6 And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son." Upon this text let it be noted,
When God spake these words to David, it was a prediction of an event then future, as it related to Christ, as much as it was in relation to Solomon.
The time should come when God would be the Father of Christ, and Christ should be God's Son. No indication is here found that God was at that time the literal Father of the Logos then in heaven. There is no such indication of a derivation of Christ's Divinity from God. Yea, its being predicted as a future event, that such a relation should exist, implied that no such relation did then exist.
The Greek of this quotation from Samuel is such as well to accord with the idea, that the relation of Father and Son, between these persons in the Trinity, was to be a constituted relation at a time then future. The quotation is in the words of the Septuagint, which translation the Holy Ghost here, and often sanctioned by quoting it. And a literal translation of the Greek text is, as follows: “I will be to him (Christ) for a Father; and he shall be to me for a Son."* This phraseology, no doubt, gives the true sense of Christ's filiation ; and is different from what would most naturally express the relation of Father and Son, had this relation been then actually in existence; or the Divinity of Christ had been derived as a Son from God.
I now proceed to note the interview of Gabriel with Mary. Luke i. 31-35. “And behold 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 forever : 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
** Ego essomai auto eis Patera ; kai autos estai moi eis huion."
Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the - Highest shall overshadow. thee; therefore, also,
that Holy thing, that shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God." We may believe Gabriel had in view here the noted prediction in the second Psalm ; “ 'Thou art my Son ; to day have I begotten thee." His language with the virgin is a comment upon this very passage. As though he had said, The time has now arrived when God is going to fulfil upon you, the most highly favored one among women, this his ancient prediction, relative to the Messiah. The first passage in the New Testament decides this point, in these words; 6. The book of the generation of Jesus Christ.”— q.d. I am now introducing the history of God's fulfilment of the ancient prediction relative to his begetting his Son : Upon which he proceeds to note the miraculous conception, as the first and essen tial thing in “ the generation of Jesus Christ.”
Upon the words of Gabriel, in his interview with Mary, let the following things be noted :
If Christ in his divine nature were literally the Son of God, and men ought thus to believe ;why was not direct information here given, that the Person then in heaven, and who was about to condescend to be born of Mary, was the Son of God? Why is it said only, that the holy thing to be born of her, should be called the Son of the Highest, the Son of God ? This conversation was not calculated to impress an idea, that the Logos then in heaven was the Son of God, as being derived from · him ; but that the time was then at hand, when. this relation of Father and Son should be actually formed. God was now about to be to the divine Person, who had engaged to become a Mediator, for a Father ; and this divine Person was about to be to this Father, for a Son.
The Angel assigns the primary reason, why the Logos appearing in the flesh should be called the Son of God. - The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also, that holy thing that shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” What occasion, or right, has man to inquire for any reason anterior to the one so naturally assigned here by the Angel, as the origin of the Sonship of Christ ? Does not the heavenly Agent assign the primary and true ground of his Filiation? Who shall dare to assign an essential ground of Christ's Sonship anterior to this ; and call on men to receive such a sentiment as an important article of the Christian faith? One might think that if God would send an Angel from heaven, to give express information of the origin of Christ's Filiation, it might be sufficient ; that man might confide in a point so decided ; and that he would not dare to call on others to believe in an anterior ground of Christ's Filiation. “ Who has been God's counsellor, or taught him wisdom ?" If it were a duty to believe in such an anterior giound of Sonship in Christ, the words of the Angel to Mary are sadly calculated to mislead ; and man would need to be cautioned against receiving them in their most evident import.
It was just now hinted, that in the beginning of the New Testament, we learn the sense of the noted passage, Psalm ii. 7, relative to Christ's being begotten of God. Matt. i. 1 ; “ The book of the generation of Jesus Christ.”-i. e. The book in which the true sense of Christ's being begotten of God, is unfolded. Here then, surely, we must look, to find the correct view of his divine generation. But what do we here find ?-an account of the generation of Christ's divine nature, before the