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Son, in relation to that then far distant event; precisely as in verse 7th, before cited, his appearing in the flesh was predicted. But no passage in this Psalm does by any means decide, that the Messiah, then in heaven, was, in his divine Person, literally the Son of God. And we find no intimation of such a thing in the Old Testament. But how can this be accounted for, if the Person of the Mediator, then in heaven, were literally the Son of God? • The two first Persons in the Godhead are, in the Old Testament, abundantly known by other titles: but never by Father and Son. They are called God, and the Lord; or God, and Jehovah; God, and Immanuel; the Lord, and his Anointed; God, and the Angel of the covenant ; God, and the Jehovah of hosts ; God, and the Captain of the Lord's hosts ; God, and the Angel of his presence; but never the Father and the Son. The exhibition of this relation was deferred to the time of Immanuel's appearing in the flesh. Then it was, that he should be made first-born. Then the infallible voice from on high should testify to the ful. filment of the decree, of God's begetting him, and owning him for a Son. These things do not seem to indicate, that a belief in an actual Sonship or derivation of the Divinity of Christ, is to be an article of the Christian faith. Had it been thus, we might expect to have found it clearly taught in the Old Testament, and that the Son of God would have been the great title, by which Christ would have been known under that dispensation.
The title of Son, under the gospel, is only one among many of the mediatory titles of Christ. And is much more frequently spoken of, under some of his other titles, than under that of the Son of God. He is called the Son of man nearly twice as often. John (who it is said wrote his gospel with a peculiar view to evince the Divinity of Christ) first calls him the Logos, the Word, who (he says) was in the beginning with God, and was God; and by whom all things were made. Why did he not here, when introducing the very Person, whose Divinity he was going to substantiate, (and did in the very first sentence assert,) give him his great and appropriate title, the Son of God, if his divine nature were actually derived ? If such a Sonship were indeed Christ's highest glory, and were to be a prime article in the Christian faith, why should we not here at least, find it to be the title, under which the Person of the Messiah is introduced ? Is it not natural to expect, that John would here give to Christ his highest title? The title here actually given by John to Christ, when he informs, that he was with God, and was God, is the same with that given to Christ, as One in the Trinity, 1 John v. 7: 6 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are One."* And the title here given is the same with that, under which Christ appears, when, as the Captain of salvation, he is riding forih upon his white horse of victory, at the battle of the great day of God Almighty, Rev. xix. 13; “ And his name is called the Word of God.”
But when this divine Logos appeared in the fiesh, then he was to be known as the Son of God. Then he was to be exhibited, as being begotten of God, and made God's first-born. Accordingly from that time he was often called the Son of God. And thus John proceeds to inform ; “ The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we ber
* The objections against the authority of this text will be considered is their place, in a future section.
held his glory, as the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” Here the writer was preparing the way to have this Logos, after he appeared in the flesh, called the Son of God, as he afterwards often calls him. He then says, “ No man hath seen God at any time ; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.* The Logos, now manifest in the flesh, and who has thus become the only begotten of God, he hath declared God. Here John gives the transition, from the Mediator's being the Logos in heaven, one with God, and really God; to his becoming God manifest in the flesh, and known as the Son of God. John, after this, often speaks of Christ as the Son of God.
These remarks will unfold the sense of some other scriptures, which, at first view, seem to imply, that Christ was known as actually the Son of God, before his incarnation.
* * No man hath seen God at any time.” This clause fur. pishes no objection against the real and proper Divinity of Jesus Christ. Pure Deity is an infinite Spirit, invisible. The Divinity of Christ, and of the Holy Ghost, as well as that of the Father, is thus: No man ever saw the Divinity of Christ, with the bodily eye. But Christ has assumed a medium, which men have literally beheld. We see not a human soul. But we see a mon by the medium of his body. The divine Logos, when he would appear to man, under the Old Testament, ever assumed some miraculous appearance, as a medium, which man might behold. This, as well as his body, in after days, was seen ; while yet it is a truth, that “ No man hath seen God at any time.” And yet Christ is the true and the great God. Christ declared, " He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father also.” And of the Jews;- They have both seen and hated both me and my Father. Yet, “No man hath seen God at any time.” The seeing in this latter text means seeing pure Divinity with the bodily eye. But the Jews had seen Christ and the Father, in the miracles and wonders, which had evinced their Divinity and the truth of their doctrines. Those texts then are no contradiction. And no evidence is furnished in them against the pure Divinity of Christ.
56 Unto the Son, God saith, Thy throne O God, is forever and ever." This, at first thought, seems to imply, that Christ was the Son, when God thus addressed him : “ Unto the Son, God saith"The sense of the passage is this : Unto the divine Logos in heaven, but now known as the Son, God saith. This is evident from the passage in the Old Testament here quoted, where God thus addressed the Person now called the Son. The passage is Psalm xlv. 6; “ Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever ; the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre." Neither in this passage, por in its contexts, is any mention made of a Son. The Mediator is there spoken of as the King, fairer than the children of men ; and the most Mighty. But now being known as the Son of God, the apostle says, “ Unto the Son, God saith”-i. e. unto David's King, who is the Most Mighty, but now known as the Son, God spake the words.
Again we read; “ When he bringeth his first Begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the Angels of God worship him." This, it may be said, seems to imply, that Christ was God's first Begotten before he was brought into the world ; or his divine Person was the Son of God, while in heaven, before his incarnation. But the passage quoted teaches no such thing ; therefore the quotation can mean no such thing. The passage quoted is in Psalm xcvii. where nothing is found of a first Begotten. The Person there, who in the quotation to the Hebrews, is called God's first Begotten, is called the Lord, or Jehovah, reigning with clouds and darkness round about him, but righteousness and judgment being the habitation of his throne. “A fire goeth before him, and burneth up his enemies round about. His lightning lightened the world ; the earth saw it and
* trembled. The hills melted like wax at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth. The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory. Con founded be all they, that worship graven images, that boast themselves of idols ; Worship him, ali ye gods ;" or Angels-(as the Septuagint, and the apostle in the above quotation, render it.) Not a word is said here of the Messiah's being at that time God's first Begotten. Here he is the great and infinite Jehovah of the whole earth, in all the glory of the true God. But when God becomes manifest in the flesh, then the Father saith, “ And let all the angels of God worship him.” And he is now presented, in humanity, as God's first Begotten..
Again. 6 God so loved the world, that he sent his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Let the passages just explained by their primitive texts, decide the sense of this. Yea, let John, in his introduction of the Messiah, decide the sense of it. God so loved the world, that he sent his beloved and adorable Logos, who was in the beginning with God, and was God, one with the Father; but who was now in human nature manifest to his people, as God's only begotten Son. The title under which he is now known, is given ; but not the title, under which he was known, or which did apply to his Divinity, when God determined to send him.
The apostle, Gal. iv. 4, affords a clew to explain this point. But when the fulness of time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.”—Here, when the time of the