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Father and Son.-But, the strength of the evidence lies in the matter of fact; for as Jesus Christ was made a Son, and one with the Father, by that commandment which sent him into the world, and by that love and glory which was given to him ; fo Chrift Here' speaks of his people, as being in like manner fent into the world,' verse 18. and prays that they may be glorified with him; which, of course, makes them sons of God, one with each other, and one with him and the Father, even as the father and Son
OBJECTIONS TO THE STATEMENT AND
DEFINITION CONSIDERED. It is necessary, in this place, to attend ta fome objections which may arise to the foregoing Statement and Definition.
1. It may be objected, that, although in the passages quoted, an union of will, such as fubfifts between Christ and believers, be clearly intended; yet an union of another nature, as subsisting between Christ and God, is also taught in the scriptures. To which I reply-If these, and such like passages be giv
where are the texts upon which the fentiinent of a myflerious union is to be founded? These are ihe texts which have generally been used to support the sentiment; and if they be found to mean no more than a relation of will, the mysterious sense of the di
vine union of Father and Son must be relinquilhed, as having no support from the scriptures.
2. If the divine relation of Father and Son be the same in its nature with that which subhists between God and believers, why is Jesus Christ called the only begotten of the Father? The scriptures furnish us with a clear answer to this question; for though the relations be the fame in their nature, they differ essentially in respect of their being mediate or immediate.-Believers come to God mediately through Christ; and, therefore, are children and united to the Father secondari. ly, and only as they are united to Christ; but the Lord Jesus Christ is the immediate subject of the divine will; and, therefore, a. lone the Son of the Father, in a first and immediate union; this may be seen in the following passages,
No man hath feen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him, John i.--He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me. John xii.—I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh unto the Father but by me. John xiv.-If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's conmandments, and abide in his love. John xvii.
-Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father; but he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father alfo.-If that which ye have heard from the beginning Mall remain in you ye alfo Mall continue in the Son, and inz
the Father. 1 John ii.--- And this is the record that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.—He that hath the Son of God hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 1 John v:-Whosoever transgrefseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God; he that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. 2 John.
Inasmuch, therefore, as Jesus Christ is in the bosom of the Father, united to him by his commandment and love, immediately; which divine will being eternal, implies, as has been shewn, that this generation, which is the immediate fruit of it, is also eternal, or before the world was; and, as believers come to the Father only through Jesus Christ, receive the commandment in him, and are beloved for his sake; for the Father himself loveth
have loved and bea lieved that I came out from God. John xvi. And also, as this generation, or our being born of the will of God through Christ, must be the fruit of his manifestation, and can only take place in time; we see the propriety of his being distinguished as the only begotten Son of God, and the objection is answered.
3. Jesus Christ is called the Son of God on account of his being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, Luke i. Therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God.-Ans. It is admitted that Jesus Christ is to be considcred as the Son of God on this account, the fame as that natural oilspring are called chil,
dren; but still the voluntary is maintained to be the high and decisive sense to which every other import of the word must yield. This may be illustrated by the matter of his temp; tations in the wilderness.-Satan designed there to beguile Christ upon this ground; , If thou be the Son of God, &c, as though this truth could be proved by some evidence, o. ther than that of his obedience to God; but he defeated the tempter, and proved to his face that he was the Son of God; not by asserting the fact of his miraculous conception, or giving the evidence of any miraculous power in him; but, merely, by shewing his perfect filial character in obedience to the divine will; for this indeed, was the
great and decisive evidence. This truth may allo be illustrated in the History of the Seed of Abraham, who were children of the promises; the people Israel were owned of God, and called his Son, his first-born, and heirs of the promised Canaan, on account of their natural descent from Abraham; but, after all, if they did not prove themselves children of God in the voluntary sense, but, on the contrary, evinced a spirit of stubbornness and rebellion, they were ever disowned and disinherited.
As the obedient well-pleasing character conftituies the great essential of the relation of a son; in wills and legal testaments, even when the heir is a natural and legitimate child, the ideas of his being well.pleasing and beloved, are commonly inserted to express the fitness of the heirship and will.
Hence, the Father, in his testament, fixed or this ground of voluntary relation, saying -This is my beloved Son, in whom I am will pleased.
li may alfo be remarked respecting the name Son being given to Christ, on account of his being conceived by the power of the Highest, that the Holy Ghoft is not only the power or spirit of the Father, but is also the Spirit of the Son, or the divine filial spirit, and, therefore, is inseparable from the very truth in which consisted his fonship in the voFuntary sense; this is therefore so far from bes ing an objection, that it rather confirms our understanding of the great import of the name Son of God. And by examining and comparing the scriptures, will it not appear also, that the nanie Son of Man imports the truth of those voluntary relations; first, of his being obedient, or a fervant to man; and, secondly, of his being, as the heir of David, Lord of all, rather than the circumstance merely, of his having taken the human nature?
4. It is objected, that, in considering what composes the divine will as the subject of the doctrine of a Trinity, the attribute is mistaken for the Being. That a will to use a scholastic word, implies a substratum, which, and not the will, ought to be considered as the being; and, therefore, though the doctrine of a Trinity be discovered and cleared in the matter of the divine will, yet the subject of a Trinity in the Godhead, or Divine Being, is not reached.