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peculiar eminency in the kind and ground of this his relation unto God. The relation itself in a large sense, and equivocally, is attributed to several : Adam is called the son of God; and the angels are usually entitled such; and princes are styled 'the children of the Most Iligh ;' and all men are said to be God's offspring, and good men are especially dignified with that appellation ; God's people, as such, (the Israelites of old, and Christians now,) are the children of God; yea, God is the Father of all things, as the maker and preserver of them : but all these, in comparison to Christ, are such in a manner very inferior, and in a very improper sense ; for he is the only Son of God: which denotes a relation in its kind singular and incomparable; from which all other things are excluded.

Now that we may discern the difference, let us consider the grounds and respects on which this relation of our Saviour to God is built, or the reasons why he is called the Son of God: there are several expressed or implied in Scripture.

1. Christ is called the Son of God in regard to his temporal generation, as being in a manner extraordinary conceived in the Blessed Virgin by the Holy Ghost; so the angel expressly telleth us : • The Holy Ghost shall come on thee, and the

power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God:' so the Apostle also ; . When the fulness of time was come, God sent forth his Son made of a woman,' (or born of a woman, γενόμενον εκ γυναικός-γεννώμενον in some copies :) a generation so peculiar and wonderful, without intervention of any father but God himself, is one ground of this, relation and title ; he therein excelling the common sort of


2. Christ also may be termed the Son of God in regard to his resurrection by divine efficacy; that being a kind of generation or introduction into another state of life immortal. Others are on this ground called the sons of God; • They,' saith our Saviour, who shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead--can die no more ; for they are equal to the angels, and are the children of God, (vioi ciot Toữ Oevī,) being sons of the resurrection.' How much more then may he be thence so named, who is the first-fruits of them that sleep,' and the first-born from the dead ?' especially since that of the Psalmist, Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee,' was, (according to St. Paul's exposition) verified in the raising him. In this respect Christ also did much excel all others, who on the same ground are called the sons of God.

3. Christ is capable of this title by reason of that high office, in which by God's especial designation he was instated.

If ordinary princes and judges (as being deputed by God to represent himself in the dispensation of justice, or as resembling God in the exercise of their power and authority) have been called the children of the Most High in the language of holy Scripture; with how much greater truth and reason may he be called so, who was most signally consecrated and commissionated to the most eminent function that ever was or could be ; who did whatever he did in God's name, who represented and resembled God so exactly? It is his own argumentation and inference; • If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the Scripture cannot be broken; say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest, because I said, I am the Son of God ?' That extraordinary sanctification and mission did render him worthy and capable of that appellation, far beyond all others, who have for the like reason obtained it.

4. Whereas also it is said that God did appoint or constitute our Saviour heir of all things; did give him head above all things to the church, and did put all things under his feet; did give him power over all flesh; did commit unto him all authority in heaven and earth ; did exalt him to the highest place of dignity and authority next to himself, at the right hand of the Majesty in the highest; yea did place him on his own throne and tribunal in his room, so that the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment to the Son ;' well may he in that respect be entitled the Son of God; as thereby holding the rank and privilege suitable to such a relation; be being the Chief of the family, and next in order to the great Paterfamilias of heaven and earth. Of him,' saith St. Paul,

all the family in heaven and earth is named :' Moses verily,' saith the Apostle to the Hebrews, 'was faithful in all his house as a servant, but Christ as a Son over his own house :' and, • Being made so much better than the angels,' saith the same Apostle, “as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they, (they being only called servants, or ministers; he being entitled a Son and heir.)

In these respects is our Saviour properly, or may be fitly, denominated the Son of God, with some peculiarity and excellency beyond others : but his being with such emphasis called God's only begotten Son, (denoting an exclusion of all others from this relation on the same kind of ground,) doth surely import a more excellent ground thereof, than any of these mentioned. For the first Adam did also immediately receive his being from the power and inspiration of God, (God formed his body and breathed a soul into it.) And Isaac, Samuel, and John the Baptist had also a generation extraordinary and miraculous, as being born of parents mortified by age and unapt for generation, by interposition of the divine power, (so it is expressly said of Sarah, δύναμιν έλαβεν είς καταβολής onépuaros, she received power from God for conception of seed ;') which productions do not so greatly differ from the production of Christ as man.

And how can we conceive that the production of angels should be so much inferior to our Saviour's temporal generation, if there were no other but that ?

And although our Saviour was the first and chief, yet was he not the only Son of the resurrection ; There were, as the Apostle to the Hebrews saith, many sons of this kind brought to glory; and Christ was firstborn among many brethren ;' this is also a ground not proper or perspicuous enough for such a denomination ; and indeed before it came to pass, he was called God's Son; he was so when he lived, he was so when • God so loved the world, that he gave him for its salvation.'

Neither doth the free collation of power and dignity, how eminent soever, well suffice to ground this singularity of rela. tion; for we see others also in regard to their designment and deputation to offices of power and dignity, although indeed subordinate and inferior to those he received, to be entitled the sons of God; and however this is rather the foundation of a metaphorical, than of a natural and proper sonship, which is too slender and insufficient for him, who in the most solemn and august strain is denominated such.

Likewise although our Saviour be the heir of all things, yet hath he co-heirs, whom God hath,' as St. Paul speaketh, • together enlivened, and together raised, and together seated with him' in thrones of glory and bliss; beside that privileges of this kind are rather consecutive and declarative of this his relation to God, than formerly constitutive thereof: “If a son, then an heir,' saith St. Paul; inheritance follows sonship, and declares it, rather than properly makes it.

Moreover those prerogatives of singular affection and favor appropriated to Christ, together with all those glorious preferments consequent on them, do also argue some higher ground of this relation : for how could it be, that merely on account of that temporal generation, (which did only make him a man,

of like passions and infirmities to us, sin only excepted,') or in respect to any thing consequent thereon, God should affect him with so special a dearness, and advance him to dignities so superlative, υπεράνω πάσης αρχής, και εξουσίας, και δυνάμεως, και KUPÓNTOs, 'far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named;' • angels and authorities and powers being,' as St. Peter says, ' made subject unto him ? Such proceedings (that generation only, or any thing resulting from it, being supposed) do not seem consistent with that decent congruity and natural equity, which God is ever wont to observe in his regard to persons and in bis ordering of things.

We must therefore search for a more excellent aud more proper ground of this magnificent relation, or peculiar sonship; and such an one we shall find clearly deducible from testimonies of holy Scripture, (and by several steps of discourse we shall deduce it.)

1. It is thence first evident that our Saviour had in him somewhat more than buman, according to which he is said to have existed before his temporal generation here among men. Even as men after death are in regard to a superviving part of them, their immortal soul, said to be and live ; for, even then, saith our Lord, all men do live to God.' For, before his birth here, he is said to have been in heaven, and to have descended

thence; • No man,' saith he, hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man, which is in heaven :' even when he visibly lived here, he was (as himself aflirms) secundum aliquid sui, according to somewhat invisible in him, then actually in heaven; and according to that somewhat he was before in heaven; and by union of that invisible being to human visible nature, he is said to have descended from heaven. His ascension into heaven was but a translation of the human nature thither, where according to a more excellent nature he did abide before the incarnation; for, "What,' saith he again, “if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before ?' from hence he is declared worthy and capable of so transcendent preferments : for, · He that cometh from above, out of heaven, is above all things';' because, “ The second man is the Lord from heaven.' He, as to his manifestation in the flesh, was junior to St. John the Baptist, but in truth was of more ancient standing, and thence was to be preferred before him, as St. John himself perceived and professed ; • He that,' said St. John, comes after me is preferred before me, because he was before me. He did subsist even before Abraham was born, whence without absurdity he could affirm that he and Abraham had interviews and intercourse together; so he discoursed with the Jews; · Thou art not,' said they, yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham ?' he replied ; Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am :' this saying did seem very absurd to thein, and so offended them, that they took up stones to cast at him ; not apprehending the mystery couched in his words, and that he had another nature, different from that which appeared to them, according to which that saying of his was verified. Yea farther he had a subsistence and a glory before the world had a being; for thus he

prays; * And now, Father, glorify me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was;' glory (that is, a most honorable state of being, and excellent perfection) was not only destinated to him, but he really had it, and enjoyed it with God, before the world was.

2. Necessary indeed it was, that he should exist before the world, for that, secondly, God by him made the world, and for that he made the world himself; • God,' saith St. Paul, cre

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