Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

ments.

justification relates to Christ's adjudi- would be dangerous. The term,“Son," cation and approbation of their con- and the phrase “ Eternal Son,” are duct before a congregated world, at not liable, I think, to the same objecthe last great day of account, when he tions as those are to which I have rewill say unto cach,' Well done, thou ferred. good and faithful servant; thou hast The decision of this subject certainly been faithful over a few things, I will depends upon a question of sacred make thee ruler over many things: philology: it is still, however, of a enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.'” doctrinal nature ; as much so, as the

distinction of persons in the Godhead,

or the eternal perpetuity of future torOn the Eternal Sonship of Christ.

Both these doctrines depend

entirely on the meaning we affix to the MR. EDITOR,

terms by which they are expressed : Sir,—It appears that the controversy so that the subject is not the less imon the Eternal Sonship of Christ, is portant, because it depends on the not likely to cease until that subject meaning given to a word. has undergone a closer investigation I now proceed, Sir, to answer the than it has yet received ; and, on the questions inserted in No. 12 of your propriety of its being continued, there Magazine, column 95. can, I think, be but one opinion among 1st Question.-“ If human relationpersons who know the present state of ship had not existed, what idea would the dispute. As you seem determined have been attached to the word Son?to attend to the real question only, it If generation had succeeded geneprobably will not be long before this ration by immediate creation, instead war of words will be brought to a sa- of being produced by human agency, tisfactory issue. Truth has nothing to no such relations as those of Father fear, either frem exposure or opposi- and Son would have existed; and if tion. When beheld without disguise, these had not existed, it is probable her attractions are irresistible. It is that language would not have containonly when she is disfigured by mere- ed any such terms. It is possible, tricious ornaments, that there is little however, that such a word as Son perceptible comeliness in her form. might have been invented; but then the And if she ever suffers, it is not from idea that would have been attached to the opposition of her avowed enemies, it, would have depended on the object but from the mistaken modes of de- for which it was used as the sign. It fence adopted by her friends. The only might have stood for a house, or a tree, prayer she has ever any occasion to

or any object whatever; and then the use, is, “ Heaven save me from my idea attached to it, would have been friends ; I can manage my enemies the idea of whatever thing it repremyself.”

sented. Words, strictly speaking, The manner in which the Sonship of have no natural meaning; they deChrist is generally stated, is highly rive their import from men's having objectionable : many absurd expres- agreed to adopt them as the signs sions are employed ; and words are of certain objects and conceptions ; occasionally united together, which re- and it is this agreement that fixes ciprocally destroy each other's mean their signification. ing. Such modes of speech are ut- Before creatures were formed, and terly indefensible ; but in giving up endowed with the powers of percepthese, we must take care not to lose a tion, or language was contrived to exsingle particle of truth with them. press human thought, the incompreThe phrases eternally begotten,” hensible Jehovah eternally existed. “ eternally derived," eternally ge- | What he is in himself, no finite mind nerated,” and all such senseless and can directly comprehend; and what no contradictory jargon, I cheerfully aban- mind can adequately conceive, no landon to the tortures inflicted by the op- guage can fully express. His unity and ponents of the Eternal Sonship. Thus distinction, are fully known only to himfar, at least, they have truth on their self. But then, as the terms Father and side, and are entitled to the thanks of Son, which express a certain relation the Christian Church, for exposing among creatures, are, by the HolyGhost, scholastic nonsense. But beyond these employed in reference to the persons in expressions, I consider that concession the Godhead, we may rest assured

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Paul says,

that they are as proper as any terms reason away the Eternity of the Son. which language can supply. They We are too apt to forget first princimust not indeed be understood in the ples. Every one knows that the barsame sense as when applied to crea- renness of language frequently rentures. If they were intended to ex- ders it necessary for us to use a word press nothing else, they certainly ex- sometimes with a greater, and somepress with much propriety a relation times with a less degree of latitude ; of equality between the persons in the and that when the signification of a Godhead. “ There can be no other word is varied, it is the thing for which purpose,” says Mr. Wesley,“ in re- it stands that controls its meaning. vealing all things concerning him, These remarks may be illustrated by (Christ,) under the character of a Son, the term Son. When it is used to and only begotten Son, but to con- denote a proper human son, we assovince us, that he has all the natural ciate with it the notions of derivation, essential attributes of his Father ; that subsequence, subordination, and sameas a human son possesses the entire ness of nature, with the being who human nature, so the Son of God pos- stands in the relation of father. When sesses the entire divine nature." it stands for an adopted son, we ex

2.Does the term Son, necessarily im- clude the notion of derivation, and reply commencement of existence, in that tain only the latter. When it is embeing or person to whom it is justly ap- ployed simply to express created plicable?

beings, (as Angels and Adam,) we anBy no means. A word may be nex to it the notions of dependence justly applied, without being used lite- and inferiority. But when it is aprally. The immediate residence of plied to the second person in the Godthe Deity is very justly called a house,* head, who possesses all the sublime but it is not so literally. And St. perfections of Deity, we drop all but

every house is builded.”+ the notion of eternal equality. And What then, are we to infer, that com- those who infer priority of existence mencement of existence is necessarily in the Father, and subsequency of included in the term house, and conse- existence in the Son, from the terms quently that heaven is not eternal ? Father and Son being employed, deWere we to do this, we should invert duce an inference which is not justiall order, and reason from the mean- fied by the laws of language. ing of a word to the nature of an ob- The preceding remarks are sufficient ject, while we ought to determine the to show, that the word Son does not insense of the word by the nature of the variably imply a definite number of thing for which it stood. The follow- ideas and notions; and also, that some ing observations are thought to be of part of its meaning may be safely reimportance on this subject. 1. Lan-jected, without abandoning the use of guage was originally invented to ex- the term. Literally, the word Son depress natural things. 2. Language notes a person who has derived his was formed before a revelation was being from, and who possesses the given. 3. In giving to us a revela- same nature as his father.

In both tion, God did not communicate a new these senses it cannot be applied to language; words already in use, were Christ. If he possess the nature of employed to express heavenly things. the Father, he must be eternal ; beAs the words of revelation are em- cause eternal existence is inseparably ployed only in a secondary sense, it associated with our conception of God. follows, that they necessarily undergo If his being were derived, he could a change of import. Some of the not be eternal: these two senses thereideas and notions usually associated fore destroy each other, and only one with them, when they refer to natural of them can be true. The question is, things, must be rejected when they which must be rejected? The scrip; are transferred to heavenly. Some ture declares, ° he was before all persons maintain, that the Holy Spirit things,and “ by him all things conis not a person, but an emanation, be- sist.” This decides the point of anacause the name by which he is desig-logy intended

by this term, namely, nated, originally signifies breath or that he is equal with the Father. wind; and in the same manner, they The term Word, used in a personal

John xiv. 2.

+ Hebrews jii. 4.

Colossians i. 16, 17.

“ this day

sense, stands on precisely the same / able mode. In his pre-existent state, footing as the term Son; and so in- he could not therefore be begotten; deed must every personal term which and therefore these words only begotten, language can supply.

must be understood as a title, and not 3. “What is the meaning of the as denoting an act. It is observable, terms Son, and begotten Son, when that the New Testament no where commencement of existence is ex- calls him begotten Son; nor does it cluded ?"

any where say that he was begotten. This question is in fact already an- The titles given him in the volume of swered. The meaning of every ac- inspiration, we may apply to him; but commodated term, must be regulated we have no authority to say he was a by the thing for which it stands; and begotten Son. This title, I doubt not, all such words are used in an accom- was borrowed from Psa. ii. 7. He had modated sense, when applied to the been revealed as the memra or word; persons in the Godhead. From what but in this Psalm, he is for the first I have advanced it will be seen, that time revealed as sustaining a bigher by the word Son, I mean nothing more relation; that name is given to him than a person in the Godhead possess which is above every name. The laning every perfection of Deity.

guage is remarkable,

“ Thou art my But the words begotten Son, demand Son,” not, Thou shalt be; particular attention. Whatever the have I begotten thee;” (i. e.) this day word begotten may mean when used in have I manifested thee under a differreference to Christ, it certainly must ent relation. be understood in a sense very different In your next number, I hope to offer from that which it bears, when human a few more thoughts on this important generation is denoted by it. Even subject.

TYRO. those who conceive that it applies to Him only in reference to his human

STATE OF DISEMBODIED SPIRITS. nature, do not take it literally'; for

Answer to a Query on the Abode of they think it denotes creation, or mi

Disembodied Spirits. raculous production. But whatever

Lecds, Jan. 7, 1820. other persons may intend by it, I claim for myself the right of understanding In reply to your correspondent J. F. it according, as I conceive, to the ana- of London, who in No. 11, of the Imlogy of faith; and if my views are er- perial Magazine, col. 1072, Vol. I. roneous, every one is at liberty to re- asks,“.Where does the soul go, on its ject them. The phrase only begotten separation from the body ? and does it Son, I consider as a title of eminence. receive judgment immediately, or wait Adam was a son of God by creation, till the last day ?” I shall be happy to and angels in this sense are sons.

see inserted the following observaBelievers are the sons of God by adop- tions, if you think them worthy a place tion. But Christ possessing the na

in

your Magazine. ture of the Father, his Sonship is rais

Yours, respectfully, L. R**. ed as much above theirs as a proper There are four considerations which human sonship is above that of an suggest themselves, in considering the adopted one. He is the Son in the first part of the question proposed by highest possible sense. Mr. Baxter, J. F. and which, in my opinion, put the commenting on Colossians i. verse 15, immediate glorification of the departed observes, " This (first-born) number- souls of believers beyond all doubt. eth him not with the creatures, but 1st. Heaven is as ready and fit to sets him above them.” And in this receive them as ever it shall be. sense I take the title only begotten. It 2d. They are as ready and fit for teaches us that he was neither created Heaven as ever they shall be. like Adam, nor adopted like believers; 3d. The Scripture is plainly for but that he is higher than they, (i. e.) | it. And, equal with the Father in nature, per

4th. There is nothing in fections, and duration. It is a good against it.rule in divinity, to interpret that which 1st. Heaven is as ready and fit to may appear obscure, by that which is receive them as ever it shall be. Heaplain; and as the scriptures ascribe ven is prepared for believers. 1st. By eternal existence to the Son, this ex- the purpose and decree of God, and fludes production in every conceiv- so far it has been prepared from the

reason

JUDGMENT.

foundation of the world, Matthew xxv. It is, I believe, admitted on all hands, 34. 2d. By the death of Christ, whose (or at least disputed by few) which blood made the purchase of it for be- makes it unnecessary for me to refer lievers, and so meritoriously opened to passages in the Scripture in support the gates thereof, which our sins had of it ;--that the souls or spirits of all barred up against us, Hebrews X. men who die in a state of unbelief and 19, 20. 3d. By the ascension of disobedience, are immediately comChrist into that holy place, as our re-mitted to the prison of hell, there to presentative and forerunner, John xiv. suffer the wrath of God due to their 2. This is all that is necessary to be sins. done for the preparation of Heaven; The second part of the question put and all this is done, as much as ever by J. F. stands thus ; 6. Does the God designed should be done to it, in soul, on its separation from the body, order to its preparation for our souls. receive judgment immediately, or wait So that no delay can take place on till the last day?” which I beg leave that account.

to answer in the words of a good old 2d. The departed souls of believers divine, who, in speaking of the general are as ready for Heaven as ever they judgment, says,

Before the general shall be. For there is no preparation- judgment, every soul comes to its parwork to be done by them, or upon ticular judgment, and that immediatethem, after death, John ix. 4. Ec- ly after death : of this (he says) I apcles. ix. 10. Their justification was prehend the apostle to speak, in Hecomplete before death, and now their brews ix. 27. It is appointed for all sanctification is so too ; sin, which men once to die, but after THAT THE came in by the union, going out at the

The soul is presently separation of their souls and bodies. stated' by this judgment,' in its everThey are spirits made perfect.

lasting and fixed condition. The soul 3d. The Scripture is plainly for their of a wicked man, appearing before God immediate glorification: Luke xxiii. in all its sin and guilt, and by him sen43. To-day shalt thou be with me in tenced, immediately gives up all its paradise. Luke xvi. 22. The beggar hope. Prov. xi. 7. When a wicked died, and was carried by the angels into man dieth, his expectation shall Abraham's bosom. Phil. i. 21. I de- perish: and the hope of unjust men sire to be dissolved, and to be with perisheth.” Christ, which is far better. The Scripture speaks but of two ways, by which souls see and enjoy God,' viz. From another Correspondent we have

received, on the preceding question, faith and sight: the one imperfect, suited to this life; the other perfect,

the following remarks: fitted for the life to come; and this I was somewhat surprised, that any immediately succeeding that, for the one professing the Protestant Religion imperfect is done away by the coming could ask such a question as that of that which is perfect, as the twilight which appeared in col. 1072, Vol. I. is done away by the advancing of the namely; Whether the soul, immeperfect day.

diately after its separation from the 4th. To conclude: there is nothing body, received its sentence, and went in reason lying in bar to it. The soul, either to its place of rest or punishin its unbodied state, is capable of en- ment, or waited till the great judgment joying blessedness, and can perform day? Now I think it is very clear from its acts of intellection, volition, &c. Scripture, that immediately after the not only as well, but much better than death of the body, the soul receives its it did when embodied. I conclude reward, whether it be good or bad. “I therefore, that seeing Heaven is already shall just offer one or two scripture as much prepared for believers as it proofs of this assertion. First, In Luke, need be, or can be ; and they as much chap. xxiii. verse 43, we read as folprepared, from the time of their disso- lows,“ And Jesus said unto him, Verily, lution, as ever they shall be; the I say unto thee, to-day thou shalt be Scriptures also being so plain for it, with me in paradise.” Secondly, and no bar in reason against it,—that on the martyrdom of Stephen, in the the spirits of the just go immediately viith chapter of Acts, we read, that Steto glory, from the time of their separa- phen, at his death, saw the heavens tion from the body.

opened, and the angels waiting to

receive him ;” and in the Old Testa- | Moon, which begins at seventeen ment, we read of Enoch, who was minutes past five in the evening ; but translated, and of Elijah, who was car- she does not rise until seventeen ried to heaven in a chariot of fire; and minutes past six, when she will apagain, the Apostle Paul “ desired to pear nearly half eclipsed, and the depart and be with Christ, which was earth's shadow will gradually advance far better.” I think that these few towards her western limb till thirtypassages are a sufficient proof of eight minutes past six. The visible what I have advanced; but at the part of the shadow then gradually disame time, I conceive that at the great minishes till fifty-nine minutes past day of our Lord Jesus Christ, the seven, when it will leave the Moon, union of the body with the soul will making its last impression on the cause an increase either of happiness eastern side of her northern limb.

JUVENIS. Pancras, Jan. 24, 1820.

REVIEW.-HORÆ BRITANNICÆ, OR STU

or woe.

DIES IN ANCIENT BRITISH HISTORY.

ASTRONOMICAL OCCURRENCES FOR

MARCH.-BY AN OBSERVER.

mences.

mans.

[Concluded from col. 72.]

Adverting to the language originally The Sun enters Aries on the 20th, at spoken by our barbarous ancestors, eighteen minutes past four in the af- Mr. Hughes varies but little from the ternoon, when the spring quarter com- generally received opinion, the sub

The Moon enters her last stance of which he comprises in the quarter on the 7th ; she is new on the following paragraph. 14th; enters her first quarter on the “ It is admitted, that the language 21st, and is full on the 29th. She will spoken by the natives of Wales, is the pass the Georgian planet on the 8th, same as was spoken in this island preJupiter on the 12th, Saturn on the vious to the establishment of the Ro14th, Mercury on the 15th, Venus on

It is equally true, that the lanthe 16th, and Mars on the 22d. Venus guage used by the natives of Ireland, is an evening star, setting on the 1st is the same that was spoken by the most about half-past eight, and on the 31st ancient inhabitants of that island. about twenty minutes past ten. She The language of the Albanian Scots, or is first seen under the fifth and sixth of Highlanders, called Erse and Gaelic, the Fishes, passing the fifth soon after is the same as the language in which sun-set on the 1st, and under and near Ossian sung and Galgacus harangued to the sixth on the 4th. She then di- his troops. We have still some rerects her course through a barren mains of the language spoken in Cornspace, passing between the fifteenth wall in ancient times, and which bears and sixteenth of the Fishes on the a striking affinity to the Cymraeg 10th. She continues her course be- spoken in Wales; and is probably tween the Ram and the Whale, passing only a dialect of the Armoric, or the between the first of this constellation language of the Bretons of France." and the first of the Ram on the 21st, pp. 72. but nearest to the latter star. She That the ancient Britons were acthen directs her course to the small quainted with the use of letters, is a stars in the tail of the Ram, passing point which will admit of no dispute, above and near to the fourth on the the fact being supported by evidence 27th, and still nearer to the sixth on which is incontestable. This acquirethe 28th, and she finishes it under the ment seems, however, to have been Pleiades. Mars is on the meridian on confined almost exclusively to the the 1st about half-past eight in the Druids; and even among these, none evening, and on the 31st about seven. but those of the higher order were He is seen on the 1st, under and nearer permitted to participate in the knowto the ninth of the Twins, the first ledge of this sublime acquisition. Mr. being higher up to the east of it, and Hughes, on the authority of Cæsar, he moves slowly under the two first, contends, that the characters which passing the second on the 22d, di- they employed, bore a strong rerecting his course to the nebula in the semblance to those of the Greek alphaCrab, but finishing it nearly in a line bet; but he conceives that their uses with the two first of the Twins. On were confined chiefly to civil transthe 29th, there is an eclipse of the actions, as the dogmas of philosophy,

« ForrigeFortsæt »