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tinction among them, as that three is a definitive number. But,
2dly. God and Christ are distinguished by name. The one is called the Father, the other his Son. Nothing occurs more frequently in the New Testament, than this distinction. Witness the voice from heaven, first at our Saviour's baptism, Matt. iii. 17. and then at his transfiguration, chap. xvii. 15. His own confes- . sion before the Jewish Sanhedrin, Mark xiv. 61, 62. The ordinance of baptism which he appointed after his resurrection, Matt. xxviii. 19. And the ordinary salutation of our apostle to the churches, 2 Cor. i. 2, 3. Philip. i. 2. Nay, this distinction, was known under the Old Testament, compare Psalm ii. 7, 12. Prov. xxx. 4.; yea, it was acknowledged by devils themselves, Luke viii. 28. Now, as the names Father and Son, suggest dis. tinct ideas, so God and Christ must be two distinct persons. The Father cannot be the Father of himself; nor the Son, the Son of himself. The name Father implies another person to whom he is so, as the name Son implies one who stands in the paternal relation unto him. Again, the one is called God, the other the Word, John i. 1, 14. 1 John v. 7. and the Word of God, Rev. xix. 13. With respect to the signification of the name, I say nothing. Only this much is fair. ly deducible from that adorable Person, whose Word he is. The Word is said to be with God, implying the distinction of persons; and to be God, implying identity of essence.
3dly. God and Christ are distinguished by their inef. fable fellowship one with another. So in the passage just now quoted, the Word is said to be with God, i. e. as I apprehend, not only in respect of co-eternal exist. ence, but also of the most intimate and endearing communion. As the one never existed without the other, neither were they ever without that fellowship which is intimated in the words of inspiration. “The Father loveth the Son, and hath given him all things into his hand,” John iii. 35. Though this giving may be considered as posterior to creation, yet that love in
which it originated was before all time. The extent of the gift proves the intenseness of the giver's love. Of this communion we read, Prov. viii. 30. Says the Word and Wisdom of the Father, “ I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him.” Every clause speaks communion:“ by him, brought up with him.” But in the two last, the description rises; “ I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him:" i.e. He delighted in me, and I in him. To intimate the intenseness of the Father's love, his soul is said to delight in Christ, Isa. xlii. 1. further proof of this inconceivable fellowship, it is said that the only begotten Son is in the bosom of the Father, John i. 18. This certainly intimates their complacency in one another. Our Lord, when about to leave the stage of time, and when pleading with his Father in behalf of the given ones, could say, thou “ lovedst me before the foundation of the world,” John xvii. 25.
4thly. God and Christ are distinguished by the different places which they occupy with respect to our salvation. The one is represented in scripture as the party choosing: the other, as the party chosen, Psalm Ixxxix. 3, 19. The one as sending: the other as the sent, Matt. xxi. 37. Acts iji. ult. Rom. viii. 3. Gal. iv. 4. The one as preparing a body: the other as putting it on, Heb. x. 5. The one as the Mediator: the other as the party with whom he mediates on our behalf, 1 Tim. ii. 6. The one as making a reconciliation for sin by the sacrifice of himself, Heb. ii. 17, and xix. 26.: the other as pacified in virtue of that atonement, Ezek. xvi. ult. 2 Cor. v. 18, 21. The one as laying all our ini. quities on the other, Isa. liii. 6. The one as being bruised for these our iniquities: and the other as bruis. ing him, and putting him to grief, Isa. liii. 5, 10. The one as hiding his face: the other as uttering a mournful cry under that desertion, Matt. xxvii. 46. In all these instances the distinction between God and Christ is written as with a sun-beam. 5thly and Lastly, on this part of the subject. The
personal distinction between the Father and the Sont is intimated in the following context, by the distinct personal acts which are ascribed to them. Of Christ hu it is said that he made himself of no reputation: of the it Father, it is said, that he highly exalted him. Of the Son it is said, that he took upon him the form of a ser. O vant: of the Father, that he hath given him a namet above every name. Of the Son it is written, that he c became obedient: but it is testified of the Father, that is he hath exalted him to such honours, that at his namet! every knee should bow, and every tongue confess that S he is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Thus by much in illustration of the distinction between God un and Christ.
The second doctrine which we proposed to illusof trate was, that Christ in his person is nearly related T unto God. It cannot be denied that all the parti.co culars, mentioned in illustration of the first doctrinal proposition, are so many proofs of this. For if the dis.be tinction between God and Christ be such as we have hi said, it unavoidably follows, that they are nearly relat se ed to one another. Being distinguished by their or of der, their names, their mutual delight, their agency in te the work of redemption, and their personal actions towards one another, in bringing it to a close, a most inti. at mate relation cannot but subsist between them. This an relation we shall consider as represented in scripture
A under the following views.
1st. Our Lord Jesus Christ is so nearly related untot! God that he is his Son. He is so called, not on ac
lv count of creation, as are angels, Job xxxviii
. 7. and Adam, Luke iii. ult. For his goings forth were of old, from the days of eternity, Mic. v. 2. Nor is het so denominated from his incarnation only. For thereby F. he became the Son of Adam, Luke iii. 23, 38. the at Son of man, as he is often called in the New Testa. O ment, Matt. xvi. 13. chap. xxvi. 24, 64. Son of God, he was made of a woman, Gal. iv. 4. ac. cording to the first intimation concerning him, bearing
that he should be the seed of the woman, Gen. ïïi. 15. Instead of becoming the Son of God by incarnation, he thereby took upon him the form of a servant. True it is, that the angel, in solving Mary's doubts, told her, “ the Holy Ghost shall come upon 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,” Luke i. 35. But the true sense is, that that holy thing born of her, being united to the person of the Son, should therefore be called the Son of God. Christ's human nature never subsisting by itself, as is the case with other men, but in personal union with the Son, was therefore called the Son of God. Accordingly the angel in the 32d verse, speaks of him both as the Son of the Highest, and as the son of David, i. e. as the apostle expresseth it, Rom. i. 3. The Son of God was made of the seed of David according to the flesh.
It must be granted that the Father prepared him a body, Heb. x. 5. But were there no other reason of his Sonship than that, he would be a son in no higher a sense than Adam, whose body he formed of the dust of the ground. It deserves our attention that the two titles mentioned by the angel,“ that holy thing, and the
, Son of God,” seein to refer to the two clauses immediately preceding:“ the Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee.” According to this view of the passage, the connection stands thus: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, therefore that which shall be born of thee, shall be a holy thing; and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee, therefore, also that holy thing shall be called the Son of God. By the power of the Highest may therefore be meant, the almighty agency of God the Father, in preparing a body for his Son. Compare the angel's words, verse 32d. " He shall be called the Son of the Highest.” It can scarcely be denied that the Highest, verse 35th, signifies the same person as in verse 32d, viz. God the Father. Our Saviour is called the Son of the Highest there, and the Son of God
here. Hence the inference is, that God the Father is meant in both. For whose Son is Christ? Why, not the Son of the Holy Ghost, as some seem to insi. nuate, but of God the Father. For as in the Trinity there is but one Son, so but one Father *.
But to go on, the relation of Sonship which our Lord bears unto the Father, is not founded on his resurrection from the dead, as Socinians will have it. It cannot be denied that in scripture language, the resurrection is mentioned under the me. taphor of a birth. So Christ is called the first-born from the dead, Col. i. 18. and the first-begotten of the dead, Rev. i. 5. Hence also it is, that the saints are called the children of God, being the chil. dren of the resurrection, Luke xx. 36. But as they are certainly his children before their resurrection, so the Saviour was the Son of God before he was raised from the dead. It is not unusual in scripture to say that a thing is, when it is only evidenced or proved to be, 2 Cor. xii. 9. James ii. 22. And it is in this sense that we are to understand these words in Psalm ii. 7. “ Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee,” i.e. this day, this thy resurrection-day, I have given proof that I have begotten thee. So, Rom. i. 3. the apostle having called Jesus Christ the Son of God, immediate. ly adds, that he was declared to be the Son of God, by the resurrection from the dead. His resurrection therefore did not constitute him a Son, it only evinced that he was truly so.
But further still, our Lord Jesus Christ is not the Son of God by office. He does not bear that name merely because he is the Messiah.
For if so, his sonship would not be necessary, but adventiti
The salvation of sinners, depended merely on the good pleasure of God, and therefore so did the mission of Christ. Now, as it was possible the former might never have been, so was it, respecting the latter.
• The great Charnock, takes the Highest in verse 35:h. fo: God the Father, Vol. 2, p. 199.