Page images

him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands. Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet.- -But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man, crowned with glory and honour for the suffering of death."

Well then, they of this scheme, from these and other texts conclude Jesus to be a man, with a reasonable human soul, and human body, born of the Virgin Mary, by the especial interposition of God himself. Which leads us to the other thing, that God was with him.

That special favour and privilege is variously expressed, In the discourse of Peter at the house of Cornelius, before referred to. Acts x. 36, 38, "That word which God sent unto the children of Israel,-which was published throughout Judea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism, which John preached; how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost, and with power, who went about doing good, and healing all that were possessed of the devil. For God was with him.”

John the Baptist, near the conclusion of his ministry, bears this testimony to Jesus. "He whom God hath sent, speaketh the words of God. For God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him," John iii. 34.

Matt. i. 22, 23, "Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled, which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, A virgin shall conceive, and shall bring forth a son,

b Christ is called the Son of man, not to deny his godhead, but to express the verity of his human nature, and that he was of our stock and lineage. He might have been true man, though he had not come of Adam, but his 'human nature had been framed out of the dust of the ground, as Adam's was, or created out of nothing. "But he that sanctifieth, and they that are 'sanctified, are of one. For which cause he is not ashamed to call them 'brethren," Heb. ii. 11. He would be of the mass and stock with us.' Dr. Thomas Manton upon Luke xix. 1. Vol. iv. p. 883.

[ocr errors]

They are said to be of one. This denotes the union that is between them. They are of one stock and lineage, or one common parent of mankind. Hence Luke carrieth up the genealogy of Christ unto Adam, Luke ii. 38; so that he is of our kind and nature.' Manton upon Heb. ii. 11. p. 1083. Afterwards, Christ is our kinsman: not only true man, but the Son of man. True man he might have been, if God had created him out of nothing, 'or he had brought his substance from heaven. But he is the Son of man, one descended from the loins of Adam, as we are. And so does redeem us, not only jure proprietatis, by virtue of his interest in us, as our Creator; but 'jure propinquitatis, by virtue of kindred, as one of our stock and lineage: ' as the Son of man, as well as the Son of God. For Jesus Christ, of all the kindred, was the only one that was free, and able to pay a ransom for us.' As before, p. 1084.

[ocr errors]

and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which, being interpreted, is, God with us."

Col. ii. 9," For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily," or really.


Which is much the same with what is observed by the evangelist, John i. 14, " And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us. And we beheld his glory, the glory, as of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth."


And all these expressions in the New Testament are agreeable to the descriptions of the Messiah in ancient prophecy. So Is. xi. 1, 2, " And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge, and of the fear of the Lord."


Which is the very same with what John Baptist calls giving the Spirit without measure," John iii. 34, and the same with "the Spirit's abiding on him, and remaining on him," see John i. 32, 33.

For clearing up this matter, it should be observed, that they who are of this opinion do not understand by the Son of God an intelligent spirit, equal with God the Father, and of the same substance and power, nor an angelical, or super-angelical spirit, formed before the creation of this material and visible world. But, in their apprehension, it is the man Jesus, who is the Son of God. And the Son of God, by way of eminence and distinction, or the well-beloved Son of God, and only-begotten Son of God, as they suppose, are all terms of equivalent import and meaning, denoting the Messiah.

When there came a voice from heaven, or from the most glorious Majesty, or the presence of God, saying: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear ye him:" they think this to be the same as a solemn declaration, that Jesus was the promised Messiah, the Saviour of the world, who knew, and was to reveal the will of God to others, in a more perfect manner than any of the prophets had done.

The Son of God, or the only-begotten Son of God, is the man most dear to God. He is the Christ. And the Christ, and the Son of God, are the same.

When God sent Moses back to Egypt, from whence he had fled, he was charged with this commission. Exod. iv.

22, 23," Thus shalt thou say unto Pharaoh : Thus saith the Lord; Israel is my son, even my first-born. And I say unto thee: Let my son go, that he may serve me.” The children of Israel were God's chosen people, dear to him, and his special care, above all people of the earth. Israel therefore is called his son. We see a like style in some other texts. Jer. xxxi. 9, "For I am a father unto Israel. And Ephraim is my first-born." Hos. xi. 1, "When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt."

And christians, who believe in Jesus, and, through him, are brought nigh to God, are God's children and sons; John i. 12, "As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." 1 John iii. 1, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God." Gal. iii. 26, " Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus." But Jesus" is the Son of God," by way of eminence. He is "the first-born among many brethren," Rom. viii. 29.


How Jesus is the Son of God, has been shown formerly.c I rehearse here briefly only. He is the Son of God, as he was born of a virgin, by the immediate and extraordinary interposition of the divine power. He is the Son of God, as he had the Spirit without measure, and the Father's fulness was poured out upon him; or the Deity dwelled in him. And he was afterwards declared to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead on the third day. He is the first-begotten from the dead, who died and rose again, and dies no more, but lives for ever. And he is exalted to God's right hand, being invested with authority and dominion over all flesh, and constituted judge of the world, by whom God will pass sentence upon all mankind. In these respects, as well as others, he has the pre-eminence. See Col. i. 15–19.

It may be here inquired, if Jesus were a man, with a human soul and body, how could he know all things? And how could he work so many miracles? The answer is to this purpose; "God was with him." And the Father, in him, did the works. The disciples, as is allowed, during the whole time of our Lord's abode with them here on earth, conceived of him no otherwise, than as a man, or the great prophet that was to come into the world, the Christ, who had the words of eternal life, or made the fullest revelation of the divine mind. They believed him to be a man, and See pages 367 and 372.

yet they were persuaded, that " he knew what was in man.” Yea, our Lord himself, after he had given sufficient proofs that he was the promised Messiah, expected, and judged it reasonable that every pious and understanding Jew should believe him able to perform miraculous works, upon persons at a distance, without his going to them. See John iv. 46-50. And some had that faith: though, undoubtedly, they esteemed him only to be a prophet, or a man highly favoured of God.

And though there are none of the prophets, not Moses himself, upon whom the Spirit of God did abide, as upon Jesus the Messiah; yet there are divers things in the Old Testament, that might assist pious and attentive Jews, in our Lord's time, in forming just conceptions concerning the knowledge as well as the power of the Messiah.

The prophet Elisha could tell the king of Israel exactly the designs and counsels of the king of Syria. See 2 Kings vi. 8-12, and 2 Kings v. 25, 26. When Elisha asked Gehazi, "Whence comest thou? And he said, Thy servant went no whither. Elisha said unto him, Went not my spirit with thee, when the man turned again with his chariot to meet thee?" He had seen and heard all that transaction, as if he had been present.

It was indeed a wonderful knowledge that was given that prophet. But it may be perceived, that by divine communication he might have known much more.

In like manner, in the perfectly innocent and capacious mind of the blessed Jesus, who had "the Spirit without measure," it is easy to suppose that there was, and must have been, an extensive and intimate knowledge of things distant and secret.

And some of Elisha's miracles were wrought at a distance. He did not see Naaman, whose leprosy was cured at his word, or by his direction. 2 Kings v. 9-12. Nor was he present with the widow when her oil was multiplied. 2 Kings iv. 4-7.

To proceed. By "the Spirit," or Holy Ghost," the persons in this way of thinking do not understand a distinct intelligent agent, or being of great power and capacity. But with them the Spirit of God is God himself, or the power of God, or a gift, or divine influence and manifesta


Ps. xxxiii. 6," By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth," or the spirit of his mouth. The word of the Lord and the breath of his mouth are one and the same. All things came

into being and were disposed of by his will, at his word and command.

In like manner, Job xxvii. 13," By his Spirit he has garnished the heavens. His hand has formed the crooked serpent:" or the winding constellation in the heavens, which we call the milky way. The spirit or the hand of God formed all those things.


Luke xi. 20, " If I by the finger of God cast out demons, no doubt the kingdom of God is come unto you." In Matt. xii. 28, "But if I cast out demons by the spirit of God, then is the kingdom of God come unto you. So the finger of God, or the spirit of God, is the power of God, or God himself." As St. Peter says, Acts ii. 22, "Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved among you by miracles-which God did by him, in the midst of you.'


So in other places likewise the spirit of God is the same as God: as the spirit of a man is the man himself. 1 Cor. ii. 11, “What man knoweth the things of a man, but the spirit of man, which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God." Gal. vi. 18, "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit," that is, with you: as at the conclusion of several other epistles, particularly 1 Cor. xvi. 23, "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you."

In the Acts of the apostles the spirit often denotes a gift, or power. Acts ii. 38, "Repent and be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost,” την δωρεαν το ἁγιε πνεύματος, Acts viii. 20. Simon of Samaria" thought that the gift of God might be purchased with money,” την δωρεαν το Θεό. Acts x. 45, "On the Gentiles was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost," ἡ δωρεα το άγιο πνεύματος.

Timothy is directed, 1 Tim. iv. 14, "Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy," Mn αμελει τε εν σοι χαρισματος. -2 Tim. i. 6," Stir up the gift of God which is in thee,” αναζωπυρείν το χαρισμα το Θεό.

When God said to Moses, Numb. xi. 16, 17, “That he should go and gather unto him seventy men of the elders of Israel, and," says he, "I will take of the spirit that is in thee, and will put it upon them." No one understands thereby, that God intended to take from Moses a portion of a spiritual being resting upon him; but that he would bestow upon those elders qualifications of wisdom and understanding, resembling those in Moses, by which he was so eminent and distinguished. So Deut. xxiv. 9, "Joshua the

« PreviousContinue »