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his sufferings; as the Son he was made perfect, and was constituted the author of salvation, by the will of the Father. Is it possible that the inspired author, who wrote these things, could have thought at the same time that, as the Son, Jesus is God ? Certainly not. Every sentence in this passage shews that, with regard to his Sonship, he considered him a man.
“ Then cometh the end, when he (Christ) shall deliver the kingdom to God, even the Father, when he shall abolish all rule, and all authority and power. For he must reign until he put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy who shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith, All things have been subjected, it is manifest that he is excepted who did subject all things to him. And when all things shall be subject to him, then the Son himself also shall be subject to him who hath subjected all things unto him, that God may be all in all.” i Čor. 15: 24–28. Here the apostle describes the glory of the Son of God, in his universal reign over the creatures of God, as one which God the Father had given him ; for it is he that put all things under his feet; and in his highest glory he, as the Son, is still subject to the Father, and the Father is all in all : all in the Son, as well as in every creature in the universe. Can it be that, when St. Paul gave this account of the Son of God, he considered him, as the Son, divine and equal with the Father ? Certainly not. He has told us elsewhere, that God was in Christ, that all the fulness of the Godhead dwelt in him bodily, that he was God over all, blessed for ever, etc; but he has not said that the Son of God was in Christ, or that the indwelling divinity was the Son. When he speaks of the Son, and designedly communicates his idea of him, he makes him the man whom God freely gave for us all; who died for us; who was raised again from the dead; whom God hath highly exalted, and honored with a name above every name ; to whom God hath subjected all things, and who is, in every thing, subject to God. How shall we reconcile this with the theory that the apostles used the term Son of God as a title of divinity and designated by it the divine nature of Christ and his equality with the Father? If they had used the term in this sense, and for this purpose, it must occur ordinarily, in their writings, in connection with
predicates which can belong only to divinity. But instead of this it usually occurs with predicates that can be affirmed only of a man : and if it seem to be used, in some places, as a title of divinity, those texts are easily explicable, as we have already seen in those to which our attention has been called, on the contrary supposition.
The respected brother to whom reference has already been made, anticipating this argument, replies to it thus :
4 When Christ calls himself the Son of God, he claims equality with God; and when he is so called by the sacred writers, this equality is ascribed to him. It is not at all necessary, in order to make out the correctness of this remark, to shew that, in every instance, reference is had to his divine nature. Is it necessary to prove that the appellation
Son of man has uniformly reference to his human nature, in order to shew that it properly implies that Christ is a man? These and all other designations of Christ, no matter what their origin or import, are frequently used to designate his person. Hence the Son is said to give life, to judge, to be put to death, to be ignorant of the day of judgment, to be subject to the Father, etc. In all these cases no reference is had to the import of the term Son, or to the original ground of its applica. tion. It is a mere personal designation. In like manner Christ is said to be God, to have died upon the cross, to have arisen from the dead, etc. The Son of man is said not to have where to lay his head, to be in heaven, etc. The fact, therefore, that the term Son is often applied to designate the person of Christ, even when the immediate reference is to his human nature, cannot prove that the original ground of its application is not his relation, as God, to the Father ; or that its application does not involve the assumption or ascription of equality with God."
But why must we hold that the title Son of God involves this assumption, or this ascription ? Nothing of this kind is supposed to be involved in it when believers are called sons and daughters of God. We are told, indeed, in another place, that, inasmuch as Jesus Christ is not called a Son, but the Son, the use of the definite article, when the application of the title is made to him, shews that he is the Son of God in a sense peculiar to himself, and in which there can be no other Son of God, and, consequently, in a sense in which he is equal with the Father. But how can this consequence-follow ? A son is not necessarily equal with his father. In some respects he never can be equal with him : he must necessarily be younger than his father ; neither does the father derive his existence from the son, but the son from the father. But, passing over this ground
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of objection, we call Homer the poet, and Demosthenes the orator, and the first William of the kings of England the conqueror. Does this phraseology imply that there have been no other poets, or orators, or conquerors? The use of the definite article with the title Son of God, when it is applied to Christ, does indeed designate him as sustaining the relation of sonship in a sense peculiar to himself; but the difference, which it marks between him and other sons, is not a difference of nature, but a difference of measure.
We are told that, “ when Christ calls himself the Son of God, or when he is so called by the sacred writers, it is not at all necessary to shew that, in every instance, reference is had to his divine nature." And it is admitted that “ the term Son is often applied to him, even when the immediate reference is to his human nature.” If this worthy brother had examined somewhat more closely, he would, perhaps, have discovered, that when this title is applied to Christ, the immediate reference is, at least ordinarily, if not always, to his human nature. But ought this to be so ? ought there to be any thing like it? Ought not the immediate reference to be, if not always, at least usually, to the divine nature, if Christ meant to claim, or his apostles to ascribe to him divinity, by the title Son of God?' .
I admit that the appellations Son of man, Christ, and Son of God, when they are given to the Redeemer, are used as personal designations, not only frequently, but, perhaps, always; but I am not prepared to say that they are often so used without regard to their proper import, or the original ground of their application.
The title Son of man was assumed and very frequently used by the Lord himself, but was scarcely ever applied to him by other persons. It occurs only once in the Acts, and not at all in the Epistles. In the first three Gospels it is the common appellation by which the Lord designates himself, while the title Son of God is rarely used by him ; but in the gospel of John the latter is much the more frequent of the two.
There is but one place where the import of the term Son of man, and the ground of its application, seem to be neglected. It is the text John 3: 13. “No man hath ascended into heaven, but he that came down from heaven; even the Son of man who is in heaven." This text seems to ascribe
. omnipresence to the Son of man, and to oblige us, therefore, to take this appellation as a mere personal designation, a mere name, without reference to its appropriate meaning. The words, however, were evidently spoken in a tropical sense ; for in their literal acceptation they have no consistent meaning. For what purpose should Jesus introduce the mention of his omnipresence in such a place ? And how are we to understand his ascension into heaven? As to his human nature he had not yet ascended ; and as to the divine nature he could not ascend. This verse must not be separated from its connection. In the preceding one Jesus had said to Nicodemus, “If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things ?" The figurative idea which is conceived, is that of a royal council and a council-chamber in heaven, where the affairs of the kingdom of God are discussed, and purposes are decreed. Some of these decrees are sent down to mankind on earth by messengers of God, inspired men, and thus become things on earth; that is, things revealed and known to men, or accessible to them ; but other decrees are still reserved in heaven, as secrets of state, and are known only to the king and to those who are in his confidence and intimacy. Compare Deut. 30:11, 12. Jesus had told Nicodemus of earthly things, of things already revealed through the prophets, such as the necessity of a new birth, a new heart and a new spirit ; and because Nicodemus was slow to believe him, he asked, by way of rebuke, “How will ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things ?-Of things which are yet among the mysteries of God? And to assure this Jewish ruler that no other person could make those heavenly things known to men, he remarked, “ No man hath ascended into heaven," etc. The sense of these words is, therefore, no other than this. No man has entered into the secret counsels of God which are reserved in heaven, but he that came down, as it were, from heaven, with a commission from God, to make them known; even the Son of man, who is intimate with God and has access to his secret purposes.
When the Son of man is said to have power on earth to forgive sins, to be Lord of the Sabbath day, to come in the glory of his Father, i. e. in the glory which his Father will impart, we must bear in mind the explanations which are
given in the same place, or elsewhere, that these things are derived by donation from the Father. St. Paul represents all the glory of Jesus as the reward which God has given him for his voluntary submission to the death of the cross. Philip. 2: 6-11.
The title Christ seems to be applied in the manner represented by the respected brother in Romans, ch. 9: 5, " Whose are the fathers, and of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came, who is God over all, blessed for ever." The term Christ seems here to designate that in the Redeemer which is not flesh, namely his divinity, and consequently to be used without regard to its proper meaning. The text does most clearly ascribe divinity to him in the highest sense ; but the title Christ designates not that divinity, but the man who was descended from the Father, and was anointed to be the prophet, the priest and the king of the people of God, and in whom the fulness of the Godhead dwells.
The proper name, Jesus Christ, seems in like manner to be used without reference to its import in Heb. 13: 8. “ Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever." This text, however, does not speak of the divinity of Christ at all. The sense of it is, that Jesus Christ, the anointed Saviour, is always the same Saviour, and will save, at all times, on the same terms, and in the same triumphant manner, those who believe in him.
The title Son of God is used in the same manner as the other two ; it designates the person of Jesus with reference to its appropriate meaning. It is applied to Jesus Christ, as well as to all the children of God, in a tropical sense. Its import is the beloved of God. It designates Jesus Christ neither as God nor as man, but as the object of the love of God. In the common Hebrew usage my son was a term of endearment. See Heb. 12: 5–8. Prov. 3: 11, 12. ch. 6: 1, 3, chi 23: 26. ch. 24: 21. ch. 27: 11. 1 Sam. 3: 6. ch. 4: 16. ch. 24: 16. Chap. 26: 17, 21. i Chron. 17: 13. Jer. 31: 20. Hosh. 11: 1. Matth. 3: 17. ch. 17: 5. Exod. 4: 22. St. Paul uses the term my little children, Gal. 4: 19, but in i Cor. 4: 14, instead of it, he says, My beloved sons. The compellation, little children, my little children, is frequent in the first epistle of John ; and this is interchanged with the term beloved. See 1 John 2: 1, 12, 18, 28. ch. 3: 7, 18.