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Therefore, not to make a broken or imperfect enumeration of particulars, it seems most convenient to propose the whole of each type, to wit, of the said names and notions, or all the most remarkable of them here together. And so considering every name as the abstract of a notion, and the notion an abstract of some particular view of the subject; as we proceed from one view to another, it will be in the order of peculiarity or propriety just signified, or from the more common and abstract to the less continually ; until we arrive at the most proper, contracted and familiar designation and view of the subject,—to one as precise as can be given without the help of analysis; which belongs to another place or section.
-1:2, The most common or least peculiar name of every subject is the generic, or that of its kind; being here twofold, namely, God and Man; the subject of both of which, namely, of both God and man, having been already explained,—of this in the doctrine of the Kingdom, of that in the doctrine of the Kingdom's Grand Subjective, or Principal Relation, it will not be necessary to repeat the same here; but merely to apply it to the designation of this Second Mediate in either part, and the inferior first. Thus, l'the Subject being styled a Man, for example, in Scripture (John viii. 40; xix. 5), we need not hesitate to call him a Man accordingly; as 2 no one who owns his divinity could hesitate to call him a god likewise, if he was God individually as he was man, or God by himself, that is distinct from the Father; for which purpose there must be more gods than one, as there are more men; but that not being the case, he is called God in the abstract, as from the peculiarity of his unspotted manhood he is also called Man in the abstract, and as if there was no other man.
3: 4, After the generic name taken from genus or kind, the next descending in point of abstraction is the specific, or family name, taken from a branch or part of such kind; a name that has from the earliest times to the present been formed occasionally by the addition of Sop to the name of the
parent or the founder of such branch or part of the kind; as the Israelites or Children of Israel, and in this example Son of God and Son of Man, to designate one individual or person ; who being derived from God, that is God originally before all worlds, and Son of God by a conception purely divine, was subsequently, or “ in these last days,” that is, in the beginning of the Christian era, born of God into the world by a human conception for quality alone among men in either instance, A PRODUCTION WITHOUT ANY PARALLEL, OR MORE THAN ONE CORRELATIVE. Man indeed, he is called Son of God, because he was born of God, not only in a beginning by the divine, purpose or conception as aforesaid, but in effect likewise as having been actually conceived by his virgin mother of the Holy Ghost: and THEREFORE (said the angel) “ that Holy Thing which shall be born of thee shall be called The Son of God” (Luke i. 35): God, indeed, he called himself Son of Man; because he was the Son of Man as much as any man that ever descended from Adam: calling himself likewise Son of God, as he is called because his mother conceived him by God, the reason before mentioned: thus" perfect God and perfect man,” he is also perfectly Son of each. While
-5, From the peculiarities attending his birth or production on either side, namely, on the side either of God or man, the subject has on either also a farther limitation of his patronymic, thus ; v.g. 1, The Son of God, meaning Only, in one or more respects; 2, The Son of man; as if he were here alone likewise in the same way. Of which
peculiarities and limitations, the first or that towards God especially, we ought to take notice, in order to comprehend its meaning and prevent misconception. For to say, that the Son of man was the Only Son of God without some qualification, would be as incorrect, as to say, that he was the Only Son of man in the same unqualified sense; seeing there have been, arc, it is hoped, and also ever will be
Other Sons besides; THAT HE MIGHT BE THE FIRST-BORN AMONG MANY BRETHREN (Rom. viii. 29). Indeed the Only Son admits as much himself in different sayings (Matt. v.45; Luke xx. 36, &c.). And it cannot be necessary to demonstrate the great importance of this article of peculiarity in the subject's relations, particularly in that which he claimed, towards God the Father of us all, and for which he decidedly suffered. Neither, admitting this, can any one think it a superfluous undertaking, however it may succeed, to find both negatively and positively the ground of this peculiarity, whether consisting in any fortuitous or rather in some constant respect; that is, whether in respect of incidentals or of constituents.
=1, Negatively, on the question therefore
*1, In respect of mere birth he could not be Only Son ; as all sons are born, and it was never pretended, that any son should not have been born of a father too in some way or other; if he was born without a mother, as some of the heathen poets, with their usual levity, have fabled of several of their false gods. Neither
*2, Would it be more consistent to understand only begotten ; without some explanation, though in Scripture the Subject is never otherwise called Only; since there being no birth without a father as aforesaid, every birth will necessarily imply a begetting; and if, according to the Christian mode of thinking there be such an affiliation as that of adoption, yet the subjects so adopted will seem likewise to be regularly begotten or “regenerated," as it is said; being begotten a second time, and by the same Holy Spirit to which the birth of the Only begotten Son is attributed: the said Holy Spirit being also named perhaps the Spirit of adoption from this circumstance ;
whereby (says the apostle) we cry Abba, Father” (Rom. viii. 15) to God. Neither
*3, Would it serve to shew that this particular Son, enjoyed an advantage over “ his many" brethren in some other respect; as, for example, in respect of the simplicity,
legitimacy, or seniority of his production; perchance as being born in a better likeness or constitution, or more lawfully, or in the first degree instead of the second, third or any other from the founder of the family; as if we should say,
*4, That every righteous man is born of God; but this particularly so born, as being particularly righteous : or, this one was more particularly the Son of God as being more divine than others. For both these respects are comparative: and we must have something free of comparison, to make a decided peculiarity.
*5, We know that some have been considered as only sons among men, when there were others, solely on account of their legitimacy: but in this respect or circumstance too there is room for a correlative, if there be none for a comparison. Sons, for example, must be either legitimate or not, and one who is legitimate, as much so as another. Thus the birth of Isaac was not as one should
say, more legitimate than the birth of Ishmael; for while neither of the said births happened to be criminal, the one was legitimate, and the other not. Hence that saying of God to Abraham, “ Take now thy son, THINE ONLY SON, Isaac, whom thou lovest, &c.” (Gen. xxii. 2). And if Abraham had had more sons after the same manner as Ishmael, and loved them all like Isaac, in the eye of the law he would still have had only this one, and this would have been his only heir : which was the ground of Sarah's demand, “ Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son” (Ib. xxi. 10)—a demand that God approved (Ib. 12). So far then a son might seem Only indeed, if he were the only legitimate: but St. Paul, on the other hand, has cited this identical authority in one place (Gal. iv. 22, &c.) to insinuate the community of our eternal inheritance with Christ; as if the children of God were all equal in this respect. He says, “ If children, then heirs : heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ” (Rom. viii. 17). So Jacob and Esau were children of Abraham, and joint heirs with Isaac: so were the twelve patriarchs, and so are all their legitimate descendants children of Abraham, and joint heirs with Isaac after the promise ; unless they forfeit their inheritance by a breach of covenant, and no “repairer of the breach" (Isai. lviii. 12) come near,“ to build the old waste places, to raise up the foundations of many generations,” and restore their name.
Therefore it is not legitimacy alone, any more than excellence in righteousness or divinity, that can establish for the Subject that peculiarity which entitles him to the appellation of Only Son. And if we think to find it in
*6, A priority of birth, whether by degree or by seniority, we shall be equally mistaken. For there are two ways of dating lives in reference to a divine original, namely from the begetting or conception, and from the birth or production of the subject: and understanding all the conceptions of the Creator to be eternal like himself, we know, that still to every eternal conception there will be different grades and gestations : productions of the longest gestation being also generally of the highest grade. Celestial orders as well as individuals, and those adapted also to every station, may turn out successively from the purpose of the Creator as it glides through eternity; not at the time of their conception, for that is no time, but at the times for which they are conceived in the divine purpose-every order and individual with its own particular nativity dating from its appearance on the stage of life, and no two of them punctually coeval. As therefore we should consider it no disparagement for the subject to be born into the world after his inferiors,—for the same is no more than befel our primogenitor Adam with relation to the inferior creatures according to the joint testimony of Revelation and science; so neither would there seem to a disprejudiced mind the sought for peculiarity, or a literal seniority either, in that sort of priority alone, whatever others may think. For some thinking to find a peculiarity that might suit their prejudices, instead of submitting their judgments to