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Father and Son.-But, the ftrength of the evidence lies in the matter of fact; for as Jefus Chrift was made a Son, and one with the Father, by that commandment which sent him into the world, and by that love and glory which was given to him; so Christ here fpeaks of his people, as being in like manner fent into the world, verfe 18. and prays that they may be glorified with him; which, of course, makes them fons of God, one with each other, and one with him and the Father, even as the Father and Son are
OBJECTIONS TO THE STATEMENT AND DEFINITION CONSIDERED.
It is neceffary, in this place, to attend to fome objections which may arife to the foregoing Statement and Definition.
1. It may be objected, that, although in the paffages quoted, an union of will, fuch as fubfifts between Chrift and believers, be clearly intended; yet an union of another nature, as fubfifting between Chrift and God, is alfo taught in the fcriptures. To which I reply-If these, and fuch like paffages be given up, where are the texts upon which the fentiment of a myflerious union is to be founded? Thefe are the texts which have generally been used to fupport the fentiment; and if they be found to mean no more than a relation of will, the mysterious fenfe of the di
vine union of Father and Son must be relinquished, as having no fupport from the scrip
2. If the divine relation of Father and Son be the fame in its nature with that which subfifts between God and believers, why is Jefus Chrift called the only begotten of the Father? The fcriptures furnifh us with a clear anfwer to this question; for though the relations be the fame in their nature, they differ essentially in respect of their being_mediate or immediate.-Believers come to God mediately through Chrift; and, therefore, are children and united to the Father secondarily, and only as they are united to Chrift; but the Lord Jefus Chrift is the immediate fubject of the divine will; and, therefore, alone the Son of the Father, in a firft and immediate union; this may be seen in the following paffages,
No man hath feen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bofom of the Father, he hath declared him, John i.-He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that fent me. John xii.-I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh unto the Father but by me. John xiv.-If ye keep my commandments, ye fhall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. John xvii. -Whofoever denieth the Son, the fame hath not the Father; but he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father alfo.-If that which ye have heard from the beginning fhall remain in you ye alfo fhall continue in the Son, and in
the Father. 1 John ii.-And this is the record that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.-He that hath the Son of God hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 1 John v.-Whofoever tranfgreffeth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Chrift, hath not God; he that abideth in the doctrine of Chrift, he hath both the Father and the Son. 2 John.
Inafmuch, therefore, as Jefus Chrift is in the bofom of the Father, united to him by his commandment and love, immediately; which divine will being eternal, implies, as has been fhewn, that this generation, which is the immediate fruit of it, is alfo eternal, or before the world was; and, as believers come to the Father only through Jefus Chrift, receive the commandment in him, and are beloved for his fake; for the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and believed that I came out from God. John xvi. And alfo, as this generation, or our being born of the will of God through Christ, must be the fruit of his manifeftation, and can only take place in time; we fee the propriety of his being diftinguifhed as the only begotten Son of God, and the objection is answered.
3. Jefus Chrift is called the Son of God on account of his being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghoft, Luke i. Therefore alfo that holy thing which fhall be born of thee, fhall be called the Son of God.-Anf. It is admitted that Jefus Chrift is to be confidcred as the Son of God on this account, the fame as that natural offspring are called chil,
dren; but ftill the voluntary is maintained to be the high and decifive fenfe to which every other import of the word muft yield.-This may be illuftrated by the matter of his temptations in the wildernefs.-Satan defigned there to beguile Chrift upon this ground; If thou be the Son of God, &c. as though this truth could be proved by fome evidence, other than that of his obedience to God; but he defeated the tempter, and proved to his face that he was the Son of God; not by afferting the fact of his miraculous conception, or giving the evidence of any miraculous power in him; but, merely, by thewing his perfect filial character in obedience to the divine will; for this indeed, was the great and decisive evidence. This truth may allo be illuftrated in the Hiftory of the Seed of Abraham, who were children of the promifes; the people Ifrael were owned of God, and called his Son, his firft-born, and heirs of the promised Canaan, on account of their natural defcent from Abraham; but, after all, if they did not prove themselves children of God in the voluntary fenfe, but, on the contrary, evinced a spirit of stubbornness and rebellion, they were ever difowned and difinherited.
As the obedient well-pleafing character conftitutes the great effential of the relation of a fon; in wills and legal teftaments, even when the heir is a natural and legitimate child, the ideas of his being well-pleafing and beloved, are commonly inferted to exprefs the fitnefs of the heirthip and will.
Hence, the Father, in his teftament, fixed on this ground of voluntary relation, sayingThis is my beloved Son, in whom I am will pleafed.
It may alfo be remarked respecting the name Son being given to Chrift, on account of his being conceived by the power of the Higheft, that the Holy Ghoft is not only the power or spirit of the Father, but is alfo the Spirit of the Son, or the divine filial fpirit, and, therefore, is infeparable from the very truth in which confifted his fonfhip in the voFuntary fenfe; this is therefore fo far from be ing an objection, that it rather confirms our understanding of the great import of the name Son of God. And by examining and comparing the fcriptures, will it not appear also, that the name Son of Man imports the truth of thofe voluntary relations; firft, of his being obedient, or a fervant to man; and, fecondly, of his being, as the heir of David, Lord of all, rather than the circumstance merely, of his having taken the human nature?
4. It is objected, that, in confidering what composes the divine will as the fubject of the doctrine of a Trinity, the attribute is miftaken for the Being. That a will to use a scholaftic word, implies a fubftratum, which, and not the will, ought to be confidered as the being; and, therefore, though the doctrine of a Trinity be difcovered and cleared in the matter of the divine will, yet the subject of a Trinity in the Godhead, or Divine Being, is not reached.