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John xvii. 1-3. "These words spake Jesus, and lift up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come, glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee. As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."
Our Lord therefore, we see, prays to God, even the Father, his Father, and our Father, God, and our God." John xx. 17. And gives to him the character of "the only true God."
It might be here not improperly observed farther, that God, even the Father, is he, in whose name, and by whose authority our Lord professed to act, whose will he did, to whom he resigned himself, whose glory ultimately, and above all things, he sought, and not his own.
John v. 30. "I can of my ownself do nothing. "As I hear I judge. And my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will, but the will of the Father which sent me." Ver. 36. "But I have greater witness than that of John. For the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me." Ver. 43. "I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not."
John vii. 16. "Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.' John xii. 49. "For I have not spoken of myself. But the Father which sent me, he gave me commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak."
The apostles of Christ were unanimous, and after their Lord's resurrection and ascension to heaven, pray, and preach as he had done.
Acts iii. 12, 13. After the healing of the lame man that sat at the gate of the temple, the people ran together to Peter and John. "When Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this ?The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus, whom ye delivered up." It is the God of the patriarchs and prophets, in whose name they act, by whom, they supposed, their miracles were wrought, for confirming the authority and doctrine of Jesus.
Afterwards, when delivered from a great danger, Acts iv. 23-30. "And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them. And when they heard that, they lifted up their voices to God, and said, Lord, thou art God who hast made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all that is therein-And now, Lord, behold their threatenings, and grant unto thy servants that with all boldness they may speak thy word, by stretching forth thy hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child," servant," Jesus." And ch. v. 29-31, before the whole Jewish council: "Then Peter and the other apostles answered, and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand, to be a Prince and a Šaviour, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins."
Thus they ascribe the gospel dispensation to the one God, creator of heaven and earth, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and of the people of Israel.
To the same God the apostles offer up prayers and praises in their epistles.
Says St. Paul, Eph. iii. 14. "For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ-And St. Peter, 1 Ep. i. 3. “ Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ". -Eph. v. 20. " Giving thanks always for all things unto God, even the Father, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
In many other places of their epistles the apostles expressly teach, that there is but one God, even the Father.
1 Cor. viii. 4, 5, 6. "We know that an idol is nothing, and that there is none other God but one. For though there be, that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth (as there be gods many, and lords many) yet to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him, and one Lord Jesus Christ, [by whom are all things,] and we by him."
2 Cor. xi. 31. "The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ: or God even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not."
1 Tim. i. 17. “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, and invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever."
1 Tim. vi. 15, 16. "Which in his time he shall shew, who is the blessed and only poten
tate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords, who only hath immortality-To whom be honour and power everlasting."
Jude v. 25. "To the only wise God, our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, now and ever."
Eph. iv. 5, 6. "There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all."
And in this second chapter of the epistle to the Philippians we are assured, that our Lord has been exalted, "that every tongue should confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
From all which it is concluded, that there is one God, even the Father.
In the next place we are to observe, what is the sentiment of these persons concerning our blessed Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.
And, in short, their sentiment is, that he is a man, with a reasonable soul and human body, especially favoured of God.
Of which there are these proofs. He was born of a woman.
We have an account of our Lord's nativity in two evangelists, both agreeing, that he was born of a virgin, and "conceived by the Holy Ghost," as it is expressed in the apostle's creed, Matt. i. 18-25. "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise. When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost,-Joseph, her husband, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him, in a dream, saying: Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife. For that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son. And thou shalt call his name Jesus-Then Joseph, being raised from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him; and took unto him his wife. And knew her not till she had brought forth her first-born son. And he called his name Jesus."
St. Luke i. 26-38. "The angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin, espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary-And the angel said unto her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found favour with God. And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest. And the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David." Must not this be reckoned full proof, that Jesus was a man, and that it was designed to represent him to us as such? Not made as Adam, but born of a woman; not in the ordinary way of generation, but of a virgin, by the immediate operation and miraculous power of God. See Luke i. 35. Nor may it be amiss to observe here, that in the forecited evangelists are two pedigrees of Jesus: one carrying his genealogy up to David, and Abraham, the other as high as to Adam: to satisfy us of his humanity, and to show the fulfilment of the divine promises concerning the great person who was to come, and that Jesus was "the seed of the woman," who should bruise the serpent's head: "the seed of Abraham," in whom all the families of the earth should be blessed, and the "son of David," in whom the everlasting kingdom, promised to that patriarch, should be established.
Jesus likewise, being a man, experienced many dangers in the time of his infancy. Notwithstanding which his life was wonderfully preserved. Being returned safe from Egypt, Joseph and Mary settled again in Galilee, in their own city Nazareth. And it is observed by St. Luke ii.
"And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him." The same evangelist also having given an account of his going with his parents to Jerusalem at the feast of the passover, when he was twelve years of age, adds: ch. ii. 51, 52. "That he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them--And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man."
It might be observed, that when our Lord appeared publicly in the world, and by his words and works showed himself to be the Messiah, he called himself "the son of man" and they who believed in him, respectfully addressed to him in the character of "the son of David.”
• Το δε παιδίον ηύξανε.
Through the whole course of his ministry we perceive him to have had all the innocent infirmities of human nature. In the end he died, and was raised from the dead, in testimony to the truth of the important doctrine taught by him, and as a pattern of that resurrection, of which he assured his faithful followers.
St. Peter preaching to the Jews at Jerusalem, soon after our Lord's resurrection and ascension, says, Acts ii. 22. "Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you, by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know-him God hath raised up."
St. Paul preaching at Athens says, Acts xvii. 31. "God hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained."
Gal. iv. 4. "When the fulness of time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law."
1 Tim. ii. 5. "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.”
2 Tim. ii. 8. "Remember, that Jesus Christ of the seed of David, was raised from the dead, according to my gospel."
The apostle to the Hebrews (a great part of whose design in that epistle is to represent the great dignity of Jesus above Moses, and as exalted highly after his resurrection, and ascension to heaven) does as clearly and fully assert the human nature of Jesus, as any writer of the New Testament.
The argument in Heb. ii. 14-18, must be understood to imply true and perfect humanity, of soul as well as body. "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same: that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil: and deliver them, who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels. But he took on him the seed of Abraham." The meaning is, for he is not the deliverer of angels, but of the seed of Abraham. "Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest, in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath been tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted:" or in ch. iv. 15. "For we have not an high priest, which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities: but was in all things tempted like as we are, yet without sin." In order to be tempted like as we are, he must have been like us, having a reasonable [human] soul and [human] body.
The apostle likewise in the former part of that second chapter of the epistle to the Hebrews goes upon the supposition of the Lord Jesus being a man, ver. 5-9. "For unto the angels has he not put in subjection the world to come, of which we speak: but one in a certain place," meaning Ps. viii. "testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels: thou crownedst 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,
'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 sanc'tifieth, 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.
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 sub'stance from heaven. But he is the son of man, one de'scended from the loins of Adam, as we are. And so does 'redeem us, not only jure proprietatis, by virtue of his inte' rest 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.
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, 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. Word was made flesh, and dwelled 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 prophesy. 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 superangelical 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.
How Jesus is the Son of God, has been shewn formerly. I rehearse here briefly only. He
See Pages 197 and 200..
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 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 to be only 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 manifestation.
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 dæmons, no doubt the kingdom of God is come unto you.' In Matt. xii. 28. "But if I cast out dæmons 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 anong 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,