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Erasmus, Calvin, Melancthon, and many others say, that they express nothing more than unity of purpose and counsel or will. It may be admitted that the phrase v sivas expresses any kind of union, of purpose, affection, spirit, or nature. It depends entirely upon the connection in what sense it is to be taken in any particular passage. It is surely a presumption in favor of an unity of power and divinity be ing here intended, that the persons to whom these words were addressed so understood them. The whole drift of our Saviour's discourse impressed them with the idea that he meant to make himself God, (moieis deautov Deov,) an exposition which our Saviour does not refute but confirms. That the Jews understood him correctly, will appear from a view of the context. Jesus was walking in the porch of the Temple, when the Jews came and demanded, that he should tell them plainly whether he were the Christ or not. This he would not do; but referred them to his previous declarations and to his miracles. They neither believed the one nor the other, because they were not of his sheep; his sheep did hear his voice, and he gave to them eternal life, (is not this claiming to be God?) and they shall never perish. Why? because "none can pluck them out of my hand." But how is it that Christ can say of himself, that he gives eternal life and can protect his sheep against all their enemies? Because he and the Father are one, and he can do all that the Father does, his Father is greater than all. There is surely something more than unity of will or purpose here intended, it is unity of power; and if he and the Father are one in power, the Jews were certainly right in concluding that they must be one in nature. Εἰ δε ἓν κατα δυναμιν, Says the Greek commentator Euthymius, ἓν άρα και κατα την θεότητα και ούσιαν και φυσιν. Now what reply does our Master make to this accusation of the Jews, that he "made himself God?” He in the first instance makes no direct reply at all. He neither says that he was or was not God, but does what was
his frequent custom when questions were proposed to him, or objections started, and that is, turns the attention of his hearers to themselves, that they may notice the disposition whence their questions or objections arose, and then so turns his discourse, that all who had ears to hear, should find in what he said an answer to the question or solution of the difficulty proposed. Christ will convince the Jews of their stubborn unbelief, and perverse opposition to every thing he said. They objected to the fact, that he had called him. self God. Jesus does not explain in what sense he had done so, but says in effect, you would not be so ready to accuse me of blasphemy for this, if you were not bent on op position to me and my cause; for your own Scriptures call kings and magistrates Gods, and if the title can be given with propriety to divinely commissioned men, (πgos dus ô λoyos του Θεου έγένετο either to those who received commands of God and acted in his stead; or gos bug Mark xii. 12, Luke xii. 41, for regi av concerning whom this declaration of God is made,) surely it may be given in the same, if in no other sense, to the great personage whom God has selected, and set apart, (sanctified,) and sent into the world. But that I am the Son of God in a far higher sense, a sense which authorizes me to say "that I and the Father are one" v. 30, is plain from the fact, that I do the works of my Father, (the same divine and almighty works, raise the dead, heal the sick, execute judgment, see v. 32, and 37, c. xiv. 10,) if you will not believe me, believe these works and know that " I am in the Father and the Father in me." Were the Jews satisfied with this explanation? Did they imagine that he assumed the name Son of God as an official title, and that he meant no more by it than when applied to kings and magistrates? By no means, they saw that he used it in a sense, which involved equality with God, and they accord ingly immediately endeavored to seize him, but he escaped out of their hands.
There is another remark to be made on this passage, and that is, it is perfectly clear that Christ uses the terms God and Son of God, eos, and i vios tou sou, in exactly the same sense. The Jews said TOEIS deaurov sov thou makest thyself God, Christ replies, is it blasphemy to make myself the Son of God? Where it is evident, that making himself God and making himself the Son of God, are considered as precisely the same. The remark of Storr, therefore, on this passage is well founded, that God and Son of God are, as to Christ's meaning here synonomous.*
There are several other passages which might be adduced in support of the opinion which we are advocating, as Matt. ii. 27. and Heb. 1. but this our object does not demand, and our limits will not permit. We have already stated, that we purposed only to endeavor to show, that Christ is called Son of God, in reference to his divine nature, or in virtue of the eternal relation between himself and Father. If any one can prove that there are other reasons for his being so called, it militates nothing against the position which we have assumed. As the term, Son, is used in Scripture to express such a variety of relations, as dependence, derivation, similarity, community of nature, &c. there is no antecedentimprobability in Christ's being called the Son of God, not only because he is of the same nature with the Father, but also because he is the object of his peculiar love; because, as man he is derived from him and dependent on him. And if kings are called sons of God in the Old Testament, as the representatives of God, why then Christ, as the great Mediatorial King, may pre-eminently be called the Son of God. We say there is no antecedent improbability that this is the case; and if any one is satisfied that such is actually the fact, we should not be disposed to dispute the point. Still we confess ourselves unable to see the conclusiveness of the argument to
* Dass er der Sohn Gottes, order Gott sey-denn beides lief nach dem, von den Juden wol gefassten Sinn Jesu auf Eines hinaus. See Zweck der evang. Geschichte p. 467.
prove, that the Redeemer is called the Son of God, in virtue of his exaltation to the Mediatorial throne. This opinion, however, is a very general one, and is adopted by many who still believe in his being the Son of God in a far higher sense. For ourselves, however, seeing that this name is peculiar, in the New Testament at least, to Christ, (with the exception of Luke iii. 38, where the reason of its being applied to Adam is perfectly obvious,) and that it is used by Christ and his apostles in many instances, in direct reference to his relation as God, to the Father, we prefer considering this relation as the primary and most important, if not the sole ground of its application to him by inspired men, whenever they intend using it in any other than a mere historical manner. • Luke i. 35, may be an exception to this remark. In the great majority of instances, the phrase occurs merely as a designation of the Messiah. In the Old Testament, it was predicted that the Messiah was to be the Son of God. It was very natural therefore, that this name or title should be very common among those who were waiting for his appearance. Hence, when Nathaniel exclaimed, "Thou art the Son of God," he doubtless intended to say, Thou art the Messiah, and so in a multitude of cases. These passages, however, only prove that the Messiah was called the Son of God; not why he was so called. Our Saviour styling himself so frequently, the Son of man, informs us that this was a proper appellation for the great Deliverer, but gives us no information of the grounds of its application. This is a very distinct question.
The arguments which are commonly adduced to show that Son of God, as applied to Christ, is a title of office, and equivalent with Messiah, are principally the following. It is said, that in the Old Testament, kings and magistrates are called Sons of God. This is exceedingly rare. The passage in Ps. lxxxii. 6, is peculiar; Princes are here called ' as being objects of reverence, and Sons of the Highest, in the corresponding clause, may, in this instance,
receive the same meaning. But it is very far from being the common usage of the Scriptures, to call kings the Sons of God. And even if it were, this would prove very little as to the proper meaning of the phrase, Son of God, in the singular; as there is such a marked difference in the use of these expressions, throughout the Word of God. We are not prepar ed to say, that the term Son of God is never applied in the Old Testament, to any royal personage. But in the cases in which it is so applied, it does not express their royal dignity, but merely their being the objects of God's peculiar care and love. Thus, if 2 Sam. vii. 14, be referred to Solomon, (in any sense,) "I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son," the meaning obviously is, I will regard and treat him with peculiar favor. He shall be my child, and I will treat him accordingly. We should be at a loss to fix on any one instance, in which this phrase is expressive of the kingly office. Ps. lxxxix. 27, “I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth," can hardly be considered as a case in point. For the expression, "I will make him my first-born," means nothing more, than that I will treat him as "my first-born," that is, with peculiar favor. We think, therefore, that the argument from the Old Testament, is very far from being conclusive on this point. It seems hardly to afford a presumption in favor of the opinion, that Christ is called Son of God, on account of his dignity as Messiah.
Another argument is derived from the second Psalm, v. 7. "Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee." The first remark which we would make on this passage, is, that the second clause probably expresses no more than the first, Thou art my Son, this day, now, art thou my Son; now more clearly than ever. This is agreeable to a common characteristic of the Hebrew. So in Jeremiah, ii. 27. "Saying to a stock, thou art my father, and to a stone, thou hast begotten me."-And 2 Sam. vii. 14, "I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son." See also Deut. xxxii,