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the FATHER, and on the part of the Son. With this view, also, agree all the predictions respecting what the Son should do and suffer; all the promises of Divine assistance and support ; all that is said by Christ of himself, of his dependence, his derived fulness and authority ; and all that is said by the Apostles respectiug the fulness of the Go lhead dwelling in him; and of the power and authority which Christ received of God as Savior, Judge, and Lord of all. We have no occasion for any forced or unnatural construction of any of these numerous passages of Scripture ; nor have we any occasion to frame and invent hypotheses which contradict the plain import of Scripture language, and finally involve us in contradiction and absurdity.
Is it not, Sir, a truth, that the personal self-existence of the Son of God has been too hastily established as an article of Christian faith ?-established as an article of such unquestion ble truth and infinite importance, that every opposing passage of Scripture must be made to bend to it, or brerk before it? And that too wh le the general tenor of Scripture language and Scripture representations are, according to the most natural import of words, directly opposed to the idea ? Yea, with a view to glorify Christ with the attributes of personal self-existence and independence, have not hypothest's been formed which imply a sacrifice of the solemn realities of the covenant of redemption, and of the obedience and death of the SON OF GUD? And in attempting to support this one doctrine, have not the plainest and most simple representations of Scripture, and even the whole Gospel scheme, been involved in mystery and obscurity ? Surely, Sir, before we allow any doctrine such a share of importance, we ought, at least, seriously to inquire whether it be founded in the word of God.
As the doctrine of the personal self-existence of the Son of God has long been a popular doctrine, have we not on that grour.d received it as true, and made it our business to support the doctrine before we examined it by the light of God's word? And instead of making the Scriptures a STANDARD by which to measure the doctrine, have we not been in the habit of making the doctrine a STANDARD by which to measure the Scriptures ?
Will you, Sir, still urge that Christ cannot be a Divine Person unless he be self-existent ? By what authority, or
by what analogy, will you be able to support such an objece tion ? Nothing more was necessary to constitute Seth a human Person, than being the son of a human Person.. And if God be a Divine Person, his own Son must be a Divine Person. According to everv analogy in nature, to affirm that Jesus Christ is God's own Son implies that he is. a PERSON TRULY DIVINE.
Thoughts on the Mijesty of the Son of God; his SIMPLE
and his COMPLEX character.
WE may view Jesus Christ as originally the Son of God, having derived his existence truly from the Father. Yet at the period when this world was created, the Son, as a Son, and without any special indwelling of the Father, might possess powers far transcending all human conception. Should it be supposed, that at his first existence as the Son of God, he was but an infant in knowledge and might, yet, prior to the creation of the world, he might have existed a portion of duration equal to millions of such periods as that from the commencement of time to the present day. If then we should, for the present, set aside the consideration of his having derived his nature and capacity from God as a Son from a Father, and suppose that he possessed no greater capacity or advantages for acquiring knowledge than were possessed by Sir Isaac Newton, and also that his progress in knowledge during that immense term of duration was in exact proportion to the progress
of Newton during the period of his life, the knowledge of the Son of God, at the time of creation, would be as far above our conceptions as the heavens arę higher than the earth.
To this inconceivable fund of knowledge we may add all which would naturally result from his deriving his nature and capacity from God as a Son from a Father ; and all which would result from his being all that term of duration under the immediate tuition of an omniscient Father, “as one brought up with him," a Father who “ love
eth the Son, and showeth him all things that himself doeth." These considerations might be allowed to increase the sum of knowledge ten thousand fold. Let it further be admitted, that the strength or might of the Son increased in exact proportion to his knowledge ; then, by his own natural sufficiency, he might, at the time of creation, have been able to move and manage such a globe as we inhabit, with as much ease as we can move an orange or a foot-ball. And if it may be admitted, that the real or influential presence of an unembodied spirit may, at pleasure, be expanded or extended in proportion to his knowledge, the Son of God might be omnipresent with respect to every portion of created existence.
Such amazing majesty we may rationally suppose the Son of God possessed prior to creation, considered simply as the Son of God. But this inconceivable greatness, it appears, was not suffi ient to constitute the Son the CreATOR without the addition of the fulness of the Godhead : For “ God created all things by Jesus Christ ;" and for this purpose, as well as others, we may suppose that God dwelt in his Son by his own infinite fulness or all-sufficiency. By this indwelling of Divine fulness, the Son was constituted ALL-SUFFICIENT, but not independent. The Father in him did the work. And it is just as easy to conceive that God should manifest his creative sufficiency through the Son as a Medium of display, as in any other possible manner.
But by the indwelling of the fulness of the Godhead, the Son may be considered as possessing a complex character. To the derived existence and natural fulness of the Son, is united the self-existent fulness of the Godhead.
When the Son of God became incarnate, he became poor for our sakes ; he in a sense began his existence anew : he laid aside the form of God, and became the Son of man in an infant state. By becoming incarnate, it appears that the Son of God was, for a time, divested not only of the fulness of the Godhead, but of his own natural fulness as the Son of God: so that the treasures which he lost by incarnation were to be re-acquired or re-communicated. And on this ground, we may account for what is said of his increasing in wisdom, and for all that is recorded which implied any defect in his knowledge.
What has been published and circulated through this country, of the Rev. William Tennant, respecting
his revival from a state of apparent death, and having to re-learn what he had learned before his supposed decease, may in some measure illustrate my idea of what was the consequence of the incarnation of the Son of God.
Now, Sir, if the Son of God did possess such a state of pre-existent glory and dignity as has been described, and from that state did voluntarily consent to such a scene of abasement as is implied in his incarnation, suffering, and death, is it possible for us to conceive of greater love and condescension than has been displayed in opening the way for our salvation ? And what more than a mere show of such affecting realities does your theory support? It is my. prevailing expectation, that more persons will reject the theory contained in these Letters, on the ground of the greatness and reality of the abasement implied in it, than
ground whatever. But we ought not to forget, that in proportion to the greatness of the real abasement, is the greatness of Divine love as displayed in our redemption-If the degree of real abasement was small, so small was the display of Divine love. And if there were only a show of the abasement of the Son of God, there was no more than a show of Divine condescension and love.
The Son of God, in union with a human body, was truly a complex object; in which two natures were united in one Person. He possessed Divine nature as the Son or God, and human nature as the Son of man. Thus the MEDIATOR between God and Men was a Son to both parties.
But the character of Christ in his incarnate státe, was not only complex by reason of the union of that nature which he derived from God as a Son, with that which he derived as the Son of man; but, while in the flesh, he was supernaturally endued by the indwelling of the Father or the Holy Spirit. For to the indwelling of the Father he ascribed the mighty works which he performed. And as God dwelt in him while he dwelt in the flesh, “ God was. manifested in the flesh.”
We may moreover observe, that the character of the Son of God was officially complex. As the son of a King possesses royal dignity by royal descent, prior to the consideration of any particular office, so we may consider the Son of God as possessing Divine dignity by Divine descent,
antecedently to his being invested with any particular office. But when he was invested with offices, his character became complex by reason of his offices. And as his offices were numerous, his official character was very complex.
On the ground of the complex character of Christ, we may rationally account for the numerous names and titles which are given to him in the Scriptures. This extraordinary Person is called The Son of God, The First Begotten, The Only Begotten Son, The Heir of all things, The First-born of every creature, The Branch, The Beginning of the creation of God, A Man, The Son of Man, David, The Son of David, The Stem of Jesse, The Root and the Offspring of David, The bright and morning Star, The Angel of the Lord, The Angel of God's Presence, The Messenger of the Covenant, The Archangel, Shi oh, Mi: chael, Messiah, Wisdom, The Word of God, Jesus Christ, A Prophet, The High Priest, King, Lord, King of kings, Lord of lords, God's Servant, The Lamb of God, The Amen, The faithful and true Witness, The Alpha and Omega, The Sun of Righteousness, The Light of the World, The Bread of Life, The Chief Corner Stone, The Holy One of God, The Lion of the tribe of Judah, Shepherd, Bridegroom, Mediator, Redeemer, Savior, Advocate, Emmanuel, God, The Prince of Peace, The Image of the invisible God, The Lord our Righteousness.
These and many more names and titles are given to the Son of God, to one individual Person. Several of these names may be of the same or nearly the same import; yet such a diversity of ideas are naturally suggested by these various names, that if there be any propriety in their application, they must denote that the character of the Person was, in a high degree, complex.. For while it is admitted that several of these names or titles
may be classed together, as importing about the same thing, it must be observed of the most of them, that each contains some idea distinct from any other, And between some of these titles and others, there is such a perfect contrast, as can be accounted for on no other ground than that of a complex character, together with the supposition that the same Person has been in different situations and conditions. And it
may be presumed, that there is no other Person in the universe, to whom all these names and titles may be applied, but to one who is truly the Son of Gode