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What puts this matter wholly beyond dispute is, that the apostles did not only make it the same, to believe in Jesus Christ and the Son of God; but they teach it as an express article of his religion, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." Whosoever* shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. Whosoevert believeth that Jesus is the CHRIST, is born of God. These are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the CHRIST, the Son of God. Whoß is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that JESUS CHRIST is the Son of God? This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus CHRIST. And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he ruised from the dead, Even Jesus, who delivered us from the wrath to come.” Here is plain divine testimony in abundance, expreseed in as strong terms as language will bear.
From these particulars, and many other that might be mentioned on this head, it plainly appears, that whatever is said of Jesus Christ, is also said of the Son of God. The writers of the new testament knew no such difference in the use of these terms, as writers after them have invented: and seeing all things concerning the economy of salvation, are particularly attributed to the Son of (rod, we must either admit that he is called Son with reference to that economy, or that the account the apostles have given of him, is extremely dark and perplexed;-very unlike the plainness and simplicity of the men,--and more unworthy the wisdom and goodness of the divine Spirit that inspired them.
# 1 Jobo iv. 15.
John xx. 31. § 1 John v. 5, 6,
|| 1 Thess. i. 10.
Perhaps it will be said, (which is the last shift of such as love to deal in mysteries) that there is a metonomy in each of these texts, or one name put for another. If this is so, then there is more than one half of all the religion in the new testament, under the veil of tropes and figures: and so we can understand nothing concerning the Son of God, our Redeemer, and the way of salvation through him, but by the assistance of antonomasia, and other rhetorical figures. This at once destroys that well-grounded maxim among christians: “That all things necessary to salvation, are simple, plain, easy to be understood, and clearly revealed in the word of God.” If this is denied, which it must be if the other is maintained, then the bible is no longer of universal use to mankind; the illiterate must implicitly believe what the learned critic and logician are pleased to say is the sense of every text in revelation.
6. Another argument may be taken from the several parts of that character, in which the Son of God represents himself, when inditing the seven short epistles which John wrote to the Asian churches. The whole, he challenges to himself as the Son of God—“ These things write, saith the Son of God.” If any unprejudiced reader will consult the first three chapters of the revelation of Jesus Christ to John, * he will clearly see from the other parts of his character there mentioned, in what sense he calls himself the Son of God.
It is the same Jesus Christ, “ the faithful witness, the first begotten of the dead, and the prince
• This would be a more proper title to the book, tban what it commonly bears, viz. “ The Revelation of St. John the divine." For the first words of the book tell us, that it was “the revelation of Jesus CHRIST,"
of the kings of the earth. He that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father;-behold he cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see him, and they who pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him.” The same who John saw in the midst of the candlesticks, of whom he gives such a glorious description, every part of which strictly belongs to his economical character. “I saw one like the son of man clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle: his head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; and his feet like unto fine brass; as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.–Out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shining in his strength.” John's description being finished, mark what he immediately says of himself."-" I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and behold, I am alive for evermore, amen; and have the keys of hell and of death."
To the Philadelphian church he says, hold, I come quickly,-him that overcometh, will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and MY NEW NAME.” To Thyatira he says, *“ That which ye have already, hold fast till i come: and he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations,—even as I received of my Father.” It is very evident from these, and many other expressions, in what sense he calls himself the Son of God in these epistles.
Indeed several parts of the descriptions clearly point out his proper Deity, which tends to illus trate my argument; for as they are connected with others, which must be limited to his complex character and offices, and all said of the saine person, the whole must be taken as a description of Emanuel the Savior, or it is impossible to form any just ideas from this sacred account of him, which, I conceive, is the most striking of any we have in revelation, and represents him as Emanuel, the Son of God, in the clearest point of view.
7. One very clear argument may be taken from the Son being called the “ image of the invisible God.” I confess this is generally brought as an argument to prove that he is the Son, as he is God, the inconsistency of which, I shall consider afterwards. In the mean time, let us see how far this part of his filial character is an argument for our present purpose.
Jesus Christ may be called the image of God, in the three following respects. 1. As man, his human soul being the holiest, wisest, best, and first of all created spirits, made like God in the greatest perfection possible for a creature. All the natural and moral perfections in the whole creation put together are not equal to what the human nature of the Son of God is possessed of: “ For in all things he must have the pre-eminence.”. In this respect, he
may be called the image of God. But 2. And more properly, as this glorious human nature is united to Deity: in this respect, the perfections of God himself shine through his Son, in the most resplendent manner as EMANUEL. In this sense, the apostle says, with the utmost propriety, “ He is the brightness of glory, and the express image of the invisible God; thus, the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, shines in the face of his Son Jesus CHRIST. 3. He is the image of God, as he reveals God to men, in the character of his ambassador and representative; he represented God in the whole of the old testament economy, and by his works shewed his power under the new; he is vested with sovereign dominion over all things in heaven and earth,-is appointed heir and Lord of all things,—the King of kings and Lord of lords. As Adam, in his dominion over the creatures, was the image of God, much more is the Son of God, the glorious image of God, in his sovereign dominion over the upper and lower worlds.
All the moral perfections of God are manifested by him. “No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.-All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are in him. The fulness of Deity dwells in him bodily.” His character is the brightest display of divine perfections. As the law of God in its utmost latitude was in his heart,-his life is an exact representation of its goodness and extent,-bis death, a most striking image and declaration of the strictness, holiness, and spiritual extent thereof: his laws and government are a display of the wisdom, power, equity, and goodness of God: out of his fulness the saints receive the abundant grace of God; to them " he is made of God, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.” The certain accomplishment of all the promises of God,--and his threatenings upon his own, and his people's enemies, is a clear manifestation of the truth, justice, and unchangeableness of God.—His appearing in the midst of the throne of God, as the slain lamb, is a living, everlasting image of the infinite love and nuercy of God, in the sending and sufferings of his beloved Son.