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heirs with Christ. This will appear still more obvious, by a little attention to the different characters and privileges of the saints, as sons of God, all which have relation to some name, appellation, or office given to Christ in scripture. Are they called the redeemed, ransomed, saved, purchased ? Or, is redemption, salvation, and liberty, their privileges ? He bears the names and offices of kinsman, redeemer, Savior, good, &c. Are they called bride, spouse, flock, &c.? He is the bridegroom, husband, shepherd, &c. Are they begotten of God? He is the only begotten Son of God. Are they sons and children? He is the holy child, Jesus, the beloved Son of God.
Now if these, and all the other privileges of the saints, refer to, or flow from some one part or other of the coinplex character of Emanuel, as they indisputably do, why should not this of their being sons of God, have a reference to him under the same consideration? There is a strict analogy betwixt the sonship of believers, and the sonship of Christ in his economical character. They are in some measure reciprocal and correlative, as the existence of the one depends upon the existence of the other. They are both of the same family,—both heirs of the same inheritance: he is not ashamed to call them brethren,—and the same God is tlie Father of both. Hence he
says, “I ascend to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.
But no one can have the least idea of any analogy or connection betwixt the sonship of saints, and an eternal, natural, and necessary sonship. It is not because God is eternally, naturally, and necessarily holy, just, and good, that his people are made holy, just, and good; but because he hath of his sovereign love and good pleasure made them so in his Son Jesus Christ. All that the saints enjoy, flow from the free will of God, and not from necessity in his nature, which would be the consequence if their sonship depended upon a natural sonship in Christ.
I must now consider some texts, from which arguments are drawn against the doctrine I have been endeavoring to maintain: and, I presume the impartial reader will see, not only how little they are against this sense of Christ's sonship; but how easily the texts may be accommodated to the support of it; and therefore may be considered as so many more arguments in its defence.
Object. The objection that most weight seems to be laid on, is taken from what the apostle says, “ Moses* verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant. But Christ, as a Son, over his own house: whose house are we. From which it is thus argued, that to limit the sonship of Christ to his complex character as Emanuel, must destroy the distinction betwixt Christ, as a Son, and as a serVANT, and spoil the beauty of the antithesis betwixt Moses and Christ in this passage.”
Ans. It has been made manifest above, that to believe in Jesus Christ, and to believe in the Son of God, are of the same import; both must include his complex character. So to behold him as a servant, which we are commanded to do,—“Behold, t my servant, whom I uphold,”—must be of the same import with beholding him as the Lamb of God, and hearing or believing in him as the Son of God in new testament language.-“ Beholds the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world.This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.” In all these characters, he is the object of our faith, and the security of our salvation: for the consideration of faith in Christ, as it respects salvation, must include the consideration of his complex character, whether he be viewed as a Son, a servant, a Savior, or whatever other name the scriptures represent him under to us, as in that character he finished salvation for us, and also bestows it upon us.
* Heb, iii. 5, 6.
+ Isa. xlii. 1.
I John i. 29
His being called a servant, points out the abased condition he humbled himself unto, in going through the work of our salvation; in which, though he as EMANUEL, was rich in the enjoyment of all that is divine,-in him were hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, --in him dwelt the fulness of Deity bodily,—he was the bright representation of JEHOVAH's glory yet for our sakes, he made himself of no reputation,-became so poor, as to be more destitute than the beasts of the earth,—calling himself a worm, and no man,having no form or comeliness why he should be desired, -despised, and rejected of men, a man of sorrow, and acquainted with grief,—was wounded, bruised, oppressed, afflicted, and at last humbled to the dust of death. Thus EMANUEL's glory, whọ was in the form of God, and thought it no robbery to assume the names, the glory, the worship of God, was veiled, and appeared in the form of a servant, upheld by the arm of God in the infinite work of man's salvation, who now (his servitude in suffering work being finished) “ hath crowned him with glory and honor, far above all principality and power, might and dominion, &c. And hath put all things under his feet, and given him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all."
To answer the objection, we need go no further than the text on which it is founded, which makes directly against it; and will be found one of the plainest arguments in favor of Christ's economical sonship. The text says, it is as a Son, that Christ is over his own house. By the house here, must be meant the church, over which he is the governor and head. His right to rule, and the special relation he hath to the church as a Son, is expressed in its being called his own. The antithesis is not betwixt Christ as a Son, and a servant, as the objection would insinuate; but betwixt Moses as a servant and Christ as a Son. The former is highly commended for his faithfulness as a servant: but Christ Jesus, says the apostle, was counted worthy of more,glory than Moses, not only because he was faithful to him that appointed him the apostle and high priest of our profession, but because he had built the house, and being a Son, the first-born, the right of rule and inheriting was his over his own house, which he had this double right unto.
Now in whatever light we view Christ's relation to the church, whether as their head, goal, kinsman, and redeemer: or as their prophet, priest, king, &c. we must include the consideration of his complex character. For the consideration of his being clothed with human nature, actually, or proteptically by participation, is the foundation of his relation to the church, as the members of his body chosen in him, and his right as their goal to redeem them; therefore, the sonship in the text, must have a respect to him as EMANUEL, seeing it is in that character he is related to the church, and a Son over it as his own HOUSE.
But to suppose Christ's sonship in the text to signify (as the objectors would have it) his Deity. abstractedly, makes the passage wholly unintelligible to us. As a Son, he has a special right and
relation to the church, as his own house; but what relation can we suppose any of the divine three hath abstractedly, more than another? Hath absolute Deity (which is what we know nothing about) any
relation to creatures at all? or is it essential to the Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ to be the head of the church? Once to suppose this (which yet is an idea inseparable from their notion of sonship) would be to destroy the sovereignty of JehoVAH's love, in choosing the church in Christ: and the sovereign, voluntary condescension of EMANUEL, in becoming the head, husband, and redeemer of his church. Under that character, he is her head, and s she his members. Absolute Deity, for ought we know, is at an absolute distance from any connection with, or relation to the creature, in any sense whatever.
As we ought not to conceive notions of God that are not revealed; neither should we too critically distinguish the revealed names and characters of the glorious Emanuel; but rather believe, and humbly admire his infinite condescension, in becoming so suitably related to us in his complex character as EMANUEL, in which he exhibits the divine glory and perfections, -executes all the divine purposes concerning men,-and is the glorious medium through which the love, grace, and glory of JEHOVAH are, and shall for ever be manifested to his chosen. Thus he is revealed, and so they believe, and shall for ever behold the Son of God in divine refulgence, having all things subdued unto him, who, himself as a Son, “ shall be subject, or placed in order to him, that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.”
Object. Another objection is taken from these texts, where Christ, and Son of God, are both men