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respect of angels too, as well as men. “For (as it is justly demanded) unto which of the angels said He at any time so much?” (Heb. i. 5.) And if in another place there is a mention of other men, “which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man; but of God”. (John i. 13), which seems to be precisely the case of this Only One, it will appear from the preceding verse, that they were not born originally of God from the womb as he was, nor yet inflated with “ the breath of life” before they began to move, as Adam was, and as John the Baptist may be supposed to have been from his embryous testimony to the Subject (Luke i. 41),-being considered a remarkable distinction (Ibid. vii. 28); but that they were born of God by a second birth, and also through the Only Son, as before intimated.
*9, So ample a description therefore by the Word of God, and so many concurring circumstances might be thought sufficient to establish the peculiarity of the Subject and his title as The, or Only Son of God,--the only Son, the Son without a parallel. But this description and the circumstances it includes are only one part of his peculiarity, another more striking and considerable being founded on the prophecies relating to him and the consequent expectation of all by whom they were received. There was a Son foretold (Isai. ix. 6, &c.). THIS WAS THE SON.
Therefore, as St. Paul said of the Father, “ Though there be that are called Gods whether in Heaven or in earth; as there be gods (dubbed or spurious) many, and lords many, but to us One God, the Father; of whom are all things, and we in Him” (Cor. I. viii. 5,6); so we may say, Though there be that are called Sons of God, whether in Heaven or in earth, yet there is but One God the Son according to our acceptation of the title; “and One Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we (sons of God likewise) by him.” (Ibid.): “that he might be the first born among many brethren.” And as he is thus the only Son among many, so is he likewise the only Priest, Mediator and every thing of the kind, though he has made many (John iv. 37; Rev. i. 6). “And he is before all things; and by him all things consist.” He is the Only living man, because we live in him (John vi. 57; xiv. 19): he is the Only Image of God, and we are his glass to reflect that image (Cor. II. iii. 18): he is the Only Word of God; and we are his echo (John I. ii. 7); he is the only righteousness of God; and his righteousness only, ours (Jer. xxii. 5, 6). As the Son can do nothing of himself (John v. 19) ; so can we do nothing without him (Ib. xv. 5). He is the Only Holy (Rom i. 4); and his holiness, ours (John xvii. 19): he is the Only Glorious; and his glory ours (Luke ii. 32). “Thou only art holy; thou only art the Lord; thou only, O Christ with the Holy Ghost art most high in the glory of God the Father” (Gloria in Excelsis): God within as well as without; both generated and regenerated; the adopted, born and begotten Son of God: the only begotten, thrice born Son of God;"born of water and of the Spirit”; born in the womb of a blessed virgin, born in the womb of time, born in the womb of eternity.
Hereby may appear the peculiarity of this one among all the Sons of God, that were ever born into the world; whe- ; ther it were immediately by the Word, as with Adam, or, mediately through him likewise, as with all those of Adam's posterity who have the happiness to be-re-born. But we; shall still have a very imperfectidea of the Son's peculiarity, with its most important feature, if the same be not traced to a higher point than it has been yet; from man to angels, from earth to Heaven, from time to eternity. Sufficient data have already occurred incidentally, to shew that among the host of angels or intellectual spirits that are born of God without any alloy of matter, or any other alloy, besides the heavenly medium in which they subsist, and of which they so far consist, there is none like this, whom the Father“ hath appointed heir of all things ” (Heb. i. 2); ; yet not for that appointment only, nor so much as for the peculiarity of his birth which has been considered. It is the being born of God solely and immediately without any sort of creation that constitutes the proper peculiarity of the Subject's sonship in respect both of angels and men. He is God, born of God only not born of God and earth; nor yet of God and the more glorious medium of Heaven, as angels may be supposed to be ; but of that by which the Heaven and earth including angels and men among other constituents were created, THE ETERNAL WORD.
Of all the heavenly sons of God each has his several gift or patrimony, no doubt; his particular share and cast of spirit and intellect, which is his proper person by the Word of God: but here we have one, not born by the Word, but the Word born; which being a limitation itself, is yet without limitation. “For God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.” “And he is before all things; and by him all things consist” (Col. i. 17). Were it otherwise, were he only one of the innumerable host which we understand by the Sons of God above, who have no alloy of human nature, nor ever had, we could not ascribe to him some of the incidentals to be hereafter enumerated, nor look up to him for unequalled benefits, to be also enumerated, which we hope to derive from this HIS NATURAL SUPERIORITY. .-6, The other very peculiar and acknowledged patronymic New man above mentioned, which St. Paul proposes to the Ephesians and recommends to their preference, is intelligible enough ; signifying somewhat like the Son of a new bed, as Adam was son of the old earth. “As the truth is in Jesus (says he).. That ye put off concerning the former conversation, (so far as concerns YOUR PREVIOUS MODES) the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on THE NEW MAN, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness" (Eph. iv. 21– 24). Also with respect to
—7, The corresponding name of Second man or Second Adam, which is applied by St. Paul in like manner to this same divine person (Cor. I. xv. 47) in contradistinction to the first, there can be little need of comment; as it seems clearly explicable by the consideration of the Subject having taken the primitive form of man without his acquired taint, “the previous modes" aforesaid, an evil character stamped on the first issue or creation, and superseded by the second, an evil character acquired by the First man, and naturally transmitted by him to posterity. For if the Second man took flesh of the substance of his mother, he took righteousness, if we may so say, of the substance of his heavenly Father; receiving from him a new mode of existence (new however, for the state) at his incarnation, which, although considered as a begetting, was in fact more like a second creation : as it is still with others at their new birth or putting on of the new man; which after God is CREATED in righteousness, &c. And thus the Second or New man is also the “First born among many brethren ” (Rom. viii, 29); as well as “the First born of every creature" (Col. i. 15), a priority of far greater comprehension.
–8, Besides the patronymic or family surname, other names, titles, or epithets, are also applied to this doubly related subject in great abundance, being derived from his offices and relations on either side ; namely, to God upward, and to man, of all creatures particularly, downward from the more common to the more proper, and finally to those by which he is both commonly and properly known, as before intimated. And so, founded on the superior relation of his highest presence, whether by seeing, hearing, or feeling, and answering to the inward relation undermentioned, we find the name and notion of Image, Likeness, or Character of God applied to this his only Son and proper Idol; as for example by St. Paul (Cor. II. iv. 4; Col. i. 15; Heb. i. 3); and also by himself (John xii. 45; xiv. 9, &c.). In one of these passages the subject is
literally surnamed, “ The Character of the Divine Substance ;” an expression that seems more significant than Character alone, and also preferable to that of Idol, Likeness, or Image; as not only better suited to intellectual observation, but also freer from the danger of idolatry. For any senseless devotee may worship an idol, likeness, or image: but there must be understanding in the subject, to worship character; and more than human understanding, to appreciate a character like this.
At the same time, however; this image, if we call it Image, is not to be expressed, or not to our species, in the natural lineaments of its original or kind; as the likeness of one unproductive intellectual may be expressed to another purely by communion, or of one man to others in the lineaments of his posterity. We cannot see even the Son as he is at present: if we could, he would not be an express image of the Father, who is naturally invisible : and as he cannot be represented or personified in invisibility, so neither in any other positive property; there being no property belonging to Him otherwise than negatively and incidentally, as before observed. Hence, therefore, even this universal Image of God will only yield an outward and superficial resemblance: but still a resemblance that we may be happy, and also able, if we will, to copy or transfer into our hearts by faith, and onward to others likewise; as St. Peter tells us, “ But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (Pet. I. ii. 9). And this light or life, the best part of the image, we may also imbibe by communion. “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (Cor. II. iv. 6).
It is true that St. Paul appears to intimate an essential rather than an outward, superficial, or characteristic re