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under him. (John, xx. 21, 22, 23.) As my Father hath sent me, so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost. He is likewise a KING, in a still BETTER sense to us, in that he rules in our hearts, by the gift of his Spirit, or the influence of his grace. Again, he hath already begun to subdue sin, the devil, and death, and he will hereafter utterly destroy them. (1 Cor. xv. 24.) Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. Then, he will no longer appear in the character of the man Christ Jesus the Mediator, at the right hand of God; but having accomplished the blessed purpose of that mysterious office, he will, at the end of the world, display his right to the office of King when he descends in glory, to judge mankind, by either infinitely rewarding those who have observed his laws, or exceedingly punishing such as shall have broken them. (Matt. xxv. 31-34.) When the Son of man shall come in his glory, then shall the KING say unto them on his right hand, Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. And to whom can we suppose Christ thus speaks? to persons who have it prepared for them unconditionally, arbitrarily, and at all events ? No,
surely. To whom then? Why, to those who have obeyed him, from a principle of love and gratitude, through a lively faith in his infinite mercy towards them. What! (perhaps some may say,) as matter of MERIT, deserving such unspeakable favour? No- not as a matter of debt (for the very best servant does only his duty), but of free favour; as a generous master would consider a faithful servant, as a merciful reward, or fulfilling of his gracious promises, declared in these words: because, when hungry, ye gave me meat; when thirsty, ye gave me drink; when a stranger, ye received me; when naked, ye clothed me; when sick and in prison, ye visited me: and, to make the case as clear as the light of the sun, he adds, for, inasmuch as ye have done it to the LEAST of these my brethren, ye have done it unto ME. And why does he further display his kingly power to those on the left hand, in condemning them to everlasting misery, prepared for the devil and his angels? Why, is it that their fate or sentence was fixed from all eternity, irrecoverable? that their torment (for punishment it cannot, in justice, be called, unless for wilful transgression) could not be avoided, but was necessary, and unconditionally predetermined in the absolute will of God? Let not such dangerous suggestions possess the mind. No; it was prepared in no other sense, for the devil and his angels, than
it is for the disobedient, because the former kept not their first estate, and the latter lost their day of trial; i. e. because they would not repent, nor bring forth works meet for repentance; because they would not follow after holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord; or, in our blessed Lord's own words, declined to do the works that he commanded; the conse→ quence of which different conduct would have been favour, instead of punishment.
Having now plainly shown you the original meaning of the titles given to our blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and also afforded you a short explanation of the offices they imply, I will proceed to consider this divine Person as he is called GOD'S ONLY SON, which was the second thing I purposed. If ye believe in GOD, believe also in ME. These words contain no less than a positive assertion of Christ's being very God. It is highly necessary that our faith in this part of the article should be most pure; for in the truth of it, and our belief thereof, depends the whole security of our salvation. Unless God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, the atonement would have been insufficient. If our Saviour had been merely man, his sacrifice would have been but a few degrees superior to that of any other innocent victim. It could not have satisfied
infinite justice. Without encouraging, therefore, any deep inquiries into such hidden mysteries as the incarnation of the Son of God, which surpass man's understanding, and can no ways profit him to attempt, we must abide by the plain revelation God hath graciously given us of his Son, as well as of himself. And if there were not numerous texts of Scripture to prove the divinity of the Son, this one following would be abundantly sufficient; (John, xvii. 5;) And now, O Father, glorify me with thine own self, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. And where, through the weakness of our present capacity, the malice of the evil spirit, or other hinderances, our faith needs HELP, we must avail ourselves of the remedy adopted by the humble parent (Mark, ix. 24), whose heart was well disposed, and whose sincerity was accepted: Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief; i. e. graciously supply every deficiency of my weak nature, by strengthening my faith.
In the Scriptures, (all praise be given to God's condescending mercy!) abundant satisfaction is afforded us in this most interesting point. We believe, then, that Christ is the Son of God, on several accounts: 1. on account of his conception by the Holy Ghost, which more properly belongs to the next division of the Creed: 2. as he was anointed by the
same blessed Spirit to the office of Messiah, as has been already mentioned; and, 3. as he was begotten again of God, when he raised him from the dead; which remains to be considered.
All these are particularly instanced in God's word, and the texts which prove them are numerous. In St. Luke (i. 35) we read, that upon the visitation of the angel to the Virgin Mary, he declared to her that the holy thing (or rather person) that was born of her, should be called THE SON OF GOD. In John, x. 36, our Lord, speaking of himself to the Jews, who reviled him on this very account, saith, Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the SON OF GOD? This faith was also the ruling principle of the Apostles after him. It was this, by which his converted persecutor Saul arrived to such an eminent degree of Christian attainment in his future character of the Apostle Paul; who, as soon as this truth shone upon his heart, straightway preached Christ in the synagogue, that HE WAS THE SON OF GOD. And lastly, Jesus Christ is expressly declared to be the Son of God, from the circumstance of his bodily resurrection, as is written both in the prophecy of the Psalms (ii. 7), Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee; and also by St. Paul (Rom. i. 4), who declares him to be the SON OF