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blood, even the forgiveness of sins. No less than the precious blood of Christ, who was God and man in one person, could be a sufficient price for the redemption of poor captivesinners.
2. By power and conquest. By his death on the cross he spoiled principalities and powers.' And he manifested this power
in his ascension; for when he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive. And in the day of power he redeems his people from the slavery of sin and Satan, the curse of the law, from the sting of death, and the wrath of God; and puts them in possession of a full salvation. .
The former, viz. redeeming by price or purchase, Christ doth as a Priest, the latter as a Prophet and King. Both were absolutely necessary: for without a ransom justice would not quit us nor let us go; and without overcoming or conquering power, the elect, while slaves to sin and sa tan, will not quit their master, nor accept of liberty.
This redemption of elect souls was agreed upon by the Father and the Son in the covenant of
from eternity. It was first proclaimed to fallen man in the first promise, Gen. iii. 15. that the seed of the woman should bruise the head of the serpent;' it was shadowed forth under the Old Testament by sacrifices; burnt-offerings, &c; the price was actually paid on the cross, when he made peace through the blood thereof, Col. i. 20; and the powerful delivery is made in the conversion of the elect, the day of God's power, when the captives are delivered, their chains knocked off, and they are rescued from the miserable bondage in which they lay. And although Christ's blood was not actually shed under the Old Testament, yet the elect, during that dispensation were delivered by the same redemption which we are now partakers of, Heb. xi. 39, 40.
Thirdly, That Jesus Christ, and he only, is the Redeemer promised as the true Messiah, is evident, in that all the things that are the marks and characters of the Redeemer agree to him, and him only. He was to be of the tribe of Judah, and of the house of David, to be born of a virgin, to be Immanuel, God with us, God in our nature and on our side, to be born in Bethlehem, to make a mean appearance, to be despised and rejected of men, to be crucified on an accursed tree, to be buried in a grave, to rise again the third day, to ascend into heaven, and sit at the right hand of God, till his enemies be made his footstool. It is evident from comparing
the Old Testament with the New, that all these characters agree to Jesus Christ, and him only; and none other but one who possessed these characters could be our Redeemer.
II. Our next business is to illustrate this grand truth, That Jesus Christ, being the eternal Son of God, became man.
First, Christ is the eternal Son of God. And in this he differs from all God's other sons.
1. From angels, who are called the sons of God,'. Job xxxviii. 7. They were filled with joy, and shouted with a triumphant voice, when they saw the power, wisdom and goodness of God, appearing so illustriously in the work of creation, when God laid the foundations of the earth. Now, the angels are called the sons of God.
(1.) Because they had their whole being from him. They are his sons by creation ; in which sense also Adam is called the son of God, Luke iii. 38.
(2.) Because of their great and mighty power. Hence they are styled principality, and power, and might, and dominion,' Eph. i. 31. They are like him in
are like him in power and dignity. (3.) Because they serve him as sons, cheerfully, willingly, and readily. They do not obey as slaves, or servants, or the best of servants ; but they obey as children. They go his errands with a filial cheerfulness and delight. "A son ho. noureth his father,' saith the Lord. It should be the tem. per and disposition of every son to do so. This is not only the disposition of angels, but they have actually done it, and may say unto God, as the elder brother is brought in saying in the parable, Luke xv. "Lo these many years have we been with thee,' even ever since the creation of the world, • and liave never transgressed nor neglected thy command, ments at any time.'
(4.) Because of the great privileges which God bestows upon them. He uses them as his sons and children. They are his courtiers, and near to his person, and always sur. round his throne, and behold his face. They are continually under the meridian beams of his ravishing and life. giving countenance.
(5.) Because of their likeness to God in essence. He is a spirit, an incorporeal and immaterial being, and angels are spiritual and incorporeal substances. Though the difference between God and them be as great as can be conceived, yea truly inconceivable; God being the creating spirit, and they
created spirits ; God being an infinite spirit, and they but finite ones; yet the angels bear a resemblance to God in their essence, as well as in their qualifications, and may upon that account also be called the sons of God: but they are only the sons of God by creation : Whereas Christ is his Son bý an eternal and ineffable generation. Christ alone is the Son of God by nature.
2. Believers are called the sons of God, John i. 12. And they are so by adoption and regeneration, 2 Cor. vi. 17, 18, Believers differ from the angels in this ; for they do not stand in need of regeneration, or any gracious change to be wrought in them: for as they were created holy and pure beings, so they have continued in that integrity and holiness with which they were made, and have not lost it: and therefore Christ is no Redeemer to them.
3. Christ differs both from angels and saints in this, that he is the eternal and only begotten Son of God, as the scripture verifies, Matth. iii. 17. and xvii. 5.
Now, that the Lord Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, is the eternal Son of God, or was begotten of the Father from all eternity, is clear from the holy scriptures; for to divine revelation alone are we indebted for the knowledge of this important truth. To this end let us consider, Psal. ii. 7. “ Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. This passage is applied to Christ in several places of the New Testament. The word, this day,' doth not denote a certain time when this generation began, but is used to express the eternity thereof. And that which is eternal is expressed by that term, to shew and hold forth unto us, that all things past and to come are present with God in regard of his eternity. There is no succession in eternity, no yesterday nor to-morrow; but it is all as one continued day or moment, without any succession or change. Therefore the generation of the Son being eternal, it is rightly designed by this term. And although in this and the following verses we have a declaration of God's decree and appointment concerning the advancement of Christ to his Mediatory throne and kingdom; yet in this verse, the generation of the Son is not mentioned as a part of that decree, but only as the ground and foundation thereof. For unless Christ had been the Son of God by eternal gene. ration, he could not have been our Mediator and Redeemer; nor could he have obtained a throne and kingdom as such.
And this eternal generation of the Son was solemnly declared by his resurrection from the dead. This is the apostle's scope when he says, 'We declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, • Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee,' Acts xiii. 32, 33. He might well say, this scripture Psal. ii. 7. was fulfilled by the raising Christ from the dead, because by his resurrection the truth of it was openly proclaimed and declared to the world, as the same apostle tells us, Rom. i. 4.
We may argue for this likewise from Micah v. 2. • But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me, that is to be ruler in Israel: whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. This text is applied to Christ, Matth. ii. 6; and that it must be understood of him, and of no other, is plain, because he is promised as the King and Ruler of his church : and in the following verses there is ascribed unto him the calling of the Gentiles, invincible power and majesty in his providential dispensations, doctrine, and miracles, and an universal kingdom and government over Jews and Gentiles through the earth, Now, there is a
. twofold going forth here attributed to him. The first is external and visible, namely, his going forth from the city of Bethlehem, by being born of a virgin. This is a temporal generation, and is therefore spoken of as a thing to come, ? He shall come forth unto me.' But lest any should look on him as a mere man, and as one that began to be at his incarnation, therefore a second going forth is mentioned, which is internal and eternal : Whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting,' or from the days of eternity,' as it is in the original text. These words design his eternal generation, as being begotten of the Father from all eternity; for he could not go forth from the Father from everlasting but by generation.
This truth is further clear from Christ's being called the Son of God. He is often so designed in scripture. The Father did solemnly proclaim him to be so by an audible voice from heaven, both at his baptism and his transfiguration. He is the Son of God in a most proper and singular manner, viz. by the Father's communicating the divine essence to him by eternal generation. This name given to Christ is more ex cellent than any name given to the angels, though they are also called the sons of God, Heb. i. 4, 5. For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee?' He is so the Son of God, as on that account he is equal with the Father. Therefore, when he told the Jews, ? My Father worketh hitherto, and I work, it is said, "The Jews sought the more to kill him, because he said that God was his Father, making himself equal with God, John v. 17, 18. The Jews concluded from what he had said, that he made himself equal with God. And their conclusion was very just: for he did not find fault with them for so doing, nor charge them with reproaching him ; nor
l; doth he clear any mistake about it, as certainly he would have done, if they had been in any. Therefore what they conclude from his discourse is plainly asserted by the apostle, Phil. ii. 6. in these words, . He thought it not robbery to be equal with God. So that Christ's scope and design,
? John v. is plainly to shew, that he was the Son of God in such a manner, that he was the same in substance with the Father, and equal with him in dignity and glory.
And as to the nature of this generation, our blessed Lord himself doth in some measure explain it to us, so far as we are capable to apprehend this great mystery, when he tells us, John v. 26. As the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself.?' So that to beget the Son, is to give to the Son to have life in himself, as the Father hath life in himself; which doth necessarily import a communication of the same individual essence. For to have life in himself was an essential attribute of God; i. e. to have life independently, of and from himself; and to be the source and fountain of life to all the creatures, is a perfection proper to God, inseparable from his nature, yea, the very same with his essence. And therefore the Father cannot give it, unless he give the essence itself: and he cannot give the essence by way of alienation, for then he himself would cease to be God; nor by way of participation, seeing the divine nature is one, and cannot be divided. Therefore it must be by way of communication. So that the generation of the Son is that eternal action of the Father, whereby he did communicate to the Son the same individual essence which he himself hath, that the Son might have it equal with him