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a single remark upon either the unaccountable incredulity or farcical absurdity of John displayed in such a legation."
In the first chapter also, the Angel is made to inform Mary, that the child to be born of her should be called the Son of God, and for this reason, because it was to be produced by the Holy Ghost coming upon her, and the power of the highest over-shadowing her : yet in the subsequent part of his history, Luke, as if he meant directly to contradict this heavenly annunciator, except in the acclamations of some lunatics, never once mentions him by any other appellation than Son of Man or Son of David, till after his resurrection. Then, indeed, he speaks of him as being commonly and publicly called the Son of God; but in the discourses of the Apostles, where they call him so, they give a very different reason for it from that alleged by the Angel; and refer for the cause of it, not to any circumstances of his carnal birth, but to his being raised from the dead to a new and spiritual life, by the immediate power of the Almighty. Indeed were the story of his miraculous birth undoubted truth, yet, since it could be certainly known to be so by no mortal besides Mary herself, it could not be
of sufficient notoriety to induce men to call him by that name; especially since, in the whole course of his own and his Apostles preaching the Gospel, the circumstance of bis preternatural conception is not oncé mentioned, nor so much as alluded to. The falsehood, however, of this prediction of the pretended Angel, that he should be called Son of God because of his miraculous birth, appears incontestibly from other scriptures, both of the Old and New Testament, which teach us that the Soni of God was so far from being a title which the Messiah promised to the Jews, acquired from any wonderful circumstances of his nativity, in the reign of Augustus Cæsar, that he had been commonly spoken of under that very denomination long before his birth, even from the time of his progenitor David; for that God himself had given him that appellation in the prophecies of him recorded in the book of Psalms, where, speaking to and of this future descendant of David, in the name of his forefather, he says, “ thou art my Son, this day have I begotten “ thee;" and again," he shall be to me a Son " and I will be to him a Father ;” and again, “ I will make him, my first-born, higher than “the Kings of the Earth.” Now that Jesus
could not become the first-born of God, in any sense respecting his humaif birth, is evident, because in that sense Adam was beyond all controversy his first-born. And that the begetting here spoken of had not the least reference to the carnal birth of the Messiah, but to his regeneration after death, to a new and spiritual state of existence, in which he is truly the first-born of God, is expressly taught us by the Apostles in their discourses to the Jews, recorded by Luke himself, in his history of their Acts.
From Luke's own narrative of what passed at our Lord's examination before the Jewish council, previous to their accusation of him before Pilate, it is evident that, in the estimation of the Jews, occasioned, without doubt, by the above quoted prophecies, to declare a person to be the Christ, or to declare him to be the Son of God, was exactly the same thing ;. for intending to render him obnoxious to the Roman Governor, as a rebel against the authority of Cæsar, the only point on which they examined him was, whether he avowed himself to be the Christ, that is, the person, of whom their prophecies predicted, that God would anoint him to reign over them to the end of time: to which he
answered, that if he told them he was so, they would not believe him, neither, if he attempted to argue with them, about the meaning of their prophecies, would they answer him nor let him go. But, adds he, from this time forth (so it should have been translated) shall he, who, at present, assumes no title nor character but the Son of Man, be exalted to that super-eminent station of empire and authority, which, in the 110th Psalm, is prophesied of by the term, sitting on the right hand of the power of God. Knowing that to be a prophecy of the Messiah, that Son of David, whom God had promised to make his own Son, and first-born, and with reason supposing himself to be the Son of Man he spake of, they all exclaimed together, art thou then the Son of God? art thou the Son of Man, who is to be exalted to the glorious character of Son of God? And on his acknowledging himself to be so, they cried out, what need we any further witness ? for we ourselves have heard of his own mouth ; and immediately conducted him to Pilate, and accused him of perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Cæsar, by saying, that he himself was Christ, a King. The Christ, therefore, or anointed King, and the Son of God, had pre
cisely the same meaning. Yet both our Lord himself and his Apostles, expressly teach us, that he could not become the Christ, or Son of God, but by his resurrection after death to a new and spiritual life. Even in his life time, he taught the Sadducees, that it was the being raised from the dead, by the immediate vivifying power of God himself, which alone could make him or any man the Son of God; when he told them that, “ they which “ shall be accounted worthy to obtain that “ world and the resurrection from the dead, “ are equal unto the Angels, and are the “ Children of God, being the Children of the “ resurrection.” And to lead them to apply this instruction, that men became Sons of God by a resurrection to a future life, to the particular case of the predicted Messiah or Christ, and thereby to a right understanding of their own prophecies respecting himself, immediately after this defence and explanation of the doctrine of the resurrection, he asks how the Scribes could say that any Son of David would, as such, be the expected Christ: when David himself, in the very prophecies concerning him, acknowledges the Christ to be his Lord ? plainly intimating, that by dying to this mortal life, he must