The Divine Trinunity, Francis Cheynell. Chapter 7, The Three Uncreated, Divine, and Co-essential Sub
We are now come to treat of that profound mystery, at which men and angels stand amazed. How can three be one? (saith the disputer of this world) or one be three? Can one be distinguished again and again from himself? O bold fools, (saith Athanasius) why do you not lay aside your curiosity, and enquire no farther after a Trinity, than to believe that there is a Trinity? The Scripture saith there is but one God, and the Scripture saith that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are this one God; and yet the Scripture saith, that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are three, three and yet one: three persons and yet one God. We have shown above that the Godhead cannot be multiplied; now we are to show that the persons are distinguished, and what kind of distinction there is between these three divine and uncreated persons.
1. These divine and uncreated persons are sufficiently distinguished to our apprehension, who ought to judge, believe, speak, worship, according to the word of God.
2. These uncreated persons were truly distinguished from one another before there was any Scripture, any world; for the co-existency and distinction of these glorious persons is eternal, and therefore this distinction cannot be grounded upon the mere phrase of Scripture; it is the true intent of God in several plain expressions of Scripture, to declare unto us the distinction of these divine and uncreated persons. I shall prove this point fully and clearly by certain steps and degrees.
(a) These uncreated persons have distinct and proper names in the word of God. The Father, the Son, [or the Word] and the Holy-Ghost [or Spirit]. Now that we may not be Tritheites or Sabellians, let us consider that these three names do not signify three different natures, and yet they do signify three different persons, for it is evident that one person cannot be predicated of another, the Father is not the Son, nor is the Son the Father; the Holy Ghost is not either of them, nor is either of them the Holy Ghost; and therefore they are three distinct persons of the Godhead.
(b) These uncreated persons are co-equal, and therefore they are distinct; It is most absurd to say that the same person is equal to himself. But the Son is said to be equal to the Father (Phil 2. 6) therefore the Son is not the Father. We do usually say that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are equal in power, to note a distinction of persons; but then when we speak strictly, we do not say the power of the persons is equal, but we say the power of the persons is the same, to note the unity of their essence. We say the persons are equal in power, goodness, wisdom, &c. to note that one person does not exceed another in degrees of wisdom, power, &c. because it is impossible that there should be any degrees in that which is infinite; and the power, wisdom, &c. of all the three persons is the same infinite perfection, because all three have the same infinite essence. And therefore when we look upon power in a common notion, as referred to the divine essence which is common to all three persons, we say it is the same power. But when we look upon power in a singular notion as it is communicated after a singular manner to this, or that person, we say this person is equal to that in power, the Father equal to the Son, the Spirit equal to both, to note the distinction of the persons, and not the distinction of the power, because the self-same almighty power is communicated to the several persons in a several way; Power is in the Father of and from himself [that is] not from any other person; the same power is communicated to the Son, but it is communicated to him by eternal generation, and to the Spirit by eternal procession; the same power then is communicated to different co-equal persons in a different way, as we shall more fully declare before we conclude this chapter.
(c) The uncreated persons are sufficiently distinguished by their number. The nature of God is the first entity, the first unity, and therefore it is incapable of number, because it is most singularly single, and actually infinite. It is not proper (if we speak strictly) to say that God is one in number; we should rather say, that God is one, and an only one. Deus non est unus numero, sed unicus. But the persons of the Godhead are three in number: the Scripture speaks expressly of these three, 1 John 5. 7.
If any man in Athanasius’s time asked how many persons subsist in the Godhead, they were wont to send him to Jordan; Go say they to Jordan and there you may hear and see the blessed Trinity; or if you will believe the holy Scriptures, read the third chapter of Matthew, the 16th & 17th verses, for there:
(i) The Father speaks in a voice from Heaven, and owns his only begotten Son, saying, This is my beloved Son, &c.
(ii) The Son went down into the water and was baptized.
(iv) The Holy Ghost did visibly descend upon Jesus Christ.
In the fourteenth of John we have a plain demonstration of this truth. I [saith the Son] will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, John 14. 16, 17. May we not safely conclude from hence that the Spirit is a distinct person, another person from the Father and the Son? For the text is clear, the Son will pray, and the Father will give another Comforter; we know the Holy Ghost is not another God, he is the same God with the Father and the Son, and therefore we must confess that it is meant of another person; he shall give you another Comforter, even the Spirit of truth, verse 16, 17. And again, in the 26th verse of the same Chapter. But when the Comforter is come whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth. What can there be more express or clear? The Scripture teaches us to reckon right, and we see the divine persons are reckoned three in number: One person is not another, there are diverse persons, there are three persons, the number numbered, the persons numbered are named by their distinct and proper names, the number numbering is expressly set down in sacred records. We are not more exact in any accounts than we are in reckoning of witnesses, whose testimony is produced in a business of great consequence, and high concernment.
Now in the great question about the Messiah, witnesses are produced to assure us, that Jesus Christ the son of the Virgin, and the only begotten Son of God, is the true Messiah, the only all-sufficient Saviour of his people from their sins. And there are three witnesses named and produced for the proof of this weighty point.
Now, one person that has three names, or two persons, and an attribute of one or both persons cannot pass for three witnesses in any fair and reasonable account; we are sure God reckons right, and he reckons Father, Son and Holy Ghost for three witnesses, and he does not reckon these three and the Godhead for four (as they do who dream of a Quaternity) because these three are one and the same God blessed for ever. Let us then be exact in observing, since the Holy Ghost is so exact in making of the account. In the eighth of John the Pharisees object that our Saviour did bear record of himself, and did conclude from thence that therefore his record was not true, John 8. 13. Our Saviour answers in the next verse. Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true; for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me. And it is written in your Law, that the testimony of two men is true. I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me bears witness of me. It is most clear and evident by this discourse that our blessed Lord did make a fair legal just account; for he cites the law concerning the validity of a testimony given in by two witnesses; and then he reckons his Father for one witness, and himself for another. I am one saith he, and my Father is another; I and my Father make two sufficient witnesses in a just and legal account. There is another (saith he) that bears witness of me, and I know that the witness which he witnesses of me is true, John 5 32. There is another saith he; he does not mean another God; for when he speaks of his power and Godhead, he saith, I and my Father are one, John 10. 30. Christ and his Father are one God, but Christ and his Father are two distinct persons, for they are reckoned as two distinct witnesses; and one person must not be reckoned for two witnesses. There is another that bears witness, John 5. 32, and the Father himself, v. 37 bears witness of me. Well then, Christ is one witness, the Father is another, and the Holy Ghost is a third witness, 1 John 5. 7 we see the Holy Ghost speaks as plainly in this point as we do when we teach a child to tell one, two, and three. For there are three that bear record in Heaven, the Father, the Word and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. If we peruse the Scriptures diligently as we ought, we shall find that these witnesses are three persons, who are one and the same blessed God. They are one in nature, though three in subsistence, to show that these three persons are not to be reckoned as three men are, who have three distinct singular natures really divided and separated; for these three glorious persons subsist in one another, and have one and the same single undivided and indivisible nature; and they are three witnesses, three persons truly distinct, John 1. 14, 18 & Ch 5. 32 & Ch. 14. 16.
(d) The divine persons are distinguished by their inward and personal actions. The Father did from all eternity communicate the living essence of God to the Son, in a most wonderful and glorious way; Now it is clear that the Father did not beget himself; and therefore the Son is another person truly distinct from the Father, and yet equal to the Father, because he is begotten in the unity of the same Godhead, and has life in himself, John 5. 26 the living essence of God who is life itself being communicated to him by an eternal generation. The unbegotten Father is clearly distinguished from the only begotten Son. But I dare not say as some do, that the Father is active, and the Son passive in this eternal generation because this generation is eternal. For nothing which is eternal, can be truly said to be in a passive power to any thing, much less can it be said to be in a passive power to be. The Son has life in himself, is life itself, has life essentially, and as he is the same essence with the Father, is of himself, and has all that is essential from that very essence; but that essence is communicated to the Son by the Father, and therefore the Son is said to receive all from the Father. But then we must consider that the Son receives nothing from the Father as from an external cause but as from an intrinsical principle rather the cause, for the Son does not depend upon the Father as an effect upon its cause; And I call the Father an intrinsical principle of the Son’s subsistence, because the Father does beget the Son of, and in himself in the unity of the same Godhead; their divine nature is one and the same, and their persons are co-equal and co-eternal because they are co-essential. This is the very mystery of mysteries which corrupt and wanton reason derides, but prudent faith admires and adores.
The Socinians tell us, that they cannot believe, that the Father did beget a Son of his own substance, because God is eternal and unchangeable; the single essence of God is indivisible, and being most singu∣arly one is incommunicable; part of the divine essence could not be communicated (say they) to the Son, because the essence is impartible, indivisible; and the self same whole essence cannot be communicated, because it is most singularly one, and therefore incommunicable. Essentia quae est una numero est incommunicabilis.
To this grand objection I shall return a plain answer out of pure Scripture, and deliver it in certain propositions or con∣clusions, that the answer may be more direct, clear and satisfactory.
Conclusions concerning the eternal generation.
1. The Father did beget his Son; the Father himself bears witness to this truth, and his witness is full, and clear, and true. Jehovah has said unto me, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee, Psal. 2. 7. Nay, the Father declares this truth to men and angels as a practical truth that they may direct and regulate their worship according to this mystery. The Apostle proves that Christ is more excellent than angels, because he has a more excellent name than they; For, unto which of the angels said he at any time, thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son, Heb. 1. 4, 5. Here's a double proof of the point, he has a more excellent name, because he is the Son of God in a peculiar sense, and has the divine nature communicated to him, as shall be fully proved ere we conclude this point; for the name of Son is not an empty title, he has the divine nature of his Father in him. Now that he is the Son of God, is testified again, and again, saith the Apostle, verse 5. And he begins the sixth verse thus, And again, &c. You see how he does inculcate this point, how he beats upon it again and again; and the reason is, because this truth is fundamental both of faith and worship, as is most evident in the sixth verse of that chapter. And again when he brings in the first-begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him, Heb. 1. 6.
You see this mystery of the unbegotten Father, and the only begotten Son is held forth to men and angels in order to worship that their worship may be directed to Jesus Christ as the Son of the living God, and to God the Father, as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God declared this truth after a glorious manner from heaven, that it might be more diligently considered. And lo a voice from heaven, saying, this is my beloved Son Matt. 3. 17, when he was baptized: and the like we read of when he was transfigured in the presence of the disciples in the holy mount. And the Apostle does take notice of these solemn declarations from heaven, and lays them down as fundamentals of the Christian Religion, 2 Pet. 1 from the 16th verse to the 20th. All the glorious miracles wrought by our Saviour, John 5. 36 and his resurrection from the dead bear witness to this fundamental truth, that Christ is the first begotten, and the only begotten Son of the living God; be pleased to compare, Acts. 13. 32, 33. with Romans 1. 4. and it will be evident that he was not made, but only declared to be the Son of God at the time of his resurrection.
2. The Father did beget his Son from all eternity before his works of old; I (saith the Son who is the wisdom of the Father) was set up from everlasting, when as the highest part of the dust of the earth was not made, when he prepared the heavens I was there, &c. Prov. 8. from 21 verse to the 31st his goings forth were of old from the days of eternity, Micah 5. 2 & John 1. 1. 2, 3 he was with God, he was God, before the beginning he had glory with his Father before the world was, John 17. 5. Relata simul sunt.
3. The Father did beget his Son in the unity of the Godhead; the Scripture speaks expressly that Christ is the proper or natural Son of God; he spared not his own Son, or his proper Son; Rom. 8. 32. God is the Father of Christ, his own father, John 5. 18 the Jews did well understand the importance and force of that expression, for say they, in that he said God is his own father, he has made himself equal with God; and therefore that phrase does import that he is the natural and co-essential Son of God, else he could not be co-equal with his Father, John 5. 18 & Philip. 2. 6. All those texts which prove that Christ is God, and that there is but one God, do prove that Christ is the natural and co-essential Son of God. God has but one co-essential Son, to whom he has given to have life in himself, John 5. 26 because the divine nature, which is life itself is communicated to the Son by this eternal and ineffable generation. It is proper to living creatures to communicate their nature by generation in their low and imperfect way; but the great God who is not subject to imperfection, does after the most glorious and perfect manner beget a Son in the unity of his own living essence, who is therefore called the Son of the living God, that is the natural and co-essential Son of God, who has the same Divine Life, Nature, Essence with the Father; and therefore Peter is so highly commended for confessing that Christ is the Son of the living God; Blessed art thou, saith our Saviour for flesh and blood has not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven; upon this fundamental truth, Christ has built the Christian Church as on a rock, Matt. 16. 16, 17, 18. He who has life in himself is the natural and co-essential Son of the living God: he has the same will, power, nature, essence, life with his Father, John 5. 18, 26 & John 16. 15 & John 10. 30 & 1 John 5. 7. The same single and infinite essence is in Father, Son and Holy Ghost; the whole undivided and indivisible essence of God dwells in the Son in its fulness and infinite perfection, Col. 2. 9.
4. The Father did beget his Son without change or motion after a most glorious and wonderful manner; there can be no change, motion, or succession in this eternal and most perfect generation. The essence of God is spiritual, John 4. 24 and therefore the Son is not begotten of the Father’s seed, or any material substance, because God is a single and pure act, who does beget a Son within himself essentially one with himself and therefore his Son does not subsist out of himself, John 14. 10 & John 10. 30 for an infinite nature cannot be poured forth beyond itself. There can be no essential change in the Son by this generation, because the generation is eternal, and the nature which is communicated by generation is unchangeable; the Father did unchangeably beget his Son, and his Son is unchangeably begotten, there is no shadow of changing or turning either in the Father of lights, or the Sun of righteousness, because they are one and the same unchangeable Jehovah, James 1. 17 & Mal. 3. 6. They are too carnal and base who make an unworthy and odious comparison between the material generation of a weak man, and this more then spiritual and supernatural generation. The eternal and unchangeable Father does beget an eternal and unchangeable Son according to the perfection of his eternal, unchangeable, infinite nature. The Father does beget his Son naturally, and therefore in a way agreeable to his unchangeable nature; if the Son were not necessarily begotten, his being would not be necessary, and then his essence would not be divine.
5. Jesus Christ is truly and properly the only begotten Son of God, and therefore the only natural Son of God. Jesus Christ is called the Son of David according to his human nature: but the Lord of David, and the Son of the living God according to his divine nature, as appears by our Saviour’s discourse with the Pharisees, Matt. 22 from the 41st verse to the 46th. And the Jews sought to kill Christ because he called God his proper father, as appears by the original text; for our English translation does omit that most observable emphasis; the words are theos idios pater, John 5. 18 and Christ is called God’s proper Son; idios huios, Rom. 8. 32 and the Apostle gives the reason why he is called the proper Son of God in a more excellent way than the most glorious angel is the Son of God, because Christ is begotten by the Father, but the angles were only created by him; observe the words of the Apostle, For unto which of the Angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee; so that the proper reason why he is called the proper Son of God, is, because he is begotten of God; there is the most excellent reason why Christ is said to obtain a more excellent name than Angels: Christ was begotten in the unity of the Godhead, and therefore he alone is properly the Son of God with a supereminent excellency. The angels are not such excellent sons as Christ is:
(i) Because Christ is begotten of God, v. 5.
(ii) Worshipped by angels with divine honour, worshipped as God, v. 6.
(iii) He has the throne, sceptre, Kingdom of God, v. 8.
(iv) He has the sovereign and proper title of God, v. 8.
(v) The attributes of God, eternity, v, 8, 10, 11, 12.
(vi) He sits at the right hand of God, v. 13.
All these excellencies are due to Christ as the proper Son of God, Heb. 1 whereas the Angels the most excellent sons by creation are but ministering spirits.
From these proper and excellent reasons we infer that Christ is the only proper or natural Son of God, because he is the only-begotten Son of God. We, saith John, beheld his glory as of the only begotten Son of God. The word [as] is not assimilative, but declarative, and demonstrative in that place, for it does declare to us that the glory of Christ is agreeable to his divine nature, he being the only natural Son of God, because he is the only begotten Son of God; just as if when we see a King sitting in his royal robes on his throne, with a crown on his head and a sceptre in his hand, we should say now we see him as a King, that is, now he is like himself his state is agreeable to his majesty; even so was the glory of Christ which the Apostles beheld agreeable to the majesty of the only begotten Son of God, John 1. 14. and therefore the word [as] was not inserted tanquam terminus diminuens to diminish the glory of the only begotten Son of God; for the word [as] is left out in the 18th verse of this very chapter, The only begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father, John 1 v. 18. The Scripture does abound with several expressions to the same purpose. But we are specially to observe that the only begotten Son of God is propounded to us as the object of saving faith, and therefore this point ought to be diligently studied and considered by us. For so God loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life, John 3. 16. The Socinians observing how much it concerns us to stand stedfast, and not yield one whit of ground in this point, have tried their wit to deceive and seduce us, and therefore they object Isaac is called the only son of Abraham, Gen. 22. 2, 12.
To this we answer without any great study, that Isaac was the only son which Abraham had by Sarah: he was the only begotten son of the promise; though Ishmael was the son of Abraham by Hagar, the bond-woman, in an unworthy and dishonourable way; and therefore this example will not serve the turn, we reject it, for its impertinency and dissimilitude. Christ is the only begotten Son of God, he is absolutely and simply considered his only begotten Son, and not only in some respect as Isaac was the only son of Abraham, Christ (as Gregory Nazianzen said) is truly the Son of God, he alone is the Son, and the only Son of the Father, and his son in an only or singular way, and he is the son only, he is not the Father also, or the holy Ghost Jesus Christ is the proper natural true son of God, begotten by the Father without a mother in the unity of the Godhead, from all eternity, equal to the Father, one and the same God with the Father, as the Scripture sets it forth; and therefore we conclude that he is simply and absolutely the only begotten Son of God, a more excellent son than all the other sons of God, not only more excellent in degree, for gradus non mutat speciem; but a super-excellent son, who does differ from all his other sons, plusquam genere aut specie, because he is one God with the Father. Jesus Christ is truly the Son of God, because he is the true God, 1 John 5. 20 begotten of the Father, Heb. 1. 5 begotten without a mother, Heb. 7. 3 begotten from the days of eternity, Micah. 5. 2 a son equal to his Father, who begot him, John 5. 1 & Phil. 2. 6. The Son of God, Matt. 16. 16 the first begotten, and the only begotten Son of God, the natural and proper Son of God; for he is as the Father is, God by nature, Gal. 4. 8. and therefore naturally, necessarily, eternally begotten of the Father in the unity of the Godhead; and therefore there is more then a gradual, nay more than a specifical or generical difference between this and all other sons of God; we see by all these various expressions, and by those divine and glorious attributes which are ascribed to Christ in Scripture, that God has wonderfully declared his love to us in sending his only begotten to redeem us according to that of the Apostle, 1 John 4. 9. In this was manifest the love of God towards us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world that we might live through him. When our Saviour called God his father, the Jews did very well understand that he meant it in a proper and peculiar sense, and therefore told him that he did make himself equal with God, John 5. 17, 18 and that being but a man he made himself God, John 10. 33. And though the Jews accused him of blasphemy, and endeavoured to stone him as they pretended for his blasphemy, yet our Saviour does not excuse his speech, or say he meant it in a metaphorical sense, but does defend it by many arguments both in the fifth and in the tenth chapters of John, though he did thereby endanger his life; he saith he is equal to the Father, nay one with the Father, John 5. 18 & John 10. 30 and when the High Priest asked him whether he was the Son of the blessed, Mark 14. 61 our Saviour answers; I am: there's a punctual and positive affirmation of it, v. 62, 63 and you may easily know in what sense the High Priest meant it, by his renting of his clothes, and condemning our Saviour to death for blasphemy, v. 64. And yet our Saviour did not endeavour to allay their heat and rage with any retraction; he would not say that he spake metaphorically, for he spake properly, he meant that he was the proper and natural Son of God, who had the same nature and power with the Father, and therefore was able to do, and actually did the same works with his Father. And the Jews did understand him so, and therefore urged the law against him, and condemned him to death for blasphemy, John 19. 7. The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God. Mark the reason, because he made himself the Son of God; If our Saviour had not meant that he was the proper and natural Son of God, a Son equal to the Father, and one God with the Father, the Jews would not have accused him of blasphemy.
Moreover the Jews do generally hold that those words of the second Psalm, This day have I begotten thee, are meant of the Messiah, as Rabbi Solomon does acknowledge in his commentary upon the place. Whatsoever saith he is sung in this Psalm, our Masters have interpreted of King Messiah; but (saith he) and he whispers it as a secret) in regard of the sound of the words, and for the refutation of hereticks (for so the Jew calls us Christians) we think fit to expound it of David himself. Here's a Jew would fain conceal a confessed truth from Christians, and there are some others it seems that would conceal this malicious concealment, for these words are expunged out of the great Hebrew Bibles set forth at Basil, but they are to be found in the Hebrew Bibles set forth with the commentaries of the Rabbins at Venice by Bombergius, or else I had not insisted upon the words; I hope the detecting of this fraud may be very useful, but I must hasten to some other arguments.
The Socinians tell us that there are five causes of Christ’s sonship assigned in Scripture, which are all temporal causes, and therefore they see no reason why we should assert, or they believe this eternal generation of the Son of God, since Christ may be called the Son of God upon another, and far different account. We desire to know whether every one of these five causes be total or perpetual causes; if they be every one a total cause, then there will be as many sonships as there are causes, no less than five sonships; for that rule is certain, where there is a total and sufficient cause in act, there the effect must needs follow. If they be partial causes, then the causes which succeed in order, do not produce their complete effect, until the last cause be in act; this we premise, that the vanity of this invention may be more evident in the whole contexture of their discourse. I shall now give them leave to speak their mind freely, and fully.
I. The first cause of this Divine Sonship is (as they conceive) the conception of Christ by the Holy Ghost, whereby (say they) Christ is said to be begotten of God in an excellent and peculiar way; and they urge that testimony of the angel, which stands upon record, Luke 1. 35, to make good their conceit; And the angel answered, and said unto her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be borne of thee shall be called the Son of God. These words of the angel have reference to the prophesy of Isaiah mentioned in the 31st verse of this first of Luke. The words of Isaiah are, Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call his name Immanuel, Isaiah 7. 14. they shall call his name Jesus, Matt. 1. 21 he shall be called the Son of the highest, the Son of God, Luke 1. You see the words are different, and therefore we must have special respect to the thing signified. Observe then:
(i) That the Prophet did foretell two particulars. First, that a virgin should bear a Son. Secondly, that the son born of her should be called the Son of God. The virgin doubts of the first particular, and enquires how that could be without the knowledge of a man? The Angel informs her, that she should conceive after a peculiar and admirable manner by the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost; and from thence infers the second particular, that she should bring forth a son, who was to be called the Son of God; and he gives the very same reason which was given by Saint Matthew, because it was so foretold by the Prophet Isaiah, Matt, 1. 20, 21, 22 for the particle [Therefore] Luke 1. 35 is not to be referred to the conception of Christ as the cause of this divine sonship, but to the prophecy of Isaiah recorded Luke 1. 31 for all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Prophet Matt. 1. 22.
(ii) They shall call his name Immanuel, God with us, and therefore he, the same person shall be called the Son of God; this is an higher reason than that which the Socinians allege.
(iii) The Socinians put a fallacy upon us by assigning that to be the cause which is not the true cause, [he shall be called] that is declared and acknowledged to be the Son of God. This declaration or manifestation of the Son of God in the flesh was temporal, 1 Tim. 3. 16, but his generation was eternal, Micah 5. 2. The Son of God was sent, manifested, incarnate, in the fulness of time, Gal. 4. 4, but he was the Son of God before his incarnation, and therefore his incarnation is not the cause of his divine sonship, the effect cannot be before the cause, but the divine sonship of Christ was before the world was. The Holy Ghost is never called the father of Christ, and he could not be the principle of the subsistence or the Word, and therefore not the cause of this divine sonship. The Apostle states the point, and puts it past all dispute, Rom. 1. 3, 4. Christ was made of the seed of David according to the flesh, but determined and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness by the resurrection from the dead; from whence it follows directly that Christ is not properly the Son of God according to the flesh, but is in that consideration rather to be called the Son of David as we observed above, because Christ came of David as concerning the flesh; but the eternal Son of God, is God blessed for ever, Rom. 9. 5. When the Jews said that our Saviour blasphemed, because he made himself God, John 10, 33. Christ asks them whether they did accuse him of blasphemy, because he said he was the Son of God? v. 36 whereby he declared that he was the Son of God according to his person which is truly divine; believe (saith he) that the Father is in me and I in him, v. 38. The force of his answer is evident: I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and therefore I am a divine person; I am the Son of God, and therefore the divine nature is communicated to my person, I am begotten in the unity of the God. head, I am in the Father, and therefore if it be no blasphemy for me to say that I am the Son of God, it is no blasphemy at all to say that I am God, because the divine nature is communicated to the natural and proper Son of God; there's the proper reason why Christ is called the Son of God, because the divine nature was communicated to him by an eternal generation.
II. The second cause assigned by the Socinians why Christ is called the Son of God, is the sanctification of Christ, for which they cite John 10. 35, 36. Behold say they the second cause of this divine sonship plainly set forth unto us, Christ hath obtained an excellent portion of the Spirit, he is sanctified and sent with a divine power into the world to save mankind.
To which we answer, that here is the same fallacy obtruded again, because first Christ was the Son of God before he was sent into the world. Second, God did not give the spirit by measure to him, John 3. 34. Third, Christ proves in that tenth chapter of John, that he is one with his Father in power, and therefore in nature, as appears
(i) Because he does the same works that his Father does, v. 37.
(ii) Because he is in his Father, and his Father in him, v. 38.
(iii) Because he is the natural Son of God, and therefore might truly call himself God, v. 33. 36.
(iv) Because they themselves called Magistrates gods, upon a cheaper account; only in regard of their commission and office; much more might he call himself God, because he was sanctified without measure, had an higher office and commission, being sent to do the work of God, to satisfy the justice of God, and save the elect of God, which he could not have done if he had not had the nature of God, and been thereby fully enabled to perfect this work of God. The argument is grounded upon the infinite distance, and imparity between the office of a Mediator, and the office of a Magistrate; between the only begotten Son of God, who is one with his Father, who begot him, and the sons of men who are but the deputies of God.
III. The third cause which they assign of this Divine Sonship, is the special love of the Father to this excellent Son, Matt. 3. 17.
To this we answer, that God did not make Christ his Son because he loved him, but he loves him because he is his Son, a Son equal to himself, one with himself, the express image of his person, the illustrious brightness of his glory. That very place which they cite makes much against them: God does from heaven own Christ for his proper and natural Son in that very place, Matt. 3. 17. God said not so to the best of angels, Heb. 1. 4, 5 To which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son this day have I begotten thee? that one place is sufficient to discover the fraud of the Socinians in this point.