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title of Everlasting Father, when applied to the Son, a proof of his divinity, it is of little importance to discover, since the correctness of this rendering will not, it is presumed, at the present day be defended. Accordingly the passage has been rendered, by most modern translators, a Father of the Age, either with or without some epithet, as 'the future age,' the 'everlasting age, that is, the chief character in the future dispensation of Christianity. This probably conveys the true sense of the terms, and its correctness is maintained from the peculiar use which is made of the term 2x [Father] in the Old Testament, as well as of the corresponding term (arg) in the New. It is used to signify the inventor of an art-a preceptor in any science-as also various other characters, distinguished by superiority of power, or deserving of respect for their eminent services and useful in ventions.* It may here signify then the author of a particular dispensation, or the principal character in it. The term [7] which in the common translation is rendered 'everlasting,' and which we understand as meaning 'the Age,' that is, of Christianity, seems to be used in the same sense as any [age] in Greek; and was accordingly rendered by it, in the passage under consideration, in several of the Greek versions; and by terms of similar import in the Arabic and Vulgate. It signifies, according to Buxtorf, any period of time, definite or indefinite eternity-an age. We prefer the last of these meanings, and would render the terins 8, a Father of the future age. The propriety of this title when applied to Christ is striking at first view: since the tenor of the whole New Testament represents him as commissioned by Jehovah, to establish a pure and holy religion on earth: since all power was given him in this new dispensation, by which he became entitled to divine honors, as far as is consistent with a delegated authority: since, in short, he was the constituted medium of salvation between God and man.

• See Gen, iv. 20. xvii. 4. Judges xvii. 10. Ps. lxviii 5. 1 Sam. x. 12. &c.

+ I am persuaded, says Lowth, that it is from the authority of this text that the state of the gospel, or the kingdom of the Messiah, is called in the New Testament by the title of μsλλwy day, the age to come. See Matt. xii. 32. Heb. ii. 5. vi. 5.

The propriety of the last epithet, when applied to our Saviour, needs no illustration. Jesus was eminently the author or prince of peace in reconciling man to God: he came to preach peace on earth, and to guide our feet in the way of peace.

It seems then from a critical examination of the whole passage of Isaiah, that nothing it contains can be brought in proof that Christ is God; except the phrase, which in our translation is rendered, 'the Mighty God;'—but that the prefixing the definite article to this title, which gives it all its force, is wholly without support from the original;-that if it be rendered, as it ought to be, a Mighty God, it will only appear that a title is conferred upon our Saviour, which, according to the use of lan guage in the Old Testament, is conferred upon many others, beside Him whom alone we are accustomed to call God;-but that further the words in the original, which are thus rendered, ought probably to be understood as meaning nothing more than 'Mighty, a Potentate;' that this phrase, therefore affords no proof of the doctrine of which it has been brought in support;and consequently that no such proof is afforded by the passage in question.*



(In a letter to the editor.)

Dear Sir,

As the proper divine Sonship of Christ is a material point in the views which I entertain, I have the more carefully read

• A different interpretation of this verse has been adopted by many learned Jews and Christians. It applies the several titles of Wonderful, Counsellor, &c. to God; and that of Prince of Peace to the Messiah. The verse is thus rendered agreeably to their interpretation. "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the Wonderful Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father shall call his name the Prince of peace." Not being inclined ourselves to adopt this translation, we have con"fixed our attention to that which, in respect to the general structure of the sentence, we have thought most correct.

and considered what has appeared in the last number of 'the General Repository' 'on the phrase Son of God.' You will therefore indulge me in some brief remarks.

It is very obvious, that 'the Messiah' and 'the Son of God' are names eminently and equally designating the same person, and in this respect only can I view them as 'synonymous.' Is there not one reason why our Lord is called 'the Messiah,' and another why he is called 'the Son of God.' Are not both names of great meaning and import? He who bears them is truly "the anointed;' and, as I apprehend, as truly 'the Son of God.' A confession that he was 'the Messiah,' or that he was 'the Son of God,' was equally a confession that he was the promised Sa viour. Yet is it not easy to conceive that a man might confess that he was 'the Messiah,' in the proper import of this name, without confessing that he was 'the Son of God,' in the true and full import of these words? Otherwise would it not be a mere tautology to say, 'thou art Christ the Son of the living God?' Whatever modern Jews may have said, there is in scripture, together with other ancient Jewish writings, sufficient evidence to my mind that the ancient Jews, of best understanding in their scriptures, did believe that the Son of God was to be 'made of the seed of Abraham according to the flesh.' And I apprehend that this is one reason, why Matthew, Mark, and Luke were so silent respecting the preexistence of the Saviour, of whom they wrote. They narrated those things which proved our Lord to be the promised Messiah, and those who well understood the scriptures would of course understand that he was 'the Lord from heaven.' But as some Christians began to deny this before the death of the apostle John, he wrote his Gospel, as I think, more especially to prove the preexistence and divine nativity of our Lord. In his writings more abundantly Jesus is called, not merely a Son, but emphatically 'the Son of God,' 'His only begotten Son,' 'the only begotten of the Father.' Christ is also spoken of as God's 'one Son,' 'His own Son.' Now, supposing my sentiment correct, what stronger language could have been used to convey such an idea? If the same, or very similar language, is in any instances applied to the people of God, yet in all such cases it is sufficiently obvious, that it is

not to be understood literally. And it should also be considered that in such cases no material article of faith is involved. But with evident design to express a most material article of faith, our Lord is called 'the Son of God,' 'His own Son,' 'His only begotten Son.' May we not well suppose that our heavenly Father would have prevented the use of such language, in a case of such scripture importance, if it were not to be understood in its most proper sense? If our Lord be not properly the Son of God, what language could have been more likely to mislead in a material point, than that so abundantly used by the apostle John, even when he was writing for the express purpose of establishing a great point then in dispute? According to the best information I have been able to obtain by much inquiry, a very great proportion of the most exemplary Christians understand the scriptures to mean, that in a sense peculiar to himself, and in the most proper sense of words, our Lord is the Son of God. And if all such Christians have been, and are materially erroneous in so believing, what has misled them but the most emphatical language of inspiration? For from the days of Arius teachers have almost universally intended to give some view of this matter, very different from that, which, after all, common Christians have generally received from the bible.

Who can suppose that the Jews would have accused our Lord of the blasphemy of making himself equal with God, for saying that God was his Father, if they had understood him to mean only that he was "beloved as a Son to a Father?" And if those Jews mistook our Lord's meaning, why did he not otherwise explain it, instead of vindicating the saying, 'I am the Son of God? For whatever reasons others may be called Sons of God, they have the title by gift, but our Lord has the name 'by inheritance.' 'He is made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance a more excellent name than they. For unto which of the angels hath God said-thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee?' Is not this very clear evidence of his peculiar and proper divine Sonship? I feel no difficulty in respect to the objection,' which is thought to be 'unanswerable.' In respect to the 'body prepared for him,' our Lord was truly of the house and lineage of David.' Being thus truly, although

by miraculous generation, 'the offspring of man,' with great propriety he is often called 'the Son of man.' But should it not be considered that he is never so called in any confession of faith, or in any language used to designate what is of the first importance to be believed. No one is said to have confessed his faith in these words, Thou art Christ the Son of man. Nor do we find any such interrogation as this, Who is he who overcometh the world, but ke who believeth that Jesus Christ is the Son of man?

I was somewhat surprised to find that in respect to the views I entertain, it is, where it is, asked, 'But if this scheme be consistent with itself, which is its boast, does it not indeed require that Christ be absolutely and unquestionably equal with God? Is not a son absolutely, entirely, and perfectly, a being of equal nature to his father?" &c. However it may be in every other case of proper sonship, the argument appears to me altogether irrelevant in regard to the proper sonship of our Lord; because it is obvious, that if he is the Son of the living God, his sonship must be in some respects peculiar to himself; and because it is obviously impossible that he should be a proper Son, and yet self-existent and independent like his Father; just as it is impossible that any other son should have had conscious existence as early as his own proper father. And so far as I can see, it would be as good philosophy to say, if Isaac has not had conscious existence as long as Abraham, he is not Abraham's own son, as it is to say, if Christ be not self-existent and independent, he is not properly the Son of God. Although it is the order of nature that every son shall be like his father, it is no less true that it depends on the pleasure and providence of Almighty God, whether any infant son shall ever come to the measure and stature, to the ability and knowledge of his own father. Most certainly then it is not a necessary law of nature, that every son, or that any son, shall be 'absolutely' equal to his father. Whether it be owing to the weakness of my understanding or not, the argument in question appears to me exceedingly unsound and inconclusive.

It seems to me very improper to speak of 'the irrationality' of those things, about which we know nothing, except by reveNo. 1. Vol. III.


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