The Revelation of God in His Eternal Son

By V. W. J. H. Lawrence

With a foreword by J. Burdon-Cooper, M.D., F.R.C.S. (Edin.)
London: Thynne & Co. Ltd., Whitefriars St., E.C.4. 1935.

Introduction by the Author
Chapter 1. Light and Darkness
Chapter 2. The Written Word
Chapter 3. The Eternal Word (The Divine Logos)
Chapter 4. The Son of God
Chapter 5. The Counsel of God
Appendix 1.
Appendix 2.


Have we a revelation from God? we have: but we have more, we have a revelation of God, according to all that He is in His Eternal Nature of Light and Love. While we are privileged to speak, thus — and oh! how great is the privilege! we are ever mindful that there is in that Nature that which is and must ever be beyond our finite comprehension.

Now, in whatever forms God has been pleased to manifest Himself in the past — and they have been many — whether by mighty works, by supernatural intervention in the affairs of man for a better understanding of what He is in grace and love to a sinful race, — through Prophets, the Prophetic Word, by Inspiration of Psalms, Epistles, and History immediately directed and controlled by the Holy Spirit, — all find their culmination in the revelation of Himself in His Eternal Nature in Jesus Christ: The Divine Logos, (the Thought, Expression, Power and Hypostasis of the Eternal Mind), in whom dwells all the Pleroma of the Godhead bodilywise. "And of His fulness have all we received and grace for grace."

This is the revelation we speak of as possessing, as real and true as God is, because it is of Himself. The revelation in Him is the summing up of all that has been or can be made known of God and His redeeming love. All the manifestations of God in the past were but faint shadows in comparison with the manifestation of Himself in flesh in the Person of the Son of His Love. The Prophets, (being servants) could speak only in so far as the Spirit which was in them testified, of the secrets of the Lord Jehovah. From the Son, the Father has no secrets, for "what things soever He does, these also does the Son likewise," whatever truth men have been made partakers of by the Spirit of Truth, that truth belongs to Him, for "All things whatsoever the Father has are mine." This truth has been taken by the Holy Ghost and declared to men that He the Son might be glorified, and God might be glorified in Him. Jesus Christ being not only the Eternal Word, but the sum of all revelation, He is of necessity the One Theme of the Scriptures of Truth.

It is of the greatest importance to notice that all this truth would have been hidden in Him, (so little is revelation conveyed by fact alone without the Word) had it not been taken by the Holy Spirit and declared to men. The New Testament is but the explanatory Word accompanying and giving effect to the Word which "became flesh and dwelt among us." When this with all its meaning became the possession of men, revelation was complete. Jesus Christ is therefore no less the end of revelation than He is the end of the Law to everyone that believes. The revelation of God being complete in Him, and God being what He is, (and He can never alter, otherwise He would not be God), and His truth immutable, makes the revelation of Himself a certainty to the heart that trusts His Word. It is precisely with this object in view, viz.: the confirmation in the heart of the certainty of divine revelation and immutability of the Truth — that this little book has been written, and we heartily commend it to the thoughtful consideration of the children of God, and especially so at the present time, because of the erroneous teaching at present abroad in connection with the Person of Christ, the denial of His Eternal Sonship, and the Eternal Fatherhood of God; problems which are intimately connected with the appreciation of the revelation of which we have been speaking.

This book is an attempt to combat not merely by criticism, an invariably unprofitable undertaking at any time, but by the ministry of what is more positive, namely, the revelation of God Himself.

The particular error to which we have alluded, is not a new one, even in its present form, (viz., that the Lord is a Divine Person, but only Son in incarnation), as it has appeared in varying forms on many occasions. It is worthy of note that whenever it has raised its head in the past, men of God were forthcoming to combat it in the Power of the Holy Ghost. If this be so, we can hardly regard this so-called "New Light," as food to be assimilated now by the Church as a whole, for the reason that the Holy Ghost cannot be unfaithful or contradict Himself. Furthermore, it has been shown by Treffry in his monumental work on the Eternal Sonship that the error in its present form could not be maintained for any length of time, and he gives the reasons. Personality has for its basis, will and action, and in order to differentiate one person from another, a name or term is essential. We believe the term "Son" delineates for us the second Person in the ever blessed Trinity, and is, moreover, indicative of His related state in the Godhead. To give this up seems to me to cut at the very root of revealed religion, and leads when pursued to its logical conclusion, to a virtual denial of the truth that God is love, and the Trinity itself.

"In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only-begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him." 1 John 4:9. A positive incontrovertible statement of the truth of the Eternal Sonship of Christ. In this verse for instance, if the sending is an accident of the Incarnation, (as is held by the supporters of the error) why the need for the apparently redundant statement "into the world?" The fact is, that God's Son came forth from with the Father, — came into the world — left the world — and went to the Father, four clearly defined statements of the truth which can be made nothing more nor less than what they are. The truth of the Eternal Sonship of Christ is of the very deepest importance, and we feel there can be no neutral ground with respect to it: whatever may be its difficulty it can be solved and must be, individually. "We have an unction from the Holy One and know all things," "What think ye of Christ, Whose Son is He?"

It is our earnest hope that this book may aid in the solution of the problem, and help all those who may have the will to be helped.

The writer has been known to me for many years as a diligent and earnest student of the Word with an ardent zeal for the truth and an affectionate regard for the people of God. In conclusion let me say, — One of the pressing needs at the moment is that we should be in the good of the prayer of the great Apostle to the Gentiles in Colossians 1:9-11. "That ye may grow more and more in knowledge till ye attain to the perfect understanding of God's will, being endowed with all wisdom, (mental excellence in its highest and fullest sense) to apprehend His virtues, (the virtues of what God is in Himself), and intelligence, (the critical apprehension of the bearing of things), to follow His processes, living in the mind of the Spirit, to the end that knowledge may manifest itself in practice, that our conduct (the end of all knowledge) and life may be worthy of our profession in the Lord, so as in all ways to win the gracious favour of God." Who has been pleased to give such a revelation of Himself, and glorify the One Who has made that revelation possible: — May this work lead to that end.
  J. Burdon-Cooper, M.D., F.R.C.S. (Edin.)

Introduction by the author.

In writing this little book I had no thought of taking the attention of my readers from other and greater works on this absorbing theme of Divine Revelation. The subject is in itself so vast, the theme so boundless, that I can do no more than indicate certain great elements of eternal truth. And how earnestly can we thank God for His truth, that we do really possess that truth, that we are not left to grope our way in a semi-gloom, but that we can live in a great fulness of knowledge as to Himself. And it is above all to the CERTAINTY of
that knowledge and to the IMMUTABILITY of that truth which I desire to call your attention. If but those two supreme realities become more blessed and more enlarged in our souls, then this my humble work will not have been wholly in vain.

Chapter 1.
  Light and Darkness

"And this is the message which we have heard of him and declare to you, that God is light, (Hoti ho Theos phos estin) and in him is no darkness at all." — 1 John 1:5.

Perhaps nothing is more wonderful to us as redeemed creatures than the unchangeableness of God in His moral nature. On this truth we build all our hopes, through it we live in a world of eternal certainty where nothing can either alter or fade. It is a certain and absolute fact, "that God is light." Darkness has come to pass as the result of the moral ruin of the creature; but there is no darkness at all in God. Nor is there any darkness with Him. Where God is, is light and nothing but light. And when God who is light approaches the creature in grace then that light shines upon him and around him, illuminating his entire existence. A Christian is essentially one who knows God just according as He has manifested Himself as Light and as Love.

Now we do well to notice that in the very commencement of the Divine history in Genesis 1, after the simple statement that — "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" — we read that "darkness was upon the face of the deep;" then the Spirit of God is introduced, and then the Divine fiat goes forth — "Let there be light, and there was light.” From whatever cause the darkness had come about, when God intervenes He brings in light. He must do this because of what He is. Hence, when He is pleased to declare Himself fully in His Son, we can learn the glorious truth concerning His nature. For that nature must remain unknown unless and until the Son has come. Hence in all our considerations we look backward and forward from the presence of Christ on earth as the Divine centre of all our thoughts, both in regard to time and its history of God's ways, and also in regard to eternity and its compass of the counsel of God. This I shall hope to develop a little in the course of our writing.

Now first let us consider the condition into which man has come on account of sin. In his disobedience he had departed from God. Many fail to see the deep significance of this. The man was created in the surest links with his God. Every notion that places man originally in the darkness, but groping his way to God, is fundamentally and shamelessly false. Man was created in God's image and likeness; he was given dominion; he had access to God, as is evident from the simple fact that after he had sinned and when he had heard the voice of God in the Garden he fled and hid himself. In his original estate he knew his Creator-God and had no fear, but now he prefers the darkness to the light. And this comes out clearly in the Gospel of John, as our Lord Himself says: "And this is the condemnation (Judgment), that light (To phos) is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that does evil hates the light neither comes to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that does truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God." John 3:19-21. He was the True Light; He was the Light of the world. All the light of God that has ever shone or will ever shine for men shone in Jesus. He was the true light which, coming into the world, shed its light on every man. John 1:9.

I will revert now to the original thought of God, that men should have light and be in the light, and not be left in the deep and silent darkness in which disobedience and sin had placed them. But the great point I would labour is — that, having sinned, the creature became dark morally as regards God. So the apostle Paul, writing to such as would be very likely esteemed some of the best informed of their generation, the Ephesians, has to say: "For ye were sometimes darkness but now ye are light in the Lord: walk as children of light." Eph. 5:8. Thus we find two great elements which characterise our lost condition. Firstly, we are darkness; and secondly, we are under its power, as Paul says to the Colossians; "Giving thanks to the Father … Who has delivered us from the power (authority) of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love." Col. 1:12-13. These two elements might well be described as our moral state and our moral position, darkness and under its power. As to the first, Scripture is sufficiently plain: the testimony of God is as definite to the moral ruin of man as it is to the intrinsic holiness of God. In writing to the Romans, Paul delineates that state by Divine inspiration in the course of the first three chapters of his epistle. Romans 1:18-32 gives us the real state of the Gentile world; and in Romans 2, the Apostle proves that the Jew, whilst boasting in the law and judging others in respect of sin, yet sinned in the like manner himself, and so led up to that Divine climax — "For there is no difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." Romans 3:22-23.

And though the Divine record be ever sufficient for faith, vet the historian of those days was compelled to recognise the same. From its head downwards — the Roman world was corrupt. But had Greek civilisation escaped this moral corruption, or had the Buddha brought to pass purity, or had the Persian myths led men nearer to God? No! indeed! The very philosophy of a Plato or a Socrates could not save its devotee from the deepest moral corruption. In short, nothing but the intervention of God who is LIGHT could affect the condition of the creature. Yet men will not learn this lesson of the ages. To-day many are casting off Christianity, an entire nation has already cast off God; but sin remains. Neither the philosophy of the ancients, nor the culture of medievalism, nor the miracles of modern science can affect in any way the moral corruption of a creature who is lost to God. Yet man had only himself to blame. Whatever the study of Aryan or any other mythology may reveal, the Divine record of Romans 1, stands: "Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds and four-footed beasts, and creeping things … who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator who is blessed for ever, Amen … And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient: … who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them." Romans 1:21-32.

Is not that a Divine delineation of man's moral darkness? Do I need an expression of more tremendous distance from God? It is the most intense moral gloom, a darkness that can be felt, the result of a complete and wilful departure from God. The Apostle distinctly says: "When they knew God, they glorified him not as God." Men did not care to retain God in their knowledge. They preferred to be away from Him; they deliberately chose the darkness because of the moral ruin of their hearts.

Then secondly, we learn the solemn fact that man has come under the power of the enemy, "the authority of darkness." To this the Apostle refers also in 2 Corinthians 4:3-4, "But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine to them." Again our Lord Jesus Himself refers to this when he says: "When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness." Luke 22:53. And the apostle Paul, in writing to the Ephesians, warns them of the very serious nature of the conflict before them. "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in the heavenlies," Ephesians 6:12. Satan is the god and prince of this world. He is the supreme head of the rulers of the darkness of this world, and his great object is to keep the poor creature in a state of darkness, to keep him away from God, with whom alone are to be found, light and life and everlasting love. He cares nought for his victim's woe if only he can rob God of His creature's love.

However, I will not linger further on the darkness, but will come to the great and blessed reality of the light of God. What confidence in Himself, yea, what unbounded confidence, would not God bring to pass in our souls! All that He is, and all that He has done, engenders a most holy and utterly perfect confidence in Himself on the part of those who truly believe. Think of the love of God! Consider for one moment that He spared not His own Son, His only-begotten Son, so that He might become the true sin-bearer, that all that God is as Light — His holiness, righteousness, goodness, truth, faithfulness, justice — might be vindicated and glorified in respect of all that man is as darkness — sinful, guilty, impure, unholy, evil, unfaithful, unjust — and all that body of sin once and for ever judged and a way made back to God, so that the poor creature might live eternally in the enjoyment of this unbounded love. So that the very Light that searches our inmost hearts, and discovers all their sin and vileness, yet acts in judgment against our blessed Substitute, in love I say; for love alone provided such a Substitute, that we might never come into condemnation but be passed from death to life, because we believe. Nevertheless, our rejoicing in this is in the great fact that — "God is light" — because then we are assured that nothing has been passed over. Yes — the truth that God is light means that He passes over and excuses nothing, not a jot or tittle of transgression, but visits the totality of His wrath against sin in the power of overwhelming judgment upon His own Son Who alone of all could bear that weight of condemnation, yet in love bears it for them who deserved it yet could not bear it themselves. Such is the rich, pure grace of our God.

Now when we read — "God is light"— we are not to think He is otiose as such, but He is active in love and grace towards us. The thoughts and activities of God are towards us, men dead in trespasses and sins. God is disposed towards us in love and not in judgment: Jesus bore all the judgment: that cup of woe He drank to its last bitter dregs — as one has so beautifully and truthfully expressed it — "Left but the love for me." The light of God can shine now in grace into the hearts of men. Had Jesus not borne that judgment, had He not gone to Calvary's cross, yes, to death itself, then God's light could never have shone in grace, it must have shone only in direst judgment into our sinful world and sinful hearts. Thus eternal love has changed for us eternal woe into eternal bliss.*

{* The eternal witness to all this is in resurrection. The resurrection of Christ is the confirmation to men of the whole testimony of God.}

Hence the apostle writes to the Corinthians: "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." 2 Cor. 4:6, And so John also: "Again, a new commandment I write to you; which thing is true in him and in you, because the darkness is past, and the true light now shines." 1 John 2:8. "Then spake Jesus again to them saying, I am the light of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." And again: "I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believes on me should not abide in darkness." John 12:46. I judge that one great fact stands forth in these scriptures — that the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ is the Divine centre of everything that is of God. He is the true Light — He sheds His light, the light of God, for he is God, upon everything. He presents Himself, bears record of Himself, because He is this Light of the world. He attracts to Himself, gathers around Himself and illuminates the soul with the glory of the manifestation of God's moral nature in grace to men. He, and He alone, undertakes to satisfy the heart, to fill every heart, to still the deepest longings in every breast. And He alone can make this Divine promise, that He is the Light of the world and the one who follows Him does not abide in darkness but has the light of life. Why? Because in Him was life and the life was the light of men. Every element of the truth of God is to be found, learnt, and known eternally alone in His own blessed Son. And the radiance of the love and grace, the truth and purity, of Jesus is the light of God to your soul and mine. Yet these are not mere ideas, ethical ideals, but intense realities, the very soul of Divine revelation. God, who is light, has shone into our hearts. Once He commanded the light to shine. He commands the light of creation; but in the Person of His Son He comes Himself into my darkness, to surround my soul for ever with the cloudless radiance of the perfect knowledge of Himself and His glory in fullest revelation.

Yes! a perfect unchanging effulgence characterises this blessed revelation. There are no vacillations with God, no uncertainty. And without that revelation, we must have perished in our darkness; for we could never have found our way back to God. Do you tell me I must expect at least a measure of uncertainty in this revelation? I reject such a notion as alike wicked and absurd. There is neither uncertainty nor mutability in this blessed revelation of God. All is certain, real, perfect; a very fulness of cloudless veilless splendour — the radiance of God revealed in and according to His eternal Nature and Glory. God is the God of truth, and Jesus is THE TRUTH … And when He testifies to His relationship with God; when He asserts that He came from the Father, and that the Father sent Him, when he speaks to the Father in prayer, the loftiest, the most sublime utterance that ever fell on mortal ears, and rejoices in that love wherewith the Father loved Him before the world's foundation; then I know that I am listening to the language of eternal truth, to the speech of God's own blessed Son. And I know the reality of what He says; and no man, nay, nor Satan's power and wiles, shall ever shake my confidence in the words of Jesus. Let unbelief flow on; let infidelity increase on all sides; let the enemy prevail in the souls of the feeble-minded; no man whose mind is stayed on God, no man who trusts the God who cannot lie, shall be disturbed, or have his faith disturbed, either by the sophistries of men or Satan's lies.

Blessed certainty in our souls, that we have believed and know a God of truth. There is no such thing as uncertainty with God. There is an infinite certainty in all His counsels and ways, and perfect immutability in His revelation. This is seen clearly enough in relation to the partial light in which He made Himself known to Moses and His ancient people as the I AM. For Jesus Himself says: "Before Abraham was, I AM." John 8:58. God does not become the “Ehyeh” nor the “Ani Hu,” and He will never cease to be in infinite Godhead greatness what these names convey. Truth shines in all that God manifests Himself as being to His creature. And He is unchanging in that eternal verity. Hence, His eternal Fatherhood and the eternal Divine Sonship of Jesus reveal to our hearts what God is, the highest and fullest disclosure to creatures of His everlasting Being, the blessedness of His Nature and the source of all His counsels. And because the Son has come we know God in all this fulness, alike of light and of love, and know Him unchanging in it. What He is, is what He was, and ever will be, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And in that light of life we live and walk and move, and in that light we shall live for ever, the light of the love and the glory of God, yet known now to these frail hearts because of the lowly grace and humiliation of Jesus. Every element of that revelation calls forth our adoration, because "God is Light, and in him is no darkness at all."

Chapter 2.
  The Written Word.

This chapter and the next are so intimately linked together that I shall be compelled to introduce here the Divine Subject of chapter 3, in order to set forth simply and briefly the order subsisting in Divine revelation. Thus, strictly speaking, chapter 3 should precede chapter 2; I have, however, taken them in their present order because that is their relation to us. The Divine and Eternal Word, the LOGOS, is the full revelation of God. All that God is, is expressed in His Word. And, hence when He becomes flesh the fulness of that revelation reaches us. Not one element of the moral nature of God, not one thought of His eternal Mind, but is resident in the Logos. He is the Eternal Personal Word; and, because He is God, He cannot but express God. So that creation is all the work of this Divine Word, and in that God has been expressed. But now in a fulness of grace and truth He has come near to us; and the perfect revelation of God has resulted in this lower world. The very nature of God, infinite love, has been disclosed; His glory has come fully into evidence and has been vindicated in the sufferings and death of our Lord Jesus Christ; He has been vindicated also in His truth and in His holiness; and we can say we know God. There could be no longer either any uncertainty or any partial knowledge when the Son of God had come. So the apostle writes: "We know that the Son of God is come, and has given us an understanding that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life." 1 John 5:20. He was conscious of the true nature and glory of the Divine Son, He with whom he had companied, on whose breast he had leaned at supper, whose mighty power he had witnessed at the grave of Lazarus, yea, I say, whose deep, deep sufferings and whose precious death he had witnessed also; well might John say "we know that the Son of God is come, …"

As Christians, then, we recognise the perfection of Divine revelation in the Son of God; but we recognise a further truth also; and that is, God has been pleased to preserve the totality of such revelation in an essentially Divine record, given by the unction of His Holy Spirit through elect vessels, that there might be no uncertainty for such as should come after, and that the truth itself might be preserved after a Divine manner as contrasted with the grave possibility of error in a merely oral testimony. This, however, is not peculiar to the full revelation of our God in the Person of our Lord Jesus; but belongs properly to the entire scope of His dealings with men and His disclosures to them. Hence there can be no sort of discrepancy recognised between the truth of the Old and New Testaments. The distinction between them lies in the character of the revelation not in the fact that both are essentially true and of God according to the light in which He is known. Thus we own the book of Genesis to be not only true but Divine, which no other cosmogony is or could be; and we recognise its truth and its Divine character equally as we do the Gospel of John. There is neither disparity of truth nor want of moral correspondence in the two books; because what God is dominates both alike and constitutes their glory.

In writing this little book, however, I shall have largely in mind the truth unfolded in the New Testament, for it is pre-eminently that to which I shall call attention. In it, the Son speaks and tells us of the Father; likewise in it the Father speaks and tells us of the Son; also throughout all, the Holy Spirit speaks, in the power and glory of the Divine unity, the harmony of infinite and eternal truth. Neither can there be any doubt concerning the language in which such truth has been communicated. All is in Divine suitability. The truth is God's; His also are the words; His also is their Divine meaning. Thus are we assured of all reality. And not only this; but His word is living and speaks in the conscience and heart of man, probes that conscience and subdues that heart, so that faith in Himself results, constituting a real living link between the soul and God. The soul knows that God has spoken to it alike in grace and in truth, and has the, full assurance of the perfection of His mind in the written word. This gives stability to our souls in all moral relations. And Scripture becomes to us not merely a guide in our relations to our fellows, but is the ground of all our relations to God, a link between the soul and Himself which cannot be broken either by man's infidelity or Satan's corruption and lies. This is truly what Martin Luther discovered in the Word, and thousands more: when the outward Church was in ruins, when evil raged, when seducers waxed worse and worse, when the souls of men were tortured with doubts and fears, when truth seemed to have perished from the earth, then were their eves directed to the word, to the written page, and they could truly say in the language of that Word itself: "Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was to me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart; for I am called by thy name, O JEHOVAH God of hosts." Jeremiah 15:16.

I pass on now to consider the written word under three aspects, but to consider these in view of the preservation of the truth amongst the people of God, and also in view of the maintenance of a pure testimony to the Son of God until He come.

1. Inspiration: This first aspect of the word contains that evidence of its truth to faith which places it beyond the need or reach of proof. As to labours which men of God have undertaken in regard of such proof, either for those who oppose or who doubt on certain genuine grounds, I will refer later. As to the verity of Scripture for a believer, it contains its own testimony, which exceeds that of even the utmost purity and sincerity. We can well illustrate this by reference to the Apostle John. None loved the blessed Son of God more than he; none was more devoted; upon his testimony as upon no other could we place that confidence which reposes necessarily in the calm sobriety of a truthful witness to facts which he knew so well. Yet even here God has provided for a Divine testimony to His Son; so that, sober, loving and truthful as John would be, he is guided and guarded in his testimony by the special unction of the Holy Spirit. So that, as is the Divine Subject of that testimony so is the record of it, though through a human instrument.

Who so gifted as Paul, who so earnest, so slow at exaggeration or so far removed from a wild enthusiasm? Yet when he treats of the righteousness of God or enlarges upon the functions of the Church, he is controlled by the Spirit of God. Hence we receive his teaching as that of God. God is the teacher by His word, and we have full assurance regarding that word because He has given it to us by "inspiration." So this apostle himself affirms: "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished to all good works." 2 Timothy 3:16-17. And again he writes: "Which things also we speak not in the words which man's wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Ghost teaches; comparing (expounding) spiritual things with spiritual." 1 Cor. 2:13. And Peter writes: "We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereto ye do well that ye take heed, as to a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: knowing this first, that no prophecy of scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." 2 Peter 1:19-21.

Thus we receive this doctrine of inspiration on the principle of faith, as we receive all. It is as much faith in the soul that bows to the Divine authority of Scripture as it is faith that owns the very existence of God whose word it is. And this is rich grace towards us, great kindness, that God has not left us in uncertainty but has communicated His truth to us. In this, then, our hearts can rejoice; and though we be truly thankful for every help and commentary on the word to aid us in understanding it, yet that word itself we possess, and none can take it from us, or destroy in our souls the knowledge of its truth.

2. Assaults upon the genuineness of the Word: I pass on now to notice very briefly this deeply serious matter; yet, I would say, not one that need disturb the mind or heart of any true child of God. If God is my only Object, (I speak now of the God of revelation — Father, Son and Spirit), I shall not be disturbed by the mere opinions of men. And how those opinions fade and change; and how are they renewed in other forms, yet the same wretched insinuations against the verity of the scriptures! We might dwell at some length on the 'Evidences for the truth of Christianity;' but, important though this be, it is not my present business. I would commend, however, for any who may have become afflicted with doubts, or who may have lent an ear in an evil moment to the insinuations of infidelity, or who may even now be finding their way out of gross darkness, a consideration of such works as — Paley's "Evidences," J. N. Darby's "Irrationalism of Infidelity," and Thomson's "Aids to Faith," wherein the diligent reader will not only find much to profit his soul, but will find every infidel or deist objection against Scripture most thoroughly answered. But again, I repeat, if the mind alone be convicted of the truth of Christianity as one might be assured of the general historical accuracy of any human record, it will avail little unless, of course, we recognise the paramount claim upon the conscience and heart of such truth, (when its truth is owned), because it is of and from God Himself.

On the other hand, nothing could be more wonderful than the recognition of the power of the Word in its secret inner workings in the souls of men. In this, as in all else, it stands entirely alone, because God is speaking through it. He spoke to an Augustine, to a Luther, to a Darby through its sublime utterances, and none knew more than these the infinite value of that word. It was God's voice in the depth of the heart, breaking in upon the silence of the soul, sounding depths of which they themselves were scarce aware till its solemn power was felt. And they were changed by it; converted by it; brought to God, to know a righteousness with God they never knew else, to possess a peace with God unknown before, because of its Divine certainty and its precious emancipating truth.

Thus is the conscience of man searched, his heart of unbelief exposed, in the sight of God, yet by grace in that hour is his soul quickened. As the writer to the Hebrews tells us: "For the word of God is quick (living), and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened (laid bare) to the eyes of him with whom we have to do." Hebrews 4:12-13.

3. Interpretation: The sceptic, if ever the eye of such scanned these humble pages, might well point mockingly to the divisions of Christendom as evidence of sorrowful divergence in the interpretation of the word, for all alike appeal to the same word. And this may be carried a stage further; even those, such as Christadelphians, who are not recognised as Christians by orthodox belief, appeal to the word as the basis and ground of their destructive doctrines. And nothing would be more foolish than for us to attempt to hide the solemn fact that true men of God have not only disagreed concerning the interpretation of scripture, but have also divided in the Church because of that disagreement. However, in the overruling mercy and goodness of God, a very great body of essential truth has been held throughout the Church, (or, perhaps, I should say, the churches), in all ages. And it is profitable study to consider that body of truth, and to rejoice that it includes so much that is infinitely precious to every redeemed soul.

Thus, we might consider the earliest ages in three distinct epochs, (See W. H. Simcox, "Early Church History."). viz: (1). the sub-apostolic church, (2). the church of the apologists, and (3). the church of the martyrs. Now these three epochs are all ante-Nicene, yet they never fail in the character of their interpretation of scripture regarding the great truths of the Trinity. I speak, of course, of the general position. And when we come to the strictly Nicene period and the ages following, we discover a truly wonderful harmony in the interpretation of the Word as it unfolds the real Godhead and true Divine Sonship of our Lord Jesus Christ. Now this character of interpretation has been permeated with a deep simplicity. Thus, for Athanasius our Lord's language in John 10:30; "I and the Father are one;" could convey but one meaning: such words could have, on His blessed lips, but one interpretation. Rationalism has laboured to lower that meaning, to weaken that interpretation, Socinianism has rejected the Divine sense of the words altogether; but the true simple-hearted believer continues in the faith, certain in his knowledge that the Son of God cannot deceive. His faith is living, because it centres and rests in One whom he knows is God's OWN Son, the true, real, proper Son of the Father. The name of "Son "is no mere title to him; rather does it speak of the most blessed relationship, perfect and eternal, essentially Divine, proper to the very Being and Nature of the eternal God. And this interpretation is verified for him throughout Scripture; so that John 1:14. harmonises with Colossians 1:15, and John 5:17-19. harmonises with Hebrews 1:1-3. No matter where we turn in Scripture there is only faultless accord between all its parts as regards the Divine Sonship of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Now before closing this chapter, I wish to notice a method of interpretation which has been evolved of recent years in order to deny that the Lord Jesus was both the Eternal Word and the Eternal Son. I will say at once that I utterly reject this method of reasoning, and cannot find words to express my condemnation of what I believe to be a system of darkness and of untruth, utterly abhorrent to those who truly love Christ, and in whose

hearts has shone the glory of the Father and the Son. That method of "reasoning" (for it is scarce worthy to be deemed "interpretation"), as applied to John 1:1, is just this: Scripture asserts — "In the beginning was the Word:" the new teaching says — "In the beginning was Someone who became known on earth, in time, in Incarnation, as the Word. He became the Word but He was in the beginning as to His Person. So they say — "The person was there, but He was not the Word." Now this sounds very plausible, and it is supported by reference to Christ's title "Son of Man." The Lord Himself says: "What and if ye shall see the Son of Man ascend up where he was before?" The new teachers comment on this, "He was not the Son of Man when in heaven before He came down into this world:" and hence further argue, that He need not have been the "Word." But the whole tenor of Scripture as well as the form of it, are against such reasoning. John 1:1, is a clear definite predication; and as such it stands unyielding to the hand that would try to mould it to another form. In His written word God does not trifle with His own truth in this foolish and puerile manner, to say nothing of its evil. God is the God of truth, and we have this grand assurance that His Holy Spirit has guided His saints in their entrance upon the truth. Is it to be attributed to God that being the God of Truth, He would give His word only to deceive? I say — Who, reading John 1:1, could ever entertain but one simple interpretation of its language, that the Word was in the beginning and He was with God? Who was with God? The Word. Scripture asserts it with all the definiteness of its Divine unction and power.

Further, I wish to point out to what lengths this method of reasoning might be taken. Consider Genesis. 1:1: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." That is a simple predication of a Divine fact. Dare we say: "In the beginning some Absolute Power created the heavens and the earth, and we know now that Absolute Power as God?" Could anything be more monstrous? Yet if a method of interpretation be tolerated which permits the fearful mutilation of John 1:1, to which we have referred, how can we prevent its destructive application to any scripture or to any truth? I question if the worst forms of rationalism that have ever afflicted Christendom have ever advanced a method of interpretation of the Scriptures so wicked and so ruinous to the truth as is this!

I will notice one illustration further of this evil cavil against the truth and sanctity of the written word, before going on to our next chapter. I ask my reader to turn to John 16:26-28; "At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not to you, that I will pray the Father for you: for the Father himself loves you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father." Dare any man distinguish in this precious utterance of the Son of God between these two kindred truths set side by side; that the Son had come forth from the Father equally as He had come out from God? He had come from God the Father by His coming here. In the language of John 5:18, God was His own Father; it was the Father He had come from, the true eternal Father who had sent Him. And the apostle, writing by the Spirit, uses the same word in each case (exerkomai). If it be true that He had come from God, was it not God the Father? Was not the Father truly such, in a manner both Divine and Eternal, and independent of the act of the Incarnation? Most certainly. Then was the Son with the Father; for, as the ancient fathers of the Church maintained: Always the Father, always the Son. The Son is not without the Father, nor the Father without the Son. Yet to-day men are to be found who, whilst denying the Eternal Son, find it needful to deny the Eternal Father also. And in so doing destroy every element of Divine certainty in the revelation of God. They arraign also its immutability; for by their reasoning they reject that God the Father is such in Himself, in an essentially Divine and Eternal sense and meaning. No language that we could use could be possibly adequate to the condemnation of this great evil, a form of teaching as incontrovertibly false as anything that has ever disturbed the history of the Church.

Chapter 3.
  The Eternal Word. (The Divine Logos.)

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not," John 1:1-5. "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." John 1:14.

Rejecting entirely the utterly false method of reasoning to which we called attention in our last chapter, we hold that this Scripture sets forth for us the truth of the Divine and Eternal Word. And in considering the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ in this glory I desire to present a few simple thoughts in order. I will therefore notice first the essentially Divine character of this truth. For it has been objected that Jesus is only the Logos as become man; that He could not be the Logos as eternally Divine. Now my readers will notice that this rationalistic teaching is at variance fundamentally with the doctrines of the Church in all ages. Those doctrines have maintained that the Divine nature of the Logos is the very foundation of a real revelation of God. And I judge this will be clear enough to my readers. Only One who was God, could reveal God. But the Word is the revealer, not merely abstractedly, but as the Word; hence He must needs be Divine as the Logos. That is — He is the Divine Logos in His true inward and eternal nature as God. This, then, should be sufficient answer to the objectors and critics. So that the whole matter turns upon the question as to whether we possess a real revelation of God. That has been already well answered. The whole tenor of Scripture, the true personal glory of our Saviour which He ever claimed and because of which He was put to death, the faith of the Church, the teaching of men of God under the evident guidance of His Spirit; I say, all this claims for Christianity the glory of a real revelation of God.

Now in considering so great a matter, some examination of the actual language of the Spirit of God writing by the Apostle is called for. This, however, from a scholarly point of view has been done so exhaustively that I need do no more than refer to where such can be found: viz: the commentaries of Westcott, Alford, Meyer and Tholuck on John, together with Hermann Cremer's Lexicon. These writings together will show to the earnest student more especially the pre-Johannine history of the Logos, and hence give him an historical exegesis of the sense in which the apostle uses his language. But above all, be it remembered, that John does this by the Spirit of God, and hence gives us the absolute truth concerning our Lord Jesus in this character of His greatness.* That he employs the word — Logos — specifically, and with intent to convey truth that could not be conveyed otherwise, must be evident to all. This is J. N. Darby's meaning when he writes on John 1:1-14: "He is God no less than the Father is, or the Holy Ghost; but He is the Word in a way in which the Father and the Holy Ghost were not. It was Jesus Christ the Son of God who alone was the Word of God. He only after a personal sort expressed God. The Father and the Holy Ghost remained in their own unseeable majesty. The Word had for His place to express God clearly; and this belonged to Him, it is evident, as a distinctive personal glory. It was not merely that He was the Word when He came into the world, but 'in the beginning was the Word' when there was no creature. Before anything came into being that was made, the Word was in the beginning with God; not merely in God, as if merged or lost in God, but He had a distinct personal subsistence before a creature existed. He 'was in the beginning with God.' This is of immense importance, and with these truths our Gospel opens.

{*See J. N. Darby: Irrationalism of Infidelity, pp. 238, 9.}

Then we find His creation glory stated afterwards. 'All things were made by him.' There is nothing which more stamps God to be God than giving existence to that which had none, causing to exist by His own will and power. Now all things exist by the Word: and so emphatically true is this that the Spirit has added, 'and without him was not anything made that was made.'" Collected Writings Vol. xxi. "The Word made flesh," pp. 138-144.

When the Divine Sonship and the true Godhead of our Lord Jesus was assailed by the Arian teaching of the fourth century, Athanasius the great was raised up by God to meet it, and by His help did overcome it, through many sufferings. Now I mention this only because I would call attention to a truth which presented itself so forcibly to the mind of that devoted servant of God, viz; That God was never without His Word (alogos). Now the Greek Word — Logos — is used both for the word, that by which the inward thought is expressed (oratio); and also for the inward thought itself, (ratio). And when John reveals to us that our Lord is THE WORD, both these meanings are evidently present to his mind. And when once grasped, this truth is found to be most helpful. As Canon Liddon has expressed it; "The Divine Logos is God reflected in His own eternal Thought." Divinity of our Lord, p. 230.

If we pause and weigh the matter over we shall realise that the fundamental conception in the language necessitates that the Word does not stand alone. So when the Apostle has stated the eternity of the Word, for the Word WAS, already possessed absolute Being when all else came into its caused relative existence, he immediately continues, "And the Word was with God." As J. N. Darby has so trenchantly expressed it; "He is, and He is the expression of, the whole mind that subsists in God, the Logos. In the beginning He was. If we go back as far as is possible to the mind of man, how far soever beyond all that has had a beginning, He is. This is the most perfect idea we can form historically, if I may use such an expression, of the existence of God or of eternity. 'In the beginning was the Word.' Was there nothing beside Him? Impossible! Of what would He have been the Word? 'The Word was with God.' That is to say, a personal existence is ascribed to Him. But, lest it may be thought that He was something which eternity implies but which the Holy Ghost comes to reveal, it is said that He was God.' In His existence eternal — in His nature divine — in His Person distinct, He might have been spoken of as an emanation in time, as though His personality were of time, although eternal in His nature: the Spirit therefore adds, 'In the beginning He was with God.' It is the revelation of the eternal Logos before all creation. This Gospel therefore really begins before Genesis. The book of Genesis gives us the history of the world in time: John gives us that of the Word, who existed in eternity before the world was; who — when man can speak of beginning — was; and, consequently, did not begin to exist. The language of the Gospel is as plain as possible, and, like the sword of paradise, turns every way, in opposition to the thoughts and reasonings of man, to defend the divinity and personality of the Son of God." Synopsis Vol. III. pp. 384, 385.

We thus discover only perfect harmony in the interpretation of men of God regarding the truth of the Divine Logos as expressed by John, from the fourth to the nineteenth centuries of Christian life and thought. Nothing could be more significant. The Divine Logos was ever with God. The Word is not a mere human title of the Eternal Son of God. No! indeed. God was never without His Word; for how could He be without the power to express Himself? This doctrine of the temporal Logos is degrading to God whose Logos He is. Its result would be to shut God up in an eternal "silence"; and in this the doctrine reminds us of the Gnostic "Sige;" the emanations from Bythos and Sige being the origin of those frightful reveries. No! every idea of silence must be banished from our thoughts of God. There was an Eternal Word, the everlasting expression of the mind and thought of God. Not only does He reveal God to men through His Incarnation, He is the very Mind that subsists in God.

Because two great realities are revealed to us in the truth of the Word, the inward as well as the outward thought. The whole Divine Mind is in the Word, eternally and immutably. And the Word is, as the Word, as eternal and as immutable as God. The least notion even of a possibility of change in God is not only abhorrent to the Christian mind; but it is supremely degrading to God. For He would be no longer God Who so changed. He changes neither in His attributes of Godhead majesty and power, nor in His moral nature, nor in what is purely His nature — love. Thus we possess an eternal certainty because of our faith in God. We can respect philosophy when it keeps within the bounds of its own works; but it must not interfere with the revelation of God. No system of philosophy which disputes the immutablity of the moral nature of God can be permitted for a moment. Such a system, in its logical conclusions, can only terminate in Atheism.

Thus we learn in addition to the truth that God is light, and that in Him is no darkness at all, that He also has His Word; which is His Speech, the One in whom and by whom He speaks and communicates His mind to men, and that He is not "Sige" at all. God is thus infinite and positive, in goodness and in truth, as light and as love, and as declaring what He is to men. But He also is declared in His works. Creation speaks of God, as the Psalmist writes; "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his handiwork. Day to day utters speech, and night to night shows knowledge. There is no speech and there are no words, yet their voice is heard." Psalm 19:1-3, And similarly the Apostle writes; "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God has showed it to them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse." Romans 1:18-20.

Creation is thus the voice of God. It speaks, and though there be no audible utterance, yet the glory of God is thereby declared. His eternal power and Godhead are thus manifest. But creation is the work of the Divine Logos, yes, in its entirety; for nothing that has ever existed has possessed that existence apart from the Word. Thus we find the essential glory of the Word displayed in creation as well as in redemption. Jesus then was this Divine Word when He created all things. He is the Word, essentially, ever with God, for God was never without His Word: He is the Word active in creation, yet remaining in His own Divine and heavenly conditions; He also is the Word become flesh and found down here in the estate of man in this world. And in this truth of the Divine and Eternal Word we possess the certainty and immutability of Divine revelation. For if the Word be not the Word in an essentially Divine and Eternal sense, that is, as God; then we have no ground or basis for our faith in a true revelation. Divine revelation is both true and real, because the One who has made God known in this world, is, in declarative power and glory, the One whose eternal personal portion it was to express God.

The Divine Word hypostatises the Divine Mind. He is the inward Word, as the substantial Thought of God. Every thought and counsel of God have centred in Him from all eternity. God was never without His Word; and that Word was never ought less than the substantial Thought of God. And the Divine Logos is speech also, whether in creation or in redemption or in the word of Jehovah that came to men in the old time. God has counselled all and has wrought all by His own eternal Word and Wisdom, Who is yet a personal Word and Wisdom, the living embodiment and substantiating of His own eternal Mind, even His Only-begotten Son. Nothing could be more blessed than such a consideration as this; for by it we are established in the certainty of all truth in our Lord Jesus Christ. Consider this: that the One whom I know, whom I have learnt to love, whose love and whose saving grace I know, whose precious blood I trust, whom I know in the ever-increasing intimacy of a daily communion, whose constant care for me is the peace of my humble life in this world; that this One, I say, is the Eternal, Substantial Word of God, without whom nothing has ever existed, exists to-day, or will ever exist; that this One, the Divine Logos, contains in Himself all the eternal Mind and Counsel of God, is His eternal Wisdom; compasses all things, knows all things, orders all things; has life in Himself and gives life to all; is light to men, is the only true Light that has ever shed His light upon men in this world of sin and darkness.

What a challenge this is to our souls! How unspeakably great and glorious is this Divine Word! And what shall be said of those who deny the essentially Divine and Eternal Word? Whether they are alive to the fact or not, they are casting away and despising the very basis of the revelation of God. For the unchangeableness of that revealed truth depends on the unchangeableness of the Revealer as much as upon that of the God whom He reveals. All is unchangeable, alike in its inward Divine nature and character as in its outward expression to the creature. Well may we say with Paul; "Yea, let God be true, but every man a liar." Romans 3:4.

Now this Eternal Word has appeared among men, as John writes: "And the Word became (egeneto) flesh." In these short simple words, by the Spirit, he unfolds the supreme reality of Incarnation. All was new. The religious philosophy of a Philo could not conceive this, nor anything remotely resembling it, no more than could the moral philosophy of a Plato. Philosophy and religion alike were in a state of darkness. In a haze, through thick moral gloom, they laboured, groping after a truth which always and necessarily eluded them. But when the Word had come, and had been revealed here, then indeed could the beloved Apostle herald forth His glory, and delineate with Divine wisdom the whole circle of truth that centred in His Person. Fulness of light, absolute truth, and boundless grace were here, flooding the hearts and filling the souls of those who received Him.

And even as to the wider circles, His light shone for them, though they refused Him. The Incarnate Word, the true Light, has not been reserved in the Divine intention for only a few. The whole of John's Gospel proves that the purpose of His coming was the presentation of God's love and grace towards all. But the work of sovereign grace had opened the eyes of many: so that the Apostle could say, "And we contemplated His glory." Nothing could be more exquisitely precious. The Word could not be here and His glory hid from the enlightened gaze of those whose hearts He had attracted to Himself. Yea, I say, it was His glory thus to attract their hearts to Him, to bind their adoring affections around Himself, to fasten their gaze upon the glory He had brought with Him to manifest in this scene. He had come, the Only-begotten of the Father, into a world of woe; but His glory was never dimmed however much He might be slighted; nor was His witness to the truth lowered however much His grace might be despised. He was full of grace and truth. Such was the Incarnate Word!

Again, I say, let this one grand reality take hold upon our souls, that this One, the Word, the Only-begotten of the Father, is our own Lord and Saviour, the One whom we know. And what certainty is this! We must not conceive of John as an ignorant man. There is nothing to support such an idea, though he may not have been "learned" according to the Pharisaic standards of his day. But he knew he had found the true Light and eternal unvarying truth in the Holy Person of Jesus. And from this he never moves. His works are intensely dogmatic. His theology is, in fact, more dogmatic than that of any of the ages that followed. He teaches the kindred truths of the Divine Sonship and the true Godhead of His Lord and Saviour in the most uncompromising manner. And he could witness to a glory he had contemplated. He knew by the power of the indwelling Spirit of God that his witness was true. He rejoiced in the abiding truth of that witness. The Divine Logos had been manifested in the perfection of humanity here. And he had believed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God. Coming from the Father, the Divine Son and Word alone could reveal the Father. Hence none ever spake as He spoke. Let any read the fourth chapter of John's gospel and disbelieve in the Son of God! No such language ever fell on mortal ears till Jesus came. Such miracles could alone be the perfect display of the glory of the Incarnate Word. Hence the Apostle writes of Him in the power of that Divine certainty in his soul.

And do we not also know that certainty? Have we any secret doubts regarding Christ? Do we need to say — Who is He, as though we did not know? Most surely not! The glory of the Eternal Word has shone in all its faultless splendour in this our world. And that glory has manifested "the Father," because the glory was that of "the Only-begotten." How deeply tender is all this precious truth, and how it gathers our hearts into its Divine embrace, to live in the shining of this full and perfect revelation of our God, yea, I say, to live in that shining for ever!

Chapter 4
  The Son of God.

If there be one great line of Divine truth as regards which many Christians are defective at the present time, it is that which refers to the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ. And had it not been for this defect, the gross errors which have come in amongst those who have enjoyed the highest privileges, would have been rejected and spurned as abhorrent to the true saint of God. But, alas, the enemy has wrought a terrible work, deeply saddening, introducing amongst believers grievous untruth and evil doctrine concerning the Father and the Son.

The Divine and Eternal Sonship of our Lord Jesus Christ, is and ever has been, the faith of the Church. As truth it lies on the very face of Scripture, which, as God's written Word, cannot lie; and, moreover, the deepest enquiry and the most spiritual searchings into that word only confirm our souls in the certainty of this precious, vital truth. The Divine and Eternal Fatherhood, and the Divine and Eternal Sonship are the very soul of the revelation of God. In fact, they constitute Christianity such revelation. Remove them, and it becomes impossible to talk seriously of any revelation at all. The idea of a so-called revelation which bears no relation to what God is in Himself is a pure myth. Deny the Divine filiation of our Lord Jesus, and Christianity ceases at once to be any true revelation of God, but assumes the character of a mask which still hides Who and What God is? But we may be thankful that such ideas need no great refutation. Christianity is the true revelation of God. Jesus Christ is the true real Son of God, the Son of the Father, and He has revealed the Father. He has made full declaration concerning God, because He is the only-begotten Son being in the bosom of the Father. Matt. 11:27. "All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knows the Son, but the Father, neither knows any man the Father save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him." John 1:18. "No man has seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him."

In Christianity God is known as the Father, because the Son has revealed Him. He might have made Himself known in previous dispensations under the names of the Almighty, the I am, Jehovah; but all were necessarily surpassed now. Fulness of light and love, the outshining of all Divine glory, the unfolding of eternal purpose; all this belongs to the revelation of the Father. God does not become the Father; neither did our Lord Jesus Christ become the Son. To affirm there was a time when the Father was not the Father, and a time when the Son was not the Son, degrades beyond measure the true essential greatness both of the Father and the Son.

This, then, leads us to the great and vital truth of the Trinity; though in so brief a work as this, I cannot possibly linger over the doctrine as I would desire. Now, even though it be allowed there were intimations in the Old Testament of the doctrine, yet God was not revealed in Trinity until the Son had come. Only by the presence of the Son of God on earth could the knowledge of the Father be revealed. We know the Father in and by the Son. The Father bears witness to His beloved Son, and the Son makes known the Father. What God is, He ever has been and ever will be. The Divine Trinity of the revelation of Christianity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is that doctrine which, whilst it safeguards the Unity of God, yet makes known to us Three Persons in that eternal Unity. Further, this word "Person" must only be used by us with great spiritual caution. We must on no account use it in regard of God as we use it in regard to ourselves; that is, in a limited sense, and with a strong individualistic meaning. To do so will result in a complete loss of the truth of the Divine Unity. Now this doctrine must be maintained at all costs. "God is one." "There is one God." Scripture is unanimous in its witness to this solemn fundamental doctrine regarding God. And the eternal relations of the Trinity, the Son — begotten, and the Holy Spirit — proceeding, preserve this truth of the Divine Unity. And if we deny these eternal relations we have cast away our anchors, and there is nothing to prevent us going to pieces on the rocks of heresy and gross error. Because, if the revealed relations of the Godhead be denied, we have not a vestige of right to suppose or to imagine that any others existed. To reject what God reveals of Himself because of some difficulty in our minds founded on human relations, and then to suppose something else, no man knows what, to be true of God, is in fact to make Him a liar. The entire testimony of the written Word is to the effect that our Lord Jesus Christ is the true Son of God, that the relation of the Father and the Son is a real relation, essentially Divine and Personal, and hence necessarily Eternal. To doubt this is to doubt about everything. For if God by His Spirit has not rendered a certain testimony to His own Son, but one of such terrible uncertainty that the whole Church has been deceived and in error for some 1900 years, then, I say, we have no moral foundation for our faith in any other Divine testimony.

In the presence of such an alternative, no devout mind could hesitate for a moment. We believe that God has considered for us in all things, and that He has rendered to us in the Scriptures a perfect and faithful witness to the Divine glory of Him Who is His own Son, His Son in a proper personal sense in which no other could be. We are sons by adoption, angels are sons by creation, Adam was son of God also by creation, but Jesus is the essential Son of God, Son in the very Nature and Being of God, in an inward and Divine sense and meaning, such as must constitute Him the "Only-begotten." (Monogenees). Yes, I say, we believe in God, in all the simplicity and fervour of a true-hearted faith; the faith of our Fathers, of God's elect in all ages of the Church's history, the faith that honours God by accepting His word unquestioningly, in spite of any rational difficulties that unbelief may raise regarding the doctrine.

Before, however, I pass on to consider a little the fulness of Divine revelation in the great work of the Son of God in redemption, I desire to call attention to the labours of men of God in regard of the doctrine we are examining together. Amongst others, I would commend to the earnest Christian, "An Inquiry into the Doctrine of the Eternal Sonship of our Lord Jesus Christ," by Richard Treffry; also a tract on "The Eternal Sonship "by Richard Watson,* also a careful perusal of remarks in the Commentary of J. B. Lightfoot on Colossians 1, also of H. Olshausen on the same chapter. I would further recommend reading what Henry Alford and Gottlieb Lunemann say in their respective Commentaries on Hebrews 1. Also I could have wished to have been able to quote fairly extensively from these and other works, but the space at my disposal quite forbids it. I shall content myself therefore with noticing the two following extracts only.

{* One value of the works of Treffry and Watson lies in their complete refutation of certain teaching of Adam Clarke, Moses Stuart, and others.}

"It is the rejection, then, not merely of the Messiahship of the Lord Jesus, but of His divine glory as the Son, that brings in antichrist. All the love of the Father has come out in Christ, witnessed by the Holy Ghost. That involves, not merely the Jewish revelation, but the Christian; and it supposes too that Messiah has not only come and been rejected, but has brought out all His Divine and heavenly glory. For His being the Son of the Father has nothing to do with the earth. His Eternal Sonship is evidently a truth transcending entirely His Messianic rights and position. It would have been equally true if there had been no earth or providential dealings. It was His eternal relation and glory; and therefore, when the Holy Ghost wants to bring us into our full place of blessedness, it is the Father that He brings out. 'Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings.' Where? Here? Not at all. 'In heavenly places in Christ, according as He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world.' So that the seat of our blessing is entirely outside and above the whole scene of the lower creation. And if a man utterly rejects and despises that, renouncing His glory whom he had once owned, what is he? An antichrist. What he does on a small scale, the antichrist will do on a larger one." Lectures on the Book of the Revelation… W. Kelly. pp. 292-3.

On Matthew 16:16. J. N. Darby writes as follows; ". … but He who was Son of man, as of man, and, in the title of Ps. 8 was the true Son having life in Himself, the Son of the living God, the Eternal Son, personally the Son, though Son of man, and as Son of man here. This, though ever true, and nothing else could have been true without it, had never been revealed before." Notes and Comments, Vol. v. p. 203.

I now pass on to consider the glory of Divine revelation in redemption. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his Only-begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." John, 3:16-17. "For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life." Romans 5:10. "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live: yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20. "In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only-begotten Son into the world that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son (to be) the propitiation for our sins … And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son (to be) the Saviour of the world." 1 John 4:10, 14.

It is a remarkable fact in Christianity that the living faith of a child will lay hold upon Divine truth in the revelation of God where the utmost wisdom of man fails to grasp His thoughts. And this is just what our Lord Himself meant when He said: "I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to babes." Matthew 11:25. Because God is sovereign in His grace towards us; and, if He is so pleased, He sets aside the wisdom and learning of men in regard to the knowledge of Himself. So that in Christianity, the secret and precious things of our God are not shut up to those who have great learning and are wise according to this world; but they are revealed to the babes. Even a child may trust the Saviour; the youngest is not excluded from faith in the Name of the Only-begotten Son of God. Now this enhances the perfect grace of the revelation of God; that His heart of love, great enough indeed to fill a universe, yet has stooped to reach the estate of a little child, and to bless him, and to fill his soul with the moral radiance of God.

Hence the blessings of the gospel reach out to the simplest and feeblest, who can receive them on the great principle of living faith in the Son of God. I may know nothing of the philosophy of Plato or the reveries of Kant; but my ignorance of man's Wisdom cannot prevent my possession of a true faith in Him who is the Wisdom of God. And here the soul comes by this same faith into the fulness of God's revelation of Himself in love and grace. The cross of our Lord Jesus Christ stands for ever the central point of that Self-revelation of our God. Why? Because the very nature of God was disclosed there, the inmost depths of His heart were revealed, when His own and only Son, Son of the Father's bosom, was there given up to suffering and death for the salvation of poor guilty sinners. The universe of God, the endless ages of eternity as they roll, can never know anything more stupendous than the Cross. It has been spoken of and rightly, as the centre of two eternities. One eternity has led up to it, the other leads away from it. In that cross we learn the love of God; but we learn also His holiness and righteousness. All the great moral questions that had been raised in the universe were settled then, and were settled for ever. The sin question will never be raised again. The nature and throne of God were there fully and perfectly glorified in respect of the utmost dishonour that sin had brought against them. We had sinned, and deserved the judgment; but God has sent His own blessed Son to suffer in our stead, our blessed Substitute, because none else but He could sustain the judgment or make propitiation for sins.

Well might the apostle say, ". … the Beloved, in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace." Ephesians 1:6-7. No one but the true, eternal Son of God could effect an eternal redemption for our souls. The work of Calvary will never be repeated. It needs not to be repeated. It is perfect. And in this regard the sacrifice of Christ stands in abiding contrast to the sacrifices of old. As we read in Hebrews 10:11-14, "And every priest stands daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins, sat down in perpetuity on the right hand of God; from henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he has perfected for ever them that are sanctified." That is the glory of Jesus, the Divine Son, the Beloved of the Father. And by faith in Him we enter upon and secure eternally to our souls the full efficacy of His work of redemption. And not only are our sins put away; but we ourselves are reconciled to God by the death of His Son. Sin had so wrought that we had become enemies in our mind by wicked works. We were alienated from God, perishing in the distance; and must have remained in that distance for ever had not God drawn near to us in His great kindness. God has done everything. We thought Him our enemy; but God has never been at enmity with men. We have been enemies of God, a far different thing. So He has taken this way of unutterable love, to show us how great His love was, that He might by this means dispel every trace of enmity for ever from our hearts, and win our hearts, and attract us to Himself, so that we might live before Him, in His presence, not only without spot or stain, but also without any fear, and without the least sense of moral distance between Himself and our souls, consciously at home with God, in His unclouded favour, graced in all the perfections and blessed acceptability of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Such is "reconciliation!"

I would challenge my reader, be he wise or simple in the common estimate of men, is not that a truly blessed and full revelation of the heart and mind of God? Does it not glorify God, that He should have purposed in His wisdom, and that in His kindness He should have wrought, so great a work for our souls? It is unspeakable blessing, and it is all resident in Christ, His Son, for us. Living faith in that One brings the soul into all this precious good, comfort and joy. Thus is God revealed. We can say we know God and rejoice in Him. We also rejoice in the hope of His glory. We know that this poor, restless, sin-stained world is not our home. We await the true rest of God, our eternal portion in the Father's House.

What I desire to press, however, on my reader's attention is this: Only the Son of God could possibly have undertaken this great work, both for God's will and glory, and for our rich blessing. The Cross is so perfect and full a revelation of God, that only the true Son of God could have been the crucified One there. "No person," says Hooker, "was born of the Virgin but the Son of God, no person but the Son of God baptized, the Son of God condemned, the Son of God and no other person crucified; which one only point of Christian belief, the infinite worth of the Son of God, is the very ground of all things believed concerning life and salvation by that which Christ either did or suffered as man in our behalf." Eccl. Pol. v.52.3. The truth that Jesus is the real Son of God is the vital centre of Christian faith and doctrine. Deny it and the sublime affirmations of the written word sink into insignificance. If Jesus is not God's OWN Son, Son in the Divine Nature, Son in eternal conditions where time and the creature are unknown, then it is impossible to account for what Scripture predicates concerning Him, or for what Scripture records He claimed indeed for Himself.

Further: Is there any uncertainty in the truth of our redemption? Are we to spend our days in a state of miserable doubt, always questioning the efficacy of the finished work of Jesus? Is it highly questionable whether or no God be favourable towards us in His dear Son?

What shall we then answer to these things? There is no uncertainty in the great fact of our redemption. God has reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ. God has set us in His own eternal favour in that blessed One. I say — Here is no question, no doubt. We neither doubt concerning the perfection of God's revelation, nor the perfection of our redemption. Both are alike true and real. Nor can any change ever manifest itself in this redemption. What God works in Christ partakes of His own immutability. There can come no more any change in the redemption of our souls than change can come in God Himself. And we can say with the royal preacher of a day long past; "I know that whatsoever God does, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor anything taken from it: and God does it that men should fear before him." Ecclesiastes 3:14. If such a measure of certainty could energize a man's soul in that day, what should not characterise a Christian to-day, standing in the full light of God revealed in His Son?

And just as there can be no change either in God or in the works of God, neither can there be any change in the Son of God. Jesus did not become the Son of God, neither will He ever cease to be the Son of God. He is the Son of God in Himself, in His own eternal nature, the "Only-begotten Son of God," the "first-begotten before all creation," the Son of the Father's love; and in all that glory we know Him to-day, and we shall know Him for ever. We worship Jesus as God's own Son, Son in a glory we shall never share, for it is the essential, eternal glory of the Divine existence; as He Himself says: "And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was." For however great the ways of God, however filled with His wisdom, they neither constitute nor can they change what He is intrinsically. God has been pleased to reveal Himself as He is; and thus we are assured that the relations of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, are utterly independent of time and the existence of the creature, whether angels or men, and are expressive of what God is in His own eternal Self-existent Being and in His own eternal Nature and glory. And in that truth we rest. Neither the reasonings of men nor the falsehoods of Satan can shake the faith of the soul that has the knowledge of the Father and the Son. He lives in a region of eternal certainty, and knows the calm peace of heaven itself in his soul.

Chapter 5.
  The Counsel of God.

I have no intention in this brief final chapter of even attempting to unfold the subject of God's counsel; but I desired to call attention to it, both to show how it subsists in the revelation of God, and also to indicate the glory of the Father in it.

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first-born among many brethren. Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified." Romans 8:28-30. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: according as he has chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: having predestinated us to adoption by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he has made us accepted in the beloved; … having made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he has purposed in himself:" Ephesians 1:3-9.

I judge there are few moments more wonderful in the history of any soul than when it awakes to the great reality of the purpose (prothesis) of God. Because there seems every reason why we should be thankful for the blessings of the gospel, and not consider what are the secrets of the gospel, what Paul calls "the mystery (musteerion) of the gospel." Ephesians 6:19. But God would graciously encourage us as His saints, those whom He has sovereignly called out from the world system, to understand and to rejoice in what He has revealed concerning His eternal thoughts and plans. Do we own the fore-knowledge of God? Most certainly, or He would be no longer God. Then the course of the ages has been no afterthought with God. On the contrary His purpose stood in relation to His Son before the world was made. Thus J. N. Darby writes, "Man, and above all, man having knowledge of good and evil, should have God for his object; and as an object that his heart can entertain with pleasure, and on which his affections can be exercised: otherwise he is lost. The gospel — Christianity — has given him this. God, who fills all things, who is the source of, in whom is centred, all blessing, all good — God, who is all love, who has all power, who embraces everything in His knowledge, because everything (except the forsaking of Himself) is but the fruit of His mind and will — God has revealed Himself in Christ to man, in order that his heart, occupied with Him, with perfect confidence in His goodness, may know Him, may enjoy His presence, and reflect His character. The sin and misery of man have but lent occasion to an infinitely more complete development of what this God is, and of the perfection of His nature, in love, in wisdom, and in power. But we are here considering only the fact, that He has given Himself to man for an object. Nevertheless, although the misery of man has but given room for a much more admirable revelation of God, yet God Himself must have an object worthy of Himself to be the subject of His purposes, and in order to unfold all His affections. This object is the glory of His Son — His Son Himself." Synopsis. Vol. v, pp. 66, 67.

However precious to our hearts may be the grace of our Lord and Saviour, we do well to learn more of His glory as the Son of God, as the Divine and eternal and ever-adequate Object of all God's counsels. Those counsels were the eternal counsels of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Thus God purposed in Himself to gather a great and wondrous universe around His Son. As the Apostle says: "that in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even in Him: in whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who works all things after the counsel of his own will." Ephesians 1:10-11.

Now this is very wonderful, that before the ages of time, before the world's foundation, God had purposed to bring to pass the scene of His own glory and joy. And this scene was to have its Divine Centre in His own blessed Son. The glory of His Son is the adequate object that has been before God in all His purposes and in all His ways. Thus we have had no part in this; blessing was purposed for us long ere we were born. We were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. But the place of our blessing is heavenly. It is in the heavenlies that our blessing lies, and to the heavenlies even now in spirit we are raised and quickened with Christ. In order to make this more clear, I will refer to Israel of old. God chose them as an elect nation to be a peculiar people for Himself; but their blessing was earthly in character. Our blessing is heavenly in character. So that as Christians we neither seek nor expect a portion down here on the earth. Our calling, election, and inheritance are all for heaven, and not for earth. We are by God's especial grace partakers of the heavenly calling. Hebrews 3:1.

This being so, however, we do not separate between the revelation of God and His purpose; but we learn, especially from Paul's epistles, that the purpose, counsel and will of God belong essentially to, and form an intrinsic part of, the revelation of God. And in this we see the love of God; for all His counsels have been counsels of love. God is love; and what He purposes to bring to pass for His pleasure must be for the delight of His love. Hence we are set before Himself in love according to His pleasure. And in this lies the supremacy of Christianity. The world has never seen or known anything like it. Neither can it be imitated, for God is far, far above man in the vastness and blessedness of His eternal thoughts. No other mind but that of God could have conceived so stupendous a plan; none but His wisdom could have ordered it; no love and power but His brought it to pass.

It is evident, then, that the Father is the source of all our blessing, His love the sovereign spring of that counsel which predestinated us to be conformed to the image of His Son. Clearly the Son was one with the Father in those counsels. God did not become the Father at the incarnation of Jesus Christ, as some would have us believe, and in so doing degrade the glory of the Father to what is earth-bound and temporal. No! indeed! the glory and nature of the Father are far above all that is earth-bound, and all that belongs to the creature. We are only frail objects of time and sense; the Father and the Son belong to the infinite and eternal conditions of God. And this is clearly seen from the words of Peter: "Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, to obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ; grace to you, and peace, be multiplied." 1 Peter 1:1-2. If we are elect, it is according to the foreknowledge of God the Father. He has chosen us in love for the glory of His Son. The Father's foreknowledge is according to His Nature and essential greatness; and gave to us the place of sons, like His own Son, and with Him, a thing that only the Father's love could do.

And this counsel of eternity between the Father and the Son is wondrously brought out in Hebrews 10 "Wherefore when he comes into the world, he says, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: in burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me) to do thy will, O God." 5, 6, 7. And I feel I can best express my thoughts on this passage by quoting those of another. "This is what the Son of God says in this solemn passage (Heb. 10:5-9) in which we are admitted to know, according to the grace of God, that which passed between God the Father and Himself, when He undertook the fulfilment of the will of God — that which He said, and the eternal counsels of God which He carried into execution. He takes the place of submission and of obedience, of performing the will of another." Then, further, speaking of the Jewish service of offerings, he continues, "It was all to cease, it was fruitless; no offering that formed part of it was acceptable. No; the counsels of God unfold themselves, but first of all in the heart of the Word, the Son of God, who offers Himself to accomplish the will of God, 'Then said he, Lo I come, in the volume of the book it is written of me, to do thy will O God.' Nothing can be more solemn than thus to lift the veil from that which takes place in heaven between God and the Word who undertook to do His will. Observe that, before He was in the position of obedience, He offers Himself in order to accomplish the will of God, that is to say, of free love for the glory of God, of free will; as One who had the power, He offers Himself. He undertakes obedience, He undertakes to do whatsoever God wills. This is indeed to sacrifice all His own will, but freely and as the effect of His own purpose, although on the occasion of the will of His Father. He must needs be God in order to do this, and to undertake the fulfilment of all that God could will. We have here the great mystery of this divine intercourse, which remains ever surrounded with its solemn majesty, although it is communicated to us that we may know it. And we ought to know it; for it is thus that we understand the infinite grace and the glory of this work. Before He became man, in the place where only divinity is known, its eternal counsels and thoughts are communicated between the Divine Persons, the Word — as He has declared it to us, in time, by the prophetic Spirit — such being the will of God contained in the book of the eternal counsels, He who was able to do it, offered Himself freely to accomplish that will. Submissive to this counsel already arranged for Him, He yet offers Himself in perfect freedom to fulfil it." J. N. Darby, Synopsis Vol. v. pp. 305-309 [later ed. pp. 229-31].

This is, indeed, unspeakable grace that has permitted us to know and understand these Divine communications which constitute the eternal counsels of God, counsels which were between the Father and the Son, between God and His Word. And in the light of the glory of this revelation, we bow our hearts in worship, and ascribe eternal praise to the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Appendix 1.

It is very evident from the writings of those who have of late denied the Divine and Eternal Sonship of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they have erred through a false interpretation of Psalm 2:7, and have insisted in spite of every warning in basing their utterly false views of our Lord's Sonship on this temporal, Messianic Sonship as though that blessed relation could not be viewed in any other way. We quote here, therefore, a few extracts showing the just exegesis of the Psalm.

Exposition of the Psalms, J. N. Darby, p. 31. "But more is then brought out. This King, who is He? Jehovah has said to Him "Thou art My Son: this day have I begotten Thee." It is One who — begotten on what can be called to-day, that is, begotten in time is owned Son by Jehovah. It is not then here the blessed and most precious truth of eternal Sonship with the Father, though it is not to be dissociated from it, as if it could be without it, but One who — the Anointed Man, and that Holy Thing born into this world with the title, by His birth there also, of Son of God — is owned such of Jehovah… Thus Paul tells us, this raising up Jesus (not raising up again) is the accomplishing of the promises made to the fathers, quoting this Psalm in confirmation." (Acts 13:33).

The Acts of the Apostles. Acts 13:33. Ellicott's Commentary. "He (Paul) refers the words not primarily to the Eternal Generation of the Son of God "begotten before all worlds" nor to the Incarnation but to the day of victory over rulers and priests, over principalities and powers, over death and Hades. The Resurrection manifested in the Antitype (as the victory had done in the type), a pre-existing Sonship; but it was to those who witnessed it, or heard of it, as the ground on which their faith in that Sonship rested. Christ was to them the "first-born of every creature" because He was also "the first-born from the dead." (See Col. 1:15, 18).

Hengstenberg on the Psalms, Vol i, p. 31. Psalm ii, 7. "Finally, nowhere in the Old Testament is the Sonship spoken of with a view to bring out the nature of the Father, as the greater part of the older expositors endeavour to discover here. Now, as we cannot isolate the passage before us from all others, we must here also understand the words, "thou art my son," as denoting the inwardness of relation which subsists between the Lord and His anointed. How inward this relation is, how emphatically Sonship is here predicated by the Lord, — which is never, on any other occasion, done of any individual king in Israel, for, in the two passages before noticed, it is spoken of the whole line of David, and far less still of heathen kings — is shown by ver. 7, where the sovereignty of the whole earth is announced as a simple indication of the Sonship. In that sense no earlier king of Israel, not even David, the man after God's own heart, was the son and darling of Jehovah. Such an inwardness of relationship cannot properly exist between God and a mere man. If the king is named the Son of God, not in a proper but in a figurative sense, then the reference here cannot be to a proper begetting, as the expression to-day would also seem to imply, which confirms a non-literal interpretation of the words, "thou art my son," an interpretation which takes the begetting only in a figurative sense, as indicating not the actual generation of the person, but the internal relation of the Anointed to God. This non-literal, temporal, begetting, has certainly the essential and eternal one for its foundation, which is the one mainly insisted on here by the older expositors and theologians. Figuratively, of the setting up in the dignity of the Son of God, the expression is taken by Paul in Acts 13:33, as it is also in Hebrews 5:5

Thus two important facts emerge from every just and godly examination of this Scripture. (1). That the primary interpretation of the Psalm is to Messiah, and hence His Sonship as presented therein has reference to the earth, i.e., to the proper scene of Messiah's glory, whether as Son in relation to Jehovah, or as King in relation to the peoples. (2). That every interpretation of this Psalm which brings it into supposed conflict with the full revelation of the Father and the Son is fundamentally false. Neither Psalm 2, nor any other Old Testament Scripture, can be used to nullify the great doctrines of the Trinity and the Eternal Sonship which belong only and properly to the full revelation of God in Christianity.

Appendix 2.

1 Timothy 6:16: I desire to call brief attention to a false use that has been made of this Scripture, "dwelling in the light which no man can approach to; whom no man has seen, nor can see:" as though we could read into it, 'whom no man has known, nor can know.' Nowhere in Scripture is such an idea found: on the contrary, the truth of the knowledge of God is always prominent, varying it is true according to the character of His revelation. Neither is this Scripture out of accord with John 1:18. God is unseen, but not unknown; for the Word (Who is also His Son) has become flesh to declare Him. There has thus been a most full and perfect declaration of God. And this in no wise interferes with the great fact that there must ever remain in God what is incomprehensible to any created intelligence. But we do know God, as another has expressed it, —
"My God whom I have known,
Well known in Jesu's love,
Rests in the blessing of His own,
Before Himself above."

In the same way, Matt. 11:27, and Luke 10:22, cannot possibly be interpreted so as to deny the real Divine Sonship of Jesus. For, by a parity of reasoning, if the Father is known as revealed and is thus eternal in that relation, then the Son must be so also; for, "Whosoever denies the Son, the same has not the Father." 1 John 2:23. A Divine Fatherhood necessitates a Divine Sonship. And if the Divine Sonship be denied, then is the Divine Fatherhood also rejected. A solemn consideration indeed! Nevertheless, we acknowledge gladly the deep, holy, and adorable mystery surrounding the Person of the Son, but this does not set aside the truth that it is "The Son" whom we know, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the true Son of the Father.

Now this mystery has been recognised by the Church in all ages, yet such recognition has never led to the denial of the Eternal Sonship or to the weakening of the truth of the Trinity, rather has it confirmed these truths. Hence, when our Lord says, "No man knows the Son, but the Father," this shall not be taken to mean that the Person of the Son cannot be known, but rather that the mystery of His Person is unknown to creature ken. And if any shall take it in the former way, then we answer that Matt. 16:16 and John 14:7-11, are a complete refutation of such a perverted idea. For in the first Scripture, there is a definite revelation on the part of the Father to Peter concerning Jesus as the Son of God. And clearly that was not Messianic Sonship, for such was shown forth in the prophetic Scriptures; rather was it the Divine and Eternal Sonship of Jesus which only the Father could reveal. And so true is this that the Spirit of God has used the same word, (apokalupto), both in Matt. 11, to denote the Son's revelation of the Father, and in Matt. 16, to denote the Father's revelation of the Son.

Then further in John 14:7-11, (see also, 1 John 2:13-14), the knowledge of the Son is a necessity for the knowledge of the Father. We do not know the Father apart from the Son, "No man comes to the Father, but by me." Only one holy path leads to the knowledge of the Father, and that is by the knowledge of the Son: "If ye had known me. …" And also we have believed on the Son, how then could we believe One whom we did not know? Thus is the reasoning shown to be utterly false, that would use Matt. 11, to deprive the believer of the knowledge of his Saviour and Lord as the Son of the Father and the Son of God.

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