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justification relates to Christ's adjudication and approbation of their conduct before a congregated world, at the last great day of account, when he will say unto each,' Well done, thou good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.""

On the Eternal Sonship of Christ.

MR. EDITOR,

SIR,-It appears that the controversy
on the Eternal Sonship of Christ, is
not likely to cease until that subject
has undergone a closer investigation
than it has yet received; and, on the
propriety of its being continued, there
can, I think, be but one opinion among
persons who know the present state of
the dispute. As you seem determined
to attend to the real question only, it
probably will not be long before this
war of words will be brought to a sa-
tisfactory issue. Truth has nothing to
fear, either from exposure or opposi-
tion. When beheld without disguise,
her attractions are irresistible.
It is
only when she is disfigured by mere-
tricious ornaments, that there is little
perceptible comeliness in her form.
And if she ever suffers, it is not from
the opposition of her avowed enemies,
but from the mistaken modes of de-
fence adopted by her friends. The only
prayer she has ever any occasion to
use, is, "Heaven save me from my
friends; I can manage my enemies
myself."

would be dangerous. The term," Son," and the phrase "Eternal Son," are not liable, I think, to the same objections as those are to which I have referred.

The decision of this subject certainly depends upon a question of sacred philology: it is still, however, of a doctrinal nature; as much so, as the distinction of persons in the Godhead, or the eternal perpetuity of future torments. Both these doctrines depend entirely on the meaning we affix to the terms by which they are expressed: so that the subject is not the less important, because it depends on the meaning given to a word.

I now proceed, Sir, to answer the questions inserted in No. 12 of your Magazine, column 95.

1st Question." If human relationship had not existed, what idea would have been attached to the word Son?"

If generation had succeeded generation by immediate creation, instead of being produced by human agency, no such relations as those of Father and Son would have existed; and if these had not existed, it is probable that language would not have contained any such terms. It is possible, however, that such a word as Son might have been invented; but then the idea that would have been attached to it, would have depended on the object for which it was used as the sign. It might have stood for a house, or a tree, or any object whatever; and then the idea attached to it, would have been the idea of whatever thing it represented. Words, strictly speaking, have no natural meaning; they derive their import from men's having agreed to adopt them as the signs of certain objects and conceptions; and it is this agreement that fixes their signification.

The manner in which the Sonship of Christ is generally stated, is highly objectionable: many absurd expressions are employed; and words are occasionally united together, which reciprocally destroy each other's meaning. Such modes of speech are ut- Before creatures were formed, and terly indefensible; but in giving up endowed with the powers of percepthese, we must take care not to lose a tion, or language was contrived to exsingle particle of truth with them. press human thought, the incompreThe phrases "eternally begotten," hensible Jehovah eternally existed. eternally derived," eternally ge- What he is in himself, no finite mind nerated," and all such senseless and can directly comprehend; and what no contradictory jargon, I cheerfully aban- mind can adequately conceive, no landon to the tortures inflicted by the op-guage can fully express. His unity and ponents of the Eternal Sonship. Thus far, at least, they have truth on their side, and are entitled to the thanks of the Christian Church, for exposing scholastic nonsense. But beyond these expressions, I consider that concession

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distinction, are fully known only to him-
self. But then, as the terms Father and
Son, which express a certain relation
among creatures, are, by the Holy Ghost,
employed in reference to the persons in
the Godhead, we
may rest assured

that they are as proper as any terms which language can supply. They must not indeed be understood in the same sense as when applied to creatures. If they were intended to express nothing else, they certainly express with much propriety a relation of equality between the persons in the Godhead. "There can be no other purpose," says Mr. Wesley, "in revealing all things concerning him, (Christ,) under the character of a Son, and only begotten Son, but to convince us, that he has all the natural essential attributes of his Father; that as a human son possesses the entire human nature, so the Son of God possesses the entire divine nature."

2. “Does the term Son, necessarily imply commencement of existence, in that being or person to whom it is justly applicable?"

reason away the Eternity of the Son. We are too apt to forget first principles. Every one knows that the barrenness of language frequently renders it necessary for us to use a word sometimes with a greater, and sometimes with a less degree of latitude; and that when the signification of a word is varied, it is the thing for which it stands that controls its meaning. These remarks may be illustrated by the term Son. When it is used to denote a proper human son, we associate with it the notions of derivation, subsequence, subordination, and sameness of nature, with the being who stands in the relation of father. When it stands for an adopted son, we exclude the notion of derivation, and retain only the latter. When it is employed simply to express created beings, (as Angels and Adam,) we annex to it the notions of dependence and inferiority. But when it is applied to the second person in the Godhead, who possesses all the sublime perfections of Deity, we drop all but the notion of eternal equality. And those who infer priority of existence in the Father, and subsequency of existence in the Son, from the terms Father and Son being employed, deduce an inference which is not justi

By no means. A word may be justly applied, without being used literally. The immediate residence of the Deity is very justly called a house,* but it is not so literally. And St. Paul says, 66 every house is builded."+ What then, are we to infer, that commencement of existence is necessarily included in the term house, and consequently that heaven is not eternal? Were we to do this, we should invert all order, and reason from the mean-fied by the laws of language. ing of a word to the nature of an ob- The preceding remarks are sufficient ject, while we ought to determine the to show, that the word Son does not insense of the word by the nature of the variably imply a definite number of thing for which it stood. The follow- ideas and notions; and also, that some ing observations are thought to be of part of its meaning may be safely reimportance on this subject. 1. Lan-jected, without abandoning the use of guage was originally invented to ex- the term. Literally, the word Son depress natural things. 2. Language notes a person who has derived his was formed before a revelation was being from, and who possesses the given. 3. In giving to us a revela- same nature as his father. In both tion, God did not communicate a new these senses it cannot be applied to language; words already in use, were Christ. If he possess the nature of employed to express heavenly things. the Father, he must be eternal; beAs the words of revelation are em- cause eternal existence is inseparably ployed only in a secondary sense, it associated with our conception of God. follows, that they necessarily undergo If his being were derived, he could a change of import. Some of the not be eternal: these two senses thereideas and notions usually associated fore destroy each other, and only one with them, when they refer to natural of them can be true. The question is, things, must be rejected when they which must be rejected? The scrip are transferred to heavenly. Some ture declares, "he was before all persons maintain, that the Holy Spirit things," and "by him all things conis not a person, but an emanation, be- sist." This decides the point of anacause the name by which he is desig-logy intended by this term, namely, nated, originally signifies breath or that he is equal with the Father. wind; and in the same manner, they The term Word, used in a personal

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sense, stands on precisely the same footing as the term Son; and so indeed must every personal term which language can supply.

3. "What is the meaning of the terms Son, and begotten Son, when commencement of existence is excluded?"

This question is in fact already answered. The meaning of every accommodated term, must be regulated by the thing for which it stands; and all such words are used in an accommodated sense, when applied to the persons in the Godhead. From what I have advanced it will be seen, that by the word Son, I mean nothing more than a person in the Godhead possessing every perfection of Deity.

able mode. In his pre-existent state, he could not therefore be begotten; and therefore these words only begotten, must be understood as a title, and not as denoting an act. It is observable, that the New Testament no where calls him a begotten Son; nor does it any where say that he was begotten. The titles given him in the volume of inspiration, we may apply to him; but we have no authority to say he was a begotten Son. This title, I doubt not, was borrowed from Psa. ii. 7. He had been revealed as the memra or word; but in this Psalm, he is for the first time revealed as sustaining a higher relation; that name is given to him which is above every name. The language is remarkable, “Thou art my Son," not, Thou shalt be; "this day have I begotten thee;" (i. e.) this day have I manifested thee under a different relation.

In your next number, I hope to offer a few more thoughts on this important subject. TYRO.

STATE OF DISEMBODIED SPIRITS.

Answer to a Query on the Abode of
Disembodied Spirits.

But the words begotten Son, demand particular attention. Whatever the word begotten may mean when used in reference to Christ, it certainly must be understood in a sense very different from that which it bears, when human generation is denoted by it. Even those who conceive that it applies to Him only in reference to his human nature, do not take it literally; for they think it denotes creation, or miraculous production. But whatever other persons may intend by it, I claim for myself the right of understanding In reply to your correspondent J. F. it according, as I conceive, to the ana- of London, who in No. 11, of the Imlogy of faith; and if my views are er- perial Magazine, col. 1072, Vol. I. roneous, every one is at liberty to re- asks, “Where does the soul go, on its ject them. The phrase only begotten separation from the body? and does it Son, I consider as a title of eminence. receive judgment immediately, or wait Adam was a son of God by creation, till the last day?" I shall be happy to and angels in this sense are sons. see inserted the following observaBelievers are the sons of God by adoptions, if you think them worthy a place your Magazine.

tion. But Christ possessing the nature of the Father, his Sonship is raised as much above theirs as a proper human sonship is above that of an adopted one. He is the Son in the highest possible sense. Mr. Baxter, commenting on Colossians i. verse 15, observes, "This (first-born) numbereth him not with the creatures, but sets him above them." And in this sense I take the title only begotten. It teaches us that he was neither created like Adam, nor adopted like believers; but that he is higher than they, (i. e.) equal with the Father in nature, perfections, and duration. It is a good rule in divinity, to interpret that which may appear obscure, by that which is plain; and as the scriptures ascribe eternal existence to the Son, this excludes production in every conceiv

in

Leeds, Jan. 7, 1820.

Yours, respectfully, L. R**. There are four considerations which suggest themselves, in considering the first part of the question proposed by J. F. and which, in my opinion, put the immediate glorification of the departed souls of believers beyond all doubt.

1st. Heaven is as ready and fit to receive them as ever it shall be. 2d. They are as ready and fit for Heaven as ever they shall be. 3d. The Scripture is plainly for And,

it.

4th. There is nothing in reason against it.

1st. Heaven is as ready and fit to receive them as ever it shall be. Heaven is prepared for believers. 1st. By the purpose and decree of God, and so far it has been prepared from the

foundation of the world, Matthew xxv. 34. 2d. By the death of Christ, whose blood made the purchase of it for believers, and so meritoriously opened the gates thereof, which our sins had barred up against us, Hebrews x. 19, 20. 3d. By the ascension of Christ into that holy place, as our representative and forerunner, John xiv. 2. This is all that is necessary to be done for the preparation of Heaven; and all this is done, as much as ever God designed should be done to it, in order to its preparation for our souls. So that no delay can take place on that account.

2d. The departed souls of believers are as ready for Heaven as ever they shall be. For there is no preparationwork to be done by them, or upon them, after death, John ix. 4. Eccles. ix. 10. Their justification was complete before death, and now their sanctification is so too; sin, which came in by the union, going out at the separation of their souls and bodies. They are spirits made perfect.

3d. The Scripture is plainly for their immediate glorification: Luke xxii. 43. To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise. Luke xvi. 22. The beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom. Phil. i. 21. I desire to be dissolved, and to be WITH CHRIST, which is far better. The Scripture speaks but of two ways, by which souls see and enjoy God, viz. faith and sight: the one imperfect, suited to this life; the other perfect, fitted for the life to come; and this immediately succeeding that, for the imperfect is done away by the coming of that which is perfect, as the twilight is done away by the advancing of the perfect day.

It is, I believe, admitted on all hands, (or at least disputed by few) which makes it unnecessary for me to refer to passages in the Scripture in support of it;-that the souls or spirits of all men who die in a state of unbelief and disobedience, are immediately committed to the prison of hell, there to suffer the wrath of God due to their sins.

The second part of the question put by J. F. stands thus ; "Does the soul, on its separation from the body, receive judgment immediately, or wait till the last day?" which I beg leave to answer in the words of a good old divine, who, in speaking of the general judgment, says, "Before the general judgment, every soul comes to its particular judgment, and that immediately after death: of this (he says) I apprehend the apostle to speak, in Hebrews ix. 27. It is appointed for all men once to die, but AFTER THAT THE JUDGMENT. The soul is presently stated' by this judgment,' in its everlasting and fixed condition. The soul of a wicked man, appearing before God in all its sin and guilt, and by him sentenced, immediately gives up all its hope. Prov. xi. 7. When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish: and the hope of unjust men perisheth."

From another Correspondent we have received, on the preceding question, the following remarks:

I was somewhat surprised, that any one professing the Protestant Religion could ask such a question as that which appeared in col. 1072, Vol. I. namely; Whether the soul, immediately after its separation from the body, received its sentence, and went either to its place of rest or punishment, or waited till the great judgment day? Now I think it is very clear from Scripture, that immediately after the death of the body, the soul receives its reward, whether it be good or bad. I shall just offer one or two scripture proofs of this assertion. First, In Luke, chap. xxiii. verse 43, we read as follows," And Jesus said unto him, Verily, I say unto thee, to-day thou shalt be with me in paradise." Secondly, On the martyrdom of Stephen, in the viith chapter of Acts, we read, that Stesaw the heavens opened, and the angels waiting to

4th. To conclude: there is nothing in reason lying in bar to it. The soul, in its unbodied state, is capable of enjoying blessedness, and can perform its acts of intellection, volition, &c. not only as well, but much better than it did when embodied. I conclude therefore, that seeing Heaven is already as much prepared for believers as it need be, or can be; and they as much prepared, from the time of their dissolution, as ever they shall be; the Scriptures also being so plain for it, and no bar in reason against it, that the spirits of the just go immediately to glory, from the time of their separa-phen, at his death, tion from the body.

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receive him;" and in the Old Testa- | Moon, which begins at seventeen ment, we read of Enoch, who was translated, and of Elijah, who was carried to heaven in a chariot of fire; and again, the Apostle Paul "desired to depart and be with Christ, which was far better." I think that these few passages are a sufficient proof of what I have advanced; but at the same time, I conceive that at the great day of our Lord Jesus Christ, the union of the body with the soul will cause an increase either of happiness JUVENIS.

or woe.

Paneras, Jan. 24, 1820.

ASTRONOMICAL OCCURRENCES FOR MARCH. BY AN OBSERVER.

THE Sun enters Aries on the 20th, at eighteen minutes past four in the afternoon, when the spring quarter commences. The Moon enters her last quarter on the 7th; she is new on the 14th; enters her first quarter on the 21st, and is full on the 29th. She will pass the Georgian planet on the 8th, Jupiter on the 12th, Saturn on the 14th, Mercury on the 15th, Venus on the 16th, and Mars on the 22d. Venus is an evening star, setting on the 1st about half-past eight, and on the 31st about twenty minutes past ten. She is first seen under the fifth and sixth of the Fishes, passing the fifth soon after sun-set on the 1st, and under and near to the sixth on the 4th. She then directs her course through a barren space, passing between the fifteenth and sixteenth of the Fishes on the 10th. She continues her course between the Ram and the Whale, passing between the first of this constellation and the first of the Ram on the 21st, but nearest to the latter star. She then directs her course to the small stars in the tail of the Ram, passing above and near to the fourth on the 27th, and still nearer to the sixth on the 28th, and she finishes it under the Pleiades. Mars is on the meridian on the 1st about half-past eight in the evening, and on the 31st about seven. He is seen on the 1st, under and nearer to the ninth of the Twins, the first being higher up to the east of it, and he moves slowly under the two first, passing the second on the 22d, directing his course to the nebula in the Crab, but finishing it nearly in a line with the two first of the Twins. On the 29th, there is an eclipse of the

minutes past five in the evening; but she does not rise until seventeen minutes past six, when she will appear nearly half eclipsed, and the earth's shadow will gradually advance towards her western limb till thirtyeight minutes past six. The visible part of the shadow then gradually diminishes till fifty-nine minutes past seven, when it will leave the Moon, making its last impression on the eastern side of her northern limb.

REVIEW.-HORÆ BRITANNICÆ, OR STUDIES IN ANCIENT BRITISH HISTORY.

[Concluded from col. 72.] ADVERTING to the language originally spoken by our barbarous ancestors, Mr. Hughes varies but little from the generally received opinion, the substance of which he comprises in the following paragraph.

"It is admitted, that the language spoken by the natives of Wales, is the same as was spoken in this island previous to the establishment of the Romans. It is equally true, that the language used by the natives of Ireland, is the same that was spoken by the most ancient inhabitants of that island. The language of the Albanian Scots, or Highlanders, called Erse and Gaelic, is the same as the language in which Ossian sung and Galgacus harangued his troops. We have still some remains of the language spoken in Cornwall in ancient times, and which bears a striking affinity to the Cymraeg spoken in Wales; and is probably only a dialect of the Armoric, or the language of the Bretons of France." pp. 72.

That the ancient Britons were acquainted with the use of letters, is a point which will admit of no dispute, the fact being supported by evidence which is incontestable. This acquirement seems, however, to have been confined almost exclusively to the Druids; and even among these, none but those of the higher order were permitted to participate in the knowledge of this sublime acquisition. Mr. Hughes, on the authority of Cæsar, contends, that the characters which they employed, bore a strong resemblance to those of the Greek alphabet; but he conceives that their uses were confined chiefly to civil transactions, as the dogmas of philosoph

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