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if any such exist.
The question is, How came the articles in the phrase "Ο υιός TOY ανθρώπου ever to be employed? Obviously, because our Saviour assumed to Himself this appellation; and the very assumption forbad him to use the phrase otherwise than as ο υιός του ανθρώπου. He was to be designated as 'O úlós, for otherwise he would not have been distinguished from any other individual of the human race; and if ο υιός, then TOY ανθρώπου, for ο υιός ανθρώπου would offend against Regimen. Hence it is plain, that the article before úvopisnou is not, if I may say so, naturally and essentially necessary, but is so only accidentally; and conse. quently it will not be admitted, unless where regimen requires it, i. e. where ó úlos precedes. Now in the present instance Úlòs and not ó ülòs properly follows éori. See Part I. Chap. iii. Sect. iv. $ 1. and, therefore, the phrase could not be any other than úlòs åv pútov. We find, indeed, such phrases as συ ει υιός του θεού or even ο υιός του θεού, as was explained above, Matt. iv. 3 : but the reader will recol. lect that the word 0ɛoŨ commonly takes the article even where regimen does not make it necessary, besides that the pronoun SY contributes to give the predicate a definite form. See Part I. p. 64.-If it be thought remarkable, and therefore unfavourable to the foregoing interpretation, that ülòs ávāpunov as applied to Christ, now first occurs without the articles, it is sufficient to answer that now for the first time has Christ asserted his claim to the title: in all other places he has as. sumed it. It is moreover to be observed, that the Fathers in similar cases appear always to use the phrase υιός ανθρώπου, , I mean where the Canons require ilòs to be without the article. See Suicer’s Thesaurus, toce tóc.
On the whole, I am convinced that the rendering of our common English version, “ the Son of Man,” is correct, contrary to the opinion of those, who would conform with the
letter, rather than with the spirit of the original. The import of the passage is, indeed, as they contend, that God hath made Christ the Judge of Man, for that He, having taken ous nature, is acquainted with our infirmities.' But the same meaning will be deducible from the Common Version, if we consider, that the very title, “Son of Man,' has every where a reference to the Incarnation of Christ, and is, therefore, significant of His acquaintance with human weakness. I have, indeed, observed, that in a majority of the places, in which our Saviour calls himself the Son of Man (and he is never in the New Testament so called by others before his ascension) the allusion is either to his present humiliation or to his future glory : and if this remark be true, we have, though an indirect, yet a strong and perpetual declaration, that the human nature did not originally belong to Him and was not properly his own. He who shall examine the passages throughout with a view to this observation, will be able duly to estimate its value: for myself, I scruple not to aver, that I consider this single phrase so employed, as an irrefragable, proof of the pre-existence and divinity of Christ.”-Middleton on the Greek Article, pp. 351-354.
This is by far the most satisfactory view of the subject which I have met with, not having seen a Dissertation by Scholtens, referred to by Dr. Smith. I know not that I can add any thing of much importance to Dr. Smith's own explamation of the phrase.
“ In the discourses of our Lord, whether private or public, whether in the bosom of his friends or under the jealous observation of his enemies, the style which he was pleased most frequentiy to use for describing himself was that of the Son of mun, ó ünÒg toữ úv pánov, with the article to denote particularity. On an examination of all the passages in which it occurs, it appears that, when this appellation is used, it is always with a reference to some acknowl: dged character, func
tion, or work of the Messiah: so that, in nearly every instance, the sentence is an apophthegm of the doctrine concerning the Messiah, and might stand as such, quite independently of any particular individual who claimed to be that Messiah. While it was the title which Jesus evidently preferred to every other, and which he was most in the habit of employing, it is observable that it was never applied to him by any other person, except in the single instance of the martyr Stephen ; that Jesus himself never returned to the use of it after his resur. rection; and that the apostles on no occasion employed it, either in their preaching or in their writings.
“ To rehearse the numerous and different opinions which have been given of this appellation, and the reason on which it has been supposed to rest, would be tedious and of little profit. That which appears to me the best supported by evidence, has been mentioned in a former part of this work. It is the interpretation which has been advanced by scholars and divines of the first erudition and of very different theological sentiments : Beza, Episcopius, the Dutch Annotators of the Synod of Dort, Leigh, Venema, Wetstein, Bengelius, Abresch, Semler, Eichhorn, and many others, for the enume. ration of whose names I am indebted to the ample and exact dissertation of Mr. Scholten, a divine of the University of Utrecht, whose learning, diligence, and acuteness have anticipated almost every thing that could be advanced on the question. This opinion is, that the term was used with a designed allusion to the prophecy of Daniel: 'I looked in visions of the night, and, behold! with the clouds of heaven, came one like a son of Man.' This is among the clearest prophetic descriptions of the Messiah : and though in its original connexion it is combined with losty characters of majesty and honour, the expression in itself is such that nothing can be conceived more simple and unassuming. It was, therefore, admirably calculated to answer the purposes
of our Lord's habitual testimony concerning himself, during that period in which his wisdom saw it right to suspend the universal declaration of his claim to be the Messiah. It could hurt no feelings, rouse no prejudices, offend no pride. It could minister no fuel to the rage of the violent, nor furnish any occasion to the captiousness of the artful, nor be wrested into a pretext for exciting civil discord, nor awaken the jealous fears of the Roman government. But, while thus humble and inoffensive, it was intelligible, clear, and definite, to those who searched the Scriptures:' and it went the full length of a claim to the Messiahship.
“ This view of the origin and design of the phrase leads to the conclusion, that, though it literally expresses only a human nature, it is applied, on the generalizing principle of language, to designate The Messiah, in the whole comprehension of his person and character, though with an especial view to his state of humiliation. The circumstances of glory, power, and relation to the Divine Father, which in the original passage are attributed to Him who bore the likeness of a son of man, excite and seem to warrant this notion; especially if the interpretation be admitted, which was proposed in the formier volume, of a clause in that passage as declaring a close and intimate conjunction, by the greatest of all miracles, of the frail and lowly nature of a child of man with that of the Ancient of days, so as to form one person. Thus we are also furnished with a guide to the interpretation of several passages of the New 'Testament, which on any other hypothesis, Trinitarian or Unitarian, present great difficulties.” — Smith's Scripture Testimony, vol. ii. pp. 96-100.
If the views contained in these extracts be correct, which I presume they are, it would seem that the phrase “ The Son of man” is always used, as I have alleged in the discourses, to designate the incarnation and earthly work of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was assumed by liimself, and intended to de.
note his humiliated condition, while here ; the lowly estimate he formed of himself; and to stand in contrast with what he is in his higher nature, and his glorified state. He was demonstrated to be “the Son of God,” by his resurrection from the dead. His relationship to man was not then changed, but his connexion with the frailties, and evils, and mortality of his nature then ceased for ever. The body of his humilia. tion, in which he bore a likeness to the earthly Adam, was exchanged on his ascension into heaven, for the “ body of his glory,” in which he had no prototype ; but which is destined to be the pattern according to which the bodies of all his saints shall be formed, when they shall cease as it were to be sons of men, and be “the sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.”
While Jesus was on earth, he was the Messiah promised to the fathers, and acted as “ the minister of the circumcision, to confirm the truth of the promises made by God unto them." But on his return to heaven, having finished his work on earth, the apostles declare that they no longer know Christ according to the flesh; and demand whether he is not the God of the Gentiles equally as of the Jews. As the Son of God, and bearing a relation to man, he now reigns on Mount Sion, and before his ancients gloriously. All opposition to him now, therefore, must be as useless and ruinous, as it is declared to be sinful. The calumny of the despised Nazarene, might be forgiven, as all other sins committed against him in his state of suffering and trial; but calumnious opposition to him, as attested and glorified by the Spirit of Holiness, could experience no favour. For this awful crime wrath came upon the Jews to the uttermost, and they are still suffering unde its tremendous consequences.