MEDITATIONS ON CHRISTIAN DOGMA. TREATISE II. 10. THE SECOND PERSON, AS SON.
St. Placidus & Comp., Mm
MEDITATIONS ON CHRISTIAN DOGMA.
10. THE SECOND PERSON, AS SON.
I. " What is His name and what is the name of His Son, if thou knowest?" (Prov. xxx. 4). The Second Person is presented to us not only as the Word of God and the Image of God, but also as the Son of God. This last is the expression most frequently used in Holy Scripture, and it opens to us a new vista of mystery. The production of the Word is the supreme intellectual operation in God ; and it is also a generation or begetting, according to the passage : "Thou art My Son, to-day have I begotten Thee" (Ps. ii. 7). The relation, then, of the First Person to the Second is that of Father to Son. All that exists in creation is in God supereminently. He is the model of all being and all action. So the internal productive action of God by which the Word proceeds is the first example and the most perfect of all subsequent external production both by God and by creatures. From this " all paternity in heaven and earth is named" (Eph. iii. 15). That transcendent generation, and paternity, and sonship are represented in only an imperfect degree in creation. In imitation of it men are made sons of God, and He is our Father ; and this not figuratively, but really, by the transmission of His likeness and supernatural life. So says St. John; we are "born of Him;" we are named and we are the "sons of God" (1 John ii. 29; iii. 1). And St. Paul adopts the expression of the Greek poet ; we are the " offspring of God" (Acts xvii. 29). On a lower level still, there is a more imperfect and material representation of the divine fecundity in human generation and offspring. Remember that our sonship is not figurative for being spiritual, but is the more real inasmuch as it approaches nearer to the likeness of the divine generation. God is most really your Father, and has the sentiments of a father most perfectly. The Church too is in a very real sense your mother. Act worthily of this.
II. The procession of the Second Person is aptly termed a begetting, and the Second Person is adequately the Son of the First, because He proceeds from the living substance of the Father, and is of the same nature and identical sub stance. This is a more perfect generation than what we are acquainted with on earth. With us there is a multiplication of the personality and of the substance in a specific unity of nature. In God it is only the conscious personality which is multiplied ; the substance remains one and the same in both Persons as well as the nature : so there is a much more complete and noble unity. You too, being made a son of God, are also " partaker of the divine nature " (2 Pet. i. 4). What a splendid dignity 1 But it requires that there be conformity of action. Your life must be divine, and not a mere worldly animal one.
III. Another point in paternity is that the offspring is the reproduction of the parent, inheriting, with the blood, character, gifts, defects, facial resemblance, etc. This constituent element of Sonship is also in the Second Person. He not only possesses the Divine Essence by communication, as does also the Holy Ghost, but also has personal resemblance to the Father, reproducing the Divine Essence in His perfect likeness to the Father. This is, as we have seen, His special quality as the "Word of God." He is the intellectual image and perfect reflection of the Divine Nature. This is peculiar to the Second Person, considered as to the mode of His procession, and not to the Third, whose mode of production is not that of intellectual reflection, but of the propension of the Divine Will, loving the Divine Essence as Supreme Good. The Second Person has also a further personal likeness to the Father in that He shares with Him in the quality of being the principle of a Third Person in the Most Holy Trinity. You must make your sonship perfect by cultivating the likeness to God. You will learn this in Jesus Christ. Reproduce in yourself His sentiments, His actions, His endurance of suffering ; so that He may not be ashamed to acknowledge you as His second self.
MEDITATIONS ON CHRISTIAN DOGMA BY THE RIGHT REV. JAMES BELLORD, D.D