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REMARKS ON MATTHEW 1:1.

Covington, GA., May 15, 1859.

Brother S.W. Gresham of this County requests our views on this Scripture which reads as follows, “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” Such views as we have we are willing to give for the consideration of our brother, and all those who may feel interested therein.

Before we enter upon the subject of our text, we will remark that a book is a record of something which is published that may be considered of importance, or of general interest. There are many kinds of books in existence. Some are very useful and instructive, while others are unprofitable and useless. The books of Moses are the most ancient of any of which we have an account; it does not appear that there were any written before them. Anciently men used to write on tables of stone, lead, copper, wood, wax, bark, or leaves of trees. In very ancient times the Persians and Ionian’s wrote on skins. It is stated that about 240 years before Christ, the making of parchment, or papers of skins was improved by Attalus, king of Pergamos. After which books of note, or importance were ordinarily written on parchment for 1300 years. Paper manufactured from linen rags has been in use about 600 years. Since the art of printing was discovered, printed books have been common.

The Jews, with the Israelites in general, were particular in a record of their genealogy, or descent by birth from Abraham. Therefore when reference was made to any particular person, it was common to speak of him as the son of some man whose name is mentioned as belonging to some tribe in regular descent from Abraham. The tribe of Levi, in relation to the priesthood, were obliged in a special manner to observe their genealogy. If any man officiated in the priestly office, who did not belong to the sacerdotal, or priestly stock, he was immediately removed from the office. In the first of Chronicles there is a record of genealogies for more than 3500 years. The Scriptural signification of the word generation, is posterity, offspring. Therefore the book of the generation of Jesus Christ, is a record, or history of his descent, birth, life, and death. This only can be understood in relation to his manifestation according to the flesh. A particular order of descent is recorded in the Old and New Testaments, relative to his genealogy. A race, or class of persons were alive at the same time through successive generations from Adam to Christ. Matthew’s account of Christ’s genealogy is by Joseph back to Abraham, a period of about 2000 years. Luke’s account is by Mary, the daughter of Heli, who was father-in-law to Joseph, back to Adam, a period of 4000 years. The genealogies of Joseph and Mary, the espoused parents of our Lord in a fleshly relation, are traced back to David where they unite. It appears as though there were more generations from Mary to David, than from Joseph to David. This apparent variation may arise from different causes. Sometimes in the record of genealogies some persons had several name, and different persons had the same name. Fathers and son-in-laws, grand-fathers, and grand-sons, and fathers and sons by adoption, are represented as if proper fathers and sons. Jesus Christ is called the son of David, the son of Abraham. Yet there were several generations between David and Abraham. Jesus, according to the law of marriage, was legally the son of Joseph, but the son of Mary by conception and birth. By this marriage Mary’s honor was legally protected, and the birth and pedigree of the Lord Jesus was legally established, and he was legally initiated into the congregation of Israel, and the ordinances of the Jewish nation.

We will now refer to, quote Scripture, and present some of our views relative to the adorable character of the dear Redeemer. The angel said to Mary, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing, which shall be born of thee shall be called the SON of God.” Luke 1:35. This is sufficient to establish his identity as the Son of God. We understand that he existed in his Sonship, before his conception and birth as the son of Mary. His being made of a woman, or of the seed of David, according to the flesh, did not constitute him the Son of God. He existed as such before he was manifest in the flesh. But his conception and birth of the woman was a development, or manifestation of his glorious character as described by Isaiah, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his NAME shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” Isa.9:6. In relation to his character as Savior, the angel said to Joseph relative to his wife, “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS; for he shall save his people from their sins.” Matt.1:21. In reference to his name Christ, which signifies the anointed One, the Eternal Father declares, “I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him.” Psa. 89:20. Saul was anointed with a vial of oil which is expressive of the weakness and bitterness of Saul’s kingly power and government. A vial is easily broken, so Saul’s kingly government was soon broken and given to another. David was anointed with a horn of oil, which is expressive of the stability, firmness, and durability of his kingly government. This is very expressive of the person of Christ our exalted King in his royal power and government. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom and his dominion shall have no end. The holy anointment of the dear Redeemer by the eternal I AM imports his calling to the office of Mediator, Prophet, Priest, and King, and fully furnished with all the gifts, and qualifications which the Holy Ghost imparted to him, and which dwelt in him. For this cause he is called the Messiah, Christ, or Anointed. He is the anti-typical embodiment of all the anointing under the law, and as the great Anointed One in his resurrection from the dead, he was anointed above all his fellows. The following language is full and very expressive. “But unto the Son he saith, thy throne O God is forever and ever; a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. Compare Psa. 45:6,7, with Heb. 1:8,9. Christ Jesus was David’s Lord and Savior in whom he trusted, yet in a fleshly relation he was David’s son. David said by the Holy Ghost, “The Lord {Jehovah} said unto my Lord {Jesus the Savior,} Sit thou on my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” Psa. 110:1. In the Redeemer’s prayer to his Father he says, “And now O Father glorify thou me with thine own self, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” John 17:5. Notwithstanding he is the Son of God, yet he is One with the Father. He says, “I and my Father are ONE.” John 10:30. It was declared by the prophet and quoted by Matthew, “Behold a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name EMMANUEL which being interpreted is, God with us.” Matt. 1:23, Isa. 7:14. Hence of a truth as Paul declared, “God was manifest in the flesh.” I Tim. 3:16.

Having spoken of the descent and birth of Christ in a fleshly relation, as well as of his character as the Son of God, and also as One with the Father, we will speak of his life and death. He came, as a servant under the law, in obedience to the will of his Father. He came as the Head and Representative of all the chosen family, and through the covenant relation he sustained to his people, he redeemed them by his precious blood. In the performance of this great work, though he was rich, yet he became poor that his people through his poverty might be rich. The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head, said Jesus in the days of his flesh. He laid aside his primeval glory, and took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses. He was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin, therefore he is touched with the feeling of our infirmities. His life was one of patient self-denial, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. As all the chosen family in the loins of Adam were under the law and under its curse, therefore in all things it behooved him to made like unto his brethren; that he might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted. He lived and died not simply as the son of Joseph and Mary, but as the Son of God and seminal Head of the church. He bears our sins in his own body on the tree. He died the just for the unjust that he might bring us to God. The Godhead of our Lord Jesus Christ did not suffer, and die, but that Immaculate Personage called the Son of God suffered and died. He was put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit. That same identical body, in which he suffered and died, was raised again from the dead. This, to our understanding serves to establish the resurrection of the body of all the saints from the dead. The soul and body of the saints are of earthly origin by descent and birth. They are called by grace, and made heirs of immortal glory. While their fleshly descent is from Adam, their spiritual descent is from Christ. It was the good pleasure of our God to develop, or in other words, to unfold and make known his church and people, in an earthly state of being. This was for the exhibition of God’s power and grace according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Their eternal salvation from sin, death, hell, and the grave, are embraced in this eternal purpose. Their disclosure, or discovery through their natural standing, and fallen condition in Adam by ordinary generation, is one thing, and the act of making known by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost of their spiritual standing in Christ, is another thing. As the whole family of God in heaven and earth are NAMED in Christ, therefore their conception and birth by the power of the Holy Ghost in the person of Jesus Christ, is according to the will of the Father. As in the natural birth, they are born of the flesh, so in the spiritual birth they are born of the Spirit. As they bear the image of the earthly Adam, so also they must bear the image of the second Adam, the Lord from heaven. This will be fully accomplished in the resurrection from the dead of the body of all the saints.

However contrary to human reason and speculation this subject may appear, we conscientiously believe that it is Bible truth, and cannot be successfully disputed. The dear people of God know in their experience, that no good thing dwelleth in their flesh. All, and every good thing, they do possess was imparted to them from a heavenly source. Consequently their hope of deliverance from this bondage of corruption is ALONE in Christ. They are waiting for the adoption, which Paul says, is the redemption of our body. They groan within themselves, not that they would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Their earnest desire is to be clothed upon with their house which is from heaven. That which they derived by earthly descent from Adam, will be swallowed up of life, or clothed upon with their house which is from heaven. That which was, originally, created in Adam was sinless and innocent, but became contaminated by sin and transgression. Deliverance from sin and transgression is salvation. The soul and body, and everything which constituted the natural man before the transgression of Adam, is saved from sin, death, hell, and the grave in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The revelation of this salvation is known by the saints in their experience, and will be fully known at the redemption of the body in the resurrection. That which was derived from Christ, or imparted by the gracious operation of the Holy Spirit, causes an essential change in the individual to whom it is imparted. He now has an experimental union to heavenly things. That which was derived from Christ, or imparted by the Spirit, is the new or heavenly man. The new man and the saved sinner participate together in the joys and sorrows which are common to all the saints in their pilgrimage through this vale of sorrow. They are one with Christ, even as Christ is one with the Father. They will be satisfied when they awake with the likeness of Christ.

The gist of the subject embraced in the premises, is that Jesus Christ in his underived character is the living and true God, but as the Son of God, and Head of the church, he is Mediator, Prophet, Priest and King. Furthermore as the Son of God, he proceeded forth and came from God. Therefore his descent and birth, according to the flesh, did not constitute him the Son of God, but he was made flesh, and dwelt among men. The assumption of a fleshly body constituted him the Son of Man, sustaining a fleshly relation to his people. In that body he suffered for our sins according to the Scriptures.

Joseph L. Purington.