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CH A P. X.
Of our Savior's not knowing the Day of Judgment.
AVING thus prepared the Way, by the
Proof of the two foregoing Propositions, let us now examin the second of those Texts, which are supposed to teach, that the WORD or Divine Nature of our Lord Jesus Christ, is inferior to the Very God. Our Lord says, But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no not the Angels which are in beaven, neither the Son, but the Father, Mark 13. 32. From hence it has been inferred, that since the Father, viz. the Very God, does know the Day of Judgment, and the Son does not know it; therefore our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Son, and consequently the WORD or Divine Nature of our Lord Jesus Christ, is inferior to the Very God.
For the clearing of this Difficulty, I offer the following Particulars.
1. Mere Man can't by the Light of Reason know the Day of Judgment. And consequently the Man Christ Jesus, had he been neither united to the WORD, nor illuminated by the
Holy Spirit, muft necessarily have been ignorant of it.
2. Tho'an inspired Man may know the Day of Judgment, if God reveles it to him: yet plain Fact proves, 'that 'tis very poflible for an inspired Man to be ignorant of it. For no inspired Person ever yet knew it. Nay, tho'our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God, received the Holy Spirit without measure; yet he himself affures us, that he did not know it. That Expression therefore does by no means imply, that the Man Christ Jesus became
this Téxt does not teach; that the
ftri&ly Omniscient by the Revelation of the Spirit: but only imports, that the Spirit was given to him in a moft plentiful manner; that is, in a manner so plentiful, that never did any other Mortal enjoy the like; tho' not so absolutly plentiful, but that God himself might have communicated something more to him, had it pleased him fo to do. For the Father, viz. the Very God, who knew it himself, was certainly able, had he judged it fitting, to difcover the Day of Judgment to the Man Chrift Jesus.
3. Considering the Circumftances of the Man Chrift Jesus
during his Ministry, there was certainly no Necessity of his knowing the Day of Judgment, in order to any of those things which it behoved him to do or finith during chat Space. Nay, had there been any such Necessity, doubtless God would have teveled it to him by the Spirit. And consequently, the Man Christ Jesus could not poffibly have been ignorant of it, even tho' it might be fuppofed, that the WORD does not effentially and necessarily know it.
4. Since the WORD, during our Savior's Miniftry, was either totally (which is by much the most probable) or at least partially quiescent the Man Christ Jesus might not know the Day of Judgment, even tho the WORD himself did know it. Wherefore,
$. It does not follow, that the WORD did not know the Day of Judgment, because the Son, viz. the Man Christ Jefus, in whom the WORD was (sometimes at least) quiescent, did not know ịt. And therefore, WORD did not know the Day of Judgment'; 'tis plain, that this Text does not teach that the
WORD is inferior to the Very God, even the Father, of whom it affirms, that he doth know that Pay
But 'twill be objected, that Chrift is the Son of God, with respect to his Divine, as well as his Human Nature ; and therefore fince our Savior himself says, that the Son did not know the Day of Judgment, it follows, that neither the Divine, nor the Human Nature of the Son knew it. For otherwise Christ must have pra&is'd such an Equivocation, as was utterly unworthy of his holy Character. But I answer, that how certainly foever Christ may be the Son of God with refpeto his Divine, as well as with respect to his Human Nature; yet he did notwithstanding mean nothing else but his Human Nature, when he declared, that the Son knew not the Day of Judgment; and that in so doing he used the utmost Sincerity and Plainefs of Speech, and was confequently by no Means chargeable with the lowest Degree of Équivocation upon that Account.
To state this Matter truly, we must observe, that his Disciples inquired of him, when those Things which he had spokeri, should come to pass; and what he says in this controverted Text, is part of the Answer he return'd to their Inquiry. Now, 'twas his Human Nature alone that fpake at that time, upon Supposition that the WORD was qui, escent. And the Disciples did nor then fuspect, that the WORD was united to the Man Chrift Jesus, or that he had any other than a merely Human Nature. Therefore, fince our Savior and his Disciples did by the Son jointly understand the Human Nature only; 'well might our Savior affirm, that the Son knew not the Day of Judgment. For
he used that Phrase in the same Sense, in which he was sure the Disciples would understand it.
'Twas not at that time our Savior's Dury or Intention to inform his Disciples, in how many different Senses he might be called the Son of God; or to make known to them the hypoftatical Union of the WORD and the Man Christ Jesus, which Mystery they were as .yet perfectly unacquainted with : but he resolved to return a proper and intelligible Answer to their Question. And accordingly he did not inform them, that the Son, when that Phrase is used in such a Sense as he had never once hitherto used it in ; and consequently in such a Sense as his Disciples had never heard of, and were absolutly Strangers to, and would most certainly not understand him in; I say, our Savior did not inform them, that the Son in such a secret Sense, or that the Son in any possible Sense, knew not the Day of Judgment: but he plainly and roundly inform'd them, that the Son, in that Sense, which he therefore meant, because they would infallibly so understand him, that is, the Man Christ Jesus, knew it not.
Before I leave this Head, I shall touch upon one thing, which some Persons have efteem'd a confiderable Difficulty. Our Savior's Words run thus, Of that day and that bour knoweth no man, mo not the Angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Faiber, Mark 13.32. So that the Son is placed after
the Angels; and must therefore, in Conformity to our Savior's Climax, be supposed at that time superior to them. Whereas the Son, say they, was not at that time superior to the Angels otherwise than with respect to his Divine Nature. And consequently our Savior must mean, that the Divine Nature of the Son knew the Day of Judgment, no
more than the Human Nature did. To this I return a double Answer.
1. One would think, that such Obje&ors have never read the Epistle to the Hebrews, wherein the Man Christ Jesus, upon the Account of his being appointed Heir of all Things (which manifeftly relates to his Human Nature, which alone was exalted) is declared to have been, and consequently was when these Words were spoken, superior to the Angels in Dignity, tho' at that time he was inferior to them in State and Condition, in Glory and Happiness. And therefore our Lord's Gradation is ftrialy juft, if the last must needs be esteemed the most worthy Person. But,
2. We ought to remember, that (to our own unspeakable Comfort) the Man Christ Jefus shall be our Judge at that great Day; and he constantly declar'd as much to his Disciples, even when they little thought of his having a Divine Nature. So that the Disciples might more reasonably expect to be inform'd by him, when the Day of Judgment should come, than by the moft exalted Seraph ; because it much more concerned him to know that Day, than the brightest Angel whatsoever. Our Lord's Gradation therefore i truly natural, even tho'the Son had not been at that time superior in Dignity to the Angels. For 'was our Lord's Design to place that Perfon latt, not barely who was superior in Dignity (tho' even that also was the Son's Right at that very Time) but who was most likely to be acquainted with that great Secret, and consequently might moft probably have the Power of imparting it to them. His Words do not only bear, but necessarily require, this Sense.
Whereas ye desire to know the Day and Hour of Judgment, and that I fhould impart that Sem