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cerning his Death and Refurrection (which Matters were certainly more obvious to their Underftandings, and more level to their Capacities, than his having a Divine Nature) till after his Sufferings were accomplish'd, Mark 2. 32. Luke 9.45. and 18. 34. John 2. 19, 20, 21, 22, 23. Sometimes they were afraid to ask for Interpretations; at other times our Savior did not give them; and indeed they were not qualify'd, during his Ministry, for the Reception of many fublime Doctrins, which fhould in due time be declar'd. You well know these remarkable Words of Chrift, I have yet many things to fay unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. How beit, when be the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth, John 16. 12, 13. No wonder then, that they did not for the present apprehend our Lord's having a Divine Nature, which is certainly the greateft Mystery of our Religion, and what they would leaft of all fufpect, and most of all be fhockt at. Nay, 'tis abfurd for us to imagin, that they believ'd this aftonishing Article of Faith_during Chrift's Ministry, without undeniable Evidence of their believing it; which I dare fay, no Man in his Wits will pretend. But when the Comforter was come, they throughly understood what they had formerly no tolerable Notions of. For the Spirit refrefh'd their Memories at the fame time that he enlighten'd their Understandings. For our Lord faid, Thefe things have I spoken unto you, being yet prefent with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghoft, whom the Father will fend in my name, be shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have faid unto you, John 14. 25, 26. So that by comparing his Difcourfes with the Events, they perfectly comprehended them ;
and accordingly they might well know and believe, that their Mafter had a Divine Nature.
I must add, that if they had believ❜d him to have had a Divine Nature during the time of his Miniftry; 'tis utterly unconceivable, that there should be no clear Indication of it in Scripture. The Belief of that one Propofition could not but have difcover'd it felf numberless Ways in the whole Course of their Actions. It must have forced from them fome open Acknowledgments and Expreffions of that Belief. It must have led them into a quite different Condu& from that which the whole History of the Gofpels difcovers to us. And yet there is not the flighteft Intimation of this Nature. Wherefore, tho' 'tis fufficient for my Purpose, that we have no Evidence to the contrary; yet I can't but efteem this fingle Confideration (viz. the Silence of Scripture in fo Momentous a Part of Sacred Hiftory) a plain and positive Demonftration of what I have been proving, viz. that during the Time of our Savior's Miniftry, his Difciples did not believe him to be more than a mere Man con ducted and affifted by the Spirit of God.
I must how intreat your Patience, whilft I difpatch three Particulars, which fome Perfons, lefs learned than your felf, may poffibly stumble at, or raife Objections from.
1. St. John the Baptift faid of Chrift during his Miniftry, He is above all, John 3. 31. and again, The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into bis band, v. 35. Now if any Man fhould imagin, that the Baptift thereby difcover'd Chrift's Divine Nature,and confequently Chrift's Difciples might pèrhaps believe it, even during his Miniftry; Ianfwer, 1.That if the Baptift's Expreffions did certainly imply, that Chrift had a Divine Nature; yet how I 4
fhall it appear, that Chrift's Disciples reach'd the full Meaning of them? Why muft they be fuppos'd to understand the Depth of the Baptift's Difcourfes, better than they did thofe of their own Mafter? But, 2. The Baptift's Expreffions did by no means imply, that Chrift had a Divine Nature. For doubtless the Man Chrift Jefus was, even during his Ministry, fuperior to all other Prophets, to whom the Baptift's Words, muft neceffarily be reftrain'd, if understood in the then Prefent Tenfe. But I am perfuaded, that they ought to be underftood in the then Future Tenfe, fo as to denote the then future Exaltation of the Man Chrift Jefus. Thus when St. Paul fays in the Prefent Tenfe, The beir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a fervant, we ndyrov v, tho' be be lord of all, Gal. 4. 1. he muft neceffarily be understood in a Future Tenfe. For the Heir is for the prefent Lord of all, no otherwise than by the Defignation of his Father and shall not be actually Lord of all, till he enjoys the Inheritance. And accordingly the Baptift fajd in the then Future Tenfe, he (Chrift) is above all; meaning that he should moft certainly be so at the, Time of his Exaltation, which tho' he was not at that time actually poffefs'd of, yet he fhould infalliby receive of his Father; of whom the Baptift alfo faid, he hath given all things into his band, that is, he hath abfolutely determin'd fo to do. For that our Lord did not actually exercise all Power both in Heaven and in Earth, till after his Afcenfion, every body knows.
2. St. John the Evangelift fays, Qer feis dex πώποτε. Ὁ μονογλυὴς “Θ, ὁ ὢν εἰς + κόλπον τὸ παρὸς, ἐκεῖν
nyhoo, that is, according to our Tranflation, No man bath feen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bofom of the Father, he hath declar'd him,
John 1. 18. Now thefe Words were undoubtedly fpoken after our Lord's Exaltation; and confequently,whatsoever they declare concerning Chrift, it is (properly fpeaking) forein to the prefent Queftion. For upon Suppofition, that Chrift's being in his Father's Bofom did really imply his having a Divine Nature; yet it does not follow, that because St. John affirm'd after his Afcenfion, that he had a Divine Nature, therefore the Difciples believ'd that he had a Divine Nature during his Miniftry. But in Truth, that Phrafe is ftrictly applicable to the Human Nature of Chrift. For if
be rendred who was, yet 'tis certain that his being in the Bofom of the Father, fignifies in the Jewish Expreffion, being exceedingly belov'd of him, the nearest to him, and the moft intimat with him; as the Human Soul of our Savior certainly was, before he came from Heaven, whilft he was in the Form of God (for his Father loved him before the Foundation of the World, John 17. 24.) and alfo after he came into the World, even during his Miniftry, above any Prophet that ever was fent by God.
But I am perfuaded, that the Apostle fpake of what then was, when he wrote; and affirm'd, that Chrift, who was at that Tirne in the Bofom of his Father, was he who declar'd the Father, that is, was his Interpreter to Mankind, and the Reveler of his Will. And Chrift was undoubtedly at that Time in his Father's Bofom with refpect to his Human Nature, which had afcended into Heaven, and actually fat at the Right Hand of God, and was placed in Authority next to, and in Conjuntion with, the Very God.
3. Our Savior is charg'd by the Jews with making himself equal with God, and with making himself God, John f. 18. and 10. 33. And if he thus difcover'd his Divine Nature to the Malicious Jews during his Miniftry; how can we imagin, but that his Disciples believ'd it at the fame Time? Now this will inftantly appear a trifling Plea, if we confider, what Occafion our Lord gave the Jews for this Accufation. It seems he had called the Very God man's μr, John 5. 17. Now because he call'd the Very God or marleg, his (or if you please bis own) Father, therefore they infer, that he made himself equal with God. Now they understood not the Mystery of God's being the Father of Chrift's Human Nature, by begetting him in fuch a manner, that God was to him to me, as properly as any other Man is the io mame of his Natural Son. And therefore, becaufe when a Man begets his own Likeness, the Son is fpecifically equal to his rig, they conclude, that Christ made himself equal to God by calling God ther πατέρα.
What has been faid, may easily be applied to the other Text. Our Savior call'd God his Father, John 10. 29. Then the Jews took up stones again to Stone him. Jefus answer'd them, Many good works have Ifhewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye ftone me? The Jews answered him, faying, For a good work we ftone thee not, but for blafphemy, and because that thou, being a man, makeft thy felf God. Jefus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I faid ye are Gods? If he called them Gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the feripture cannot be broken: Say ye of him, whom the Father bath fanctified and fent into the world, Thou blafphemeft, because I faid, I am the Son of God? v. 31. 32, 33, 34, 35, 36. You fee by our Savior's An