« AnteriorContinuar »
WORD is inferior to the Very God, even the Father, of whom it affirms, that he doth know that Day.
But twill be objected, that Chrift is the Son of God, with refpect to his Divine, as well as his Human Nature; and therefore fince our Savior himself fays, 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 Chrift must have practis'd fuch an Equivocation, as was utterly unworthy of his holy Character. But I answer, that how certainly foever Chrift may be the Son of God with refpect to his Divine, as well as with refpect to his Human Nature; yet he did notwithstanding mean nothing elfe but his Human Nature, when he declared, that the Son knew not the Day of Judgment; and that in fo doing he ufed the utmoft Sincerity and Plainefs of Speech, and was confequently by no Means chargeable with the loweft Degree of Equivocation upon that Account.
To ftate this Matter truly, we muft obferve, that his Difciples inquired of him, when thofe Things which he had spoken, fhould come to pass; and what he fays in this controverted Text, is part of the Anfwer he return'd to their Inquiry. Now 'twas his Human Nature alone that fpake at that time, upon Suppofition that the WORD was quiefcent. And the Difciples did not then fufpect, that the WORD was united to the Man Chrift Jefus, or that he had any other than a merely Human Nature. Therefore, fince our Savior and his Difciples 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
he ufed that Phrafe in the fame Senfe, in which he was fure the Difciples would understand it.
'Twas not at that time our Savior's Duty or Intention to inform his Difciples, in how many different Senfes he might be called the Son of God; or to make known to them the hypoftatical Union of the WORD and the Man Chrift Jefus, which Myftery they were as yet perfectly unacquainted with but he refolved to return a proper and intelligible Anfwer to their Queftion. And accordingly he did not inform them, that the Son, when that Phrafe is ufed in fuch a Senfe as he had never once hitherto ufed it in; and confequently in fuch a Senfe as his Difciples had never heard of, and were abfolutly Strangers to, and would moft certainly not underftand him in; I fay, our Savior did not inform them, that the Son in fuch a fecret Senfe, or that the Son in any poffible Senfe, knew not the Day of Judgment: but he plainly and roundly inform'd them, that the Son, in that Senfe, which he therefore meant, because they would infallibly fo understand him, that is, the Man Chrift Jefus, knew it not.
Before I leave this Head, I fhall touch upon one thing, which fome Perfons have esteem'd a confiderable Difficulty. Our Savior's Words run thus, Of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no not the Angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father, Mark 13.32. So that the Son is placed after the Angels; and muft therefore, in Conformity to our Savior's Climax, be fuppofed at that time fuperior to them. Whereas the Son, fay they, was not at that time fuperior to the Angels otherwife than with refpect to his Divine Nature. And confequently our Savior muft mean, that the Divine Nature of the Son knew the Day of Judgment, no
155 more than the Human Nature did. To this I return a double Anfwer.
1. One would think, that fuch Objectors have never read the Epistle to the Hebrews, wherein the Man Chrift Jefus, 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 confequently was when these Words were fpoken, fuperior 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 ftrictly juft, if the laft muft needs be esteemed the most worthy Perfon. But,
2. We ought to remember, that (to our own unfpeakable Comfort) the Man Christ Jefus shall be our Judge at that great Day; and he conftantly declar'd as much to his Difciples, 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 fhould come, than by the moft exalted Seraph; because it much more concerned him to know that Day, than the brighteft Angel whatsoever. Our Lord's Gradation therefore is truly natural, even tho' the Son had not been at that time fuperior in Dignity to the Angels. For 'twas our Lord's Defign to place that Perfon laft, not barely who was fuperior in Dignity (tho' even that alfo was the Son's Right at that very Time) but who was moft likely to be acquainted with that great Secret, and confequently might moft probably have the Power of imparting it to them. His Words do not only bear, but neceffarily require, this Senfe. Whereas ye defire to know the Day and Hour ff of Judgment, and that I fhould impart that Se
cret to you, I affure you, that no Man knows "of that Day and that Hour. Neither do the "Angels themselves, which are in Heaven, and "always in God's Prefence, and who may therefore be fuppofed in a great measure Partakers of "his Counfels; even they do not know it. Nay, what is ftill more furprizing, neither do I my felf, tho' I am the Son of God, and the very Perfon who fhall then judge the whole Race of "Mankind (and might for that Reafon have that "Day and Hour imparted to me, rather than the "moft glorious Angel that ever was created; be
caufe that Day and Hour do concern me infinit❝ly more than any of thofe bleffed Spirits) even I my felf do not know it. This Divine Decree has never been communicated to any Being "whatsoever. None but God himfelf (whom you "have fo often heard me call my Father) is ap "¿priz❜d of it.midist
4 to d
Of Christ's faying, My Father is greater than I; with Reflections upon diverfe other Texts.
HERE remain diverfe other Texts, which are fuppofed to teach, that the WORD, or Divine Nature of our Lord Jefus Chrift, is inferior to the Very God. Thefe I fhall briefly confider and explain.
3. Therefore, our Lord faid, My Father is greater than I, John 14: 28. Now if the WORD was quiefcent, when this Declaration was made; then it
proceeded from the Human Nature only. And confequently, fince the Difciples did not at that Time in the leaft fufpect, that the WORD was united to the Man Chrift Jefus, but efteem'd their Mafter to be a mère Man, only conducted and affifted by the Holy Spirit: why might not both our Savior mean, and his Disciples understand him to mean, that the Father or Very God was greater than the Man Chrift Jefus ?
You (a) tell us indeed, that this Expofition is flat and infipid. But for what Reafon? Why, you (b) fay, that when any Perfon affirms another to be greater than himself, he must of neceffity mean, greater than be himself is in his greateft Capacity. But I pray, have you any where proved, that the aforefaid Declaration proceeded jointly from the Divine and Human Natures? Or that 'twas made by the WORD, as well as by the Man Chrift Jefus? Or that the WORD was not at that time quiefcent? Or that the Disciples could underftand him otherwise than in this, which you efteem a flat and infipid Senfe? Till you have evinced these things (the contrary to all which, I hope, has been evinced above) you will be obliged to grant, that the Expofition I contend for, is really juft and true. For tho' he that then fpake, muft mean, that the Father was greater than himself in his greateft Capa-. city; yet it must be remembred, that 'twas only the Man that fpake, the WORD being quiefcent. And you will readily allow, that the Father, or Very God, was greater than the Man Chrift Jefus in his greatest Capacity; even tho' he was at that
(a) Script. Do&t. p. 157.
(b) Reply to Mr. Nelfon's Friend, p.