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ment of these things, it follows, "that there fhall SERM. "be figns in the fun and the moon, and then "they fhall fee the Son of man coming in a cloud "with power and great glory." And then he tells them in conclufion, "that these things should be"gin to come to pafs," that is, fome of them should happen," before the end of that generation ;" and fo they did, for the deftruction of Jerufalem was about forty years after. But when the end of all fhould be, that is, when the day of judgment would happen, he could not tell them the precife time, ver. 36. "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no not the angels of heaven, but the FA"THER Only;" and it is added in St. Mark, "neither the SON."
Now by "that day and hour" is meant that famous and terrible time of the general judgment of the world, which St. Peter calls by way of eminency, "the day of the LORD," 2 Pet. iii. 10. "The day "of the LORD will come, as a thief in the night;" that is, it will furprize men fuddenly and unexpectedly, because no man can tell when it will be; it will steal upon the world, as a thief does into a house by night. "But of that day and hour know"eth no man, no not the angels which are in hea"ven, neither the Son, but the FATHER. Take
ye heed, watch and pray; for ye know not when
"the time is."
Having thus cleared all difficulties concerning the general meaning of the Text, that it is to be underftood of the day of judgment, and not, as fome learned men have thought, of the destruction of Jerufalem, I shall now confider the words more particularly, and they contain in them these two things.
SERM. First, the uncertainty of the day of judgment, as CLXXXIII. to us, and all other creatures. "But of that day "and hour knoweth no man, no not the angels of 66 heaven, neither the Son, but the FATHER."
Secondly, that the confideration of the uncertainty of the time, fhould make us very careful to be always prepared for it. "Take ye heed, watch and (c pray; for ye know not when the time is." I fhall speak as briefly as I can to both thefe.
Firft, our SAVIOUR here declares the uncertainty of the time, as to us, and all creatures, when the general judgment shall be. And to express this the more emphatically, he tells us,
1. That GOD only knows it. "Of that day “ and hour, ἐδεὶς οἶδεν, εἰ μὴ ὁ Πατὴρ, none knows, but the FATHER." For tho' we tranflate it, "no man," yet in the Greek it is more general, "none knows but the FATHER, that is GOD only." For the word FATHER is feveral times in the new teftament, not used perfonally, in way of diftinction from "the SoN, and the HOLY "GHOST;" but fignifies" the deity," the FATHER being fons & principium deitatis, "the foun"tain and principle of the deity."
"Of that day and hour," the word pa is not here to be taken ftrictly for the measure of time, commonly call'd" an hour;" this were to make our SAVIOUR'S expreffion very flat, after he had denied that the day" is known, to deny that they know "the hour;" for if they do not know "the day," much lefs "the hour." Now in thefe kind of fpeeches, the expreffion ought to rife, and that which is moft emphatical ought to be faid in the laft place; fo that it should rather have been, they
"they know not the hour, no nor the day:" but SERM. pa here does undoubtedly fignify the appointed. season or time; and fo the four seasons of the year are by the Greeks called pa; and in this fenfe the word is most certainly used by the evangelift St. John, chap. vii. 30. "But no man laid hands upon him," speaking of CHRIST, "because his "hour was not yet come," that is, the time appointed for his fuffering; and that which in the text is called " hour," is in the next verfe called naigos, which fignifies a particular season or appointed time. "Ye know not when the time is," that is, the time which God hath particularly defigned and appointed for this great work of judging the world.
2. He excludes from the knowledge of it, thofe who were most likely to know it, if God had not absolutely reserved it to himself." Of that day and "hour knows none, no not the angels, neither the "SON."
(1.) "Not the angels, which are in heaven;" tho they be creatures of fo perfect a knowledge, tho' they be "the minifters of GoD," and do continually attend upon him, and "behold his face," and understand much more of the works of GOD, and his providence in regard to the affairs of the world, than we who live here below in fo much error and ignorance, that "dwell in houfes of clay, whofe "foundations are in the duft :" yet the particular time, when GoD will judge the world, he hath reserved as a fecret to himself, and not communicated it fo much as to the angels, who are defigned to wait upon the great judge of the world, and to make up his train in that folemnity. So our SAVIOUR tells us, Matth. xxv. 31. that "the Son of man A 4 "fhall
SERM." fhall come in his glory, and all the holy angels CLXXXIII. "with him." And fo likewife the apostle, 2 Theff. i. 7. that "the LORD JESUS CHRIST fhall «be revealed from heaven, with his mighty "angels."
But this is not only hid from " the angels," but, which is yet more, from "the Son" himself. "Of that day and hour knows none, no not the angels "which are in heaven, neither the SoN." This feems ftrange indeed, that "the Son of GOD," who came from " the bofom of his FATHER," and therefore is more likely than any to know his fecrets, that, "he, whom GoD had ordained to be "the judge of the world," into whose hands he had committed that great trust and authority, fhould not be acquainted with the time of this judgment: nay, thathe in whom are all the treasures of wisdom "and knowledge, and in whom the divinity does "fubftantially refide," fhould not know this time, this seems incredible, but that he himself hath told us fo. It was indeed a common faying among the Jews, that the time of the end of the world was revealed to none: but yet one would think, the SON were always excepted. Nay how can it well be otherwife, if we believe him to be GOD? And indeed the fathers, in their difputes with the Arians, have mightily puzzled themselves about this text.
Some, and thofe of no fmall account, have understood these words, as if our SAVIOUR only intended to put off his disciples from a more particular enquiry about this matter; not that he was ignorant of the day of judgment, but that he did not know it, fo as to reveal it to them: which is by no means to be admitted, not only because it looks too
like the equivocation of the jefuits, but likewife SER M. because the fame may be faid of the angels; fince it CLXXXIII. is no otherwise denied of the angels, that they know this time, that it is of the SoN. Others fay, that his humane nature was not ignorant of the day of judgment, but that it did not know this of itself, but by virtue of its union with the divine nature. But our SAVIOUR abfolutely fays, that the SoN did not know it. And therefore others more reasonably have diftinguished between his humane na-ture and divine; and though as GOD he could not be ignorant of any thing, yet his humane understanding did not know it. And it is not unreafonable to fuppofe, that the divine wisdom which dwelt in our SAVIOUR, did communicate itself to his humane foul according to his pleafure; and fo his humane nature might at fome times not know fome things. And if this be not admitted, how can we understand that paffage concerning our SAVIOUR, Luke ii. 52. that " JESUS grew in wif"dom and ftature;" or as the word xía may more fitly be tranflated" in age, and in favour "with GOD and man?" For if the humane nature of CHRIST did neceffarily know all things by virtue of its union with the divinity, he could not then, as man, be faid "to grow in wisdom."
And this I think may be fufficient for the clearing of this difficulty, concerning the Sox's not knowing the particular time which GOD had appointed for judging the world and if he did not know it, it is furely no reflexion upon his difciples, if they were ignorant of it, or mistaken about it. Their infallibility was only in things that were revealed to them, but cannot be imagined to extend to things