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ment of these things, it follows, " that there shall S ERM. “ be signs in the sun and the moon, and then I " they shall see the Son of man coming in a cloud “ with power and great glory.” And then he tells them in conclusion, “ that thele things should be“ gin to come to pass,” that is, some of them should happen, “ before the end of that generation ;” and so they did, for the destruction of Jerusalem was about forty years after. But when the end of all should be, that is, when the day of judgment would happen, he could not tell them the precise time, ver. 36. “ But of that day and hour knoweth nơ “ 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 fae mous 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 surprize men suddenly 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 underitood of the day of judgment, and not, as some learned men haye thought, of the destruction of Jerusalem, I shall now consider 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 “ heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.”
Secondly, that the consideration of the uncertainty of the time, should make us very careful to be always prepared for it. “Take ye heed, watch and " pray; for ye know not when the time is.” I shall speak as briefly as I can to both thefe.
First, 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, ideis oidev, ki Minh ó llatie, none knows, “ but the FATHER.” For tho' we transate it, os no man,” yet in the Greek it is more general, « none knows but the Father, that is God “ only.” For the word Father is several times in the new testament, not used personally, in way of distinction from “ the Son, and the Holy s 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 wpc is not here to be taken strictly for the measure of time, commonly call'd “ an hour;” this were to make our Saviour's expression 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 less “ the hour.” Now in these kind of speeches, the expreffion ought to rise, and that which is most emphatical ought to be said in the last place; so that it should rather have been,
" they know not the hour, no nor the day :" but SERM. üpx here does undoubtedly signify the appointed LX
Ppomicu. seafon or time; and so the four seasons of the year are by the Greeks called úpos ; and in this sense the word is most certainly used by the evangelist 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 suffering; and that which in the text is called “ hour," is in the next verse called, xoipos, which signifies a particular season or appointed time. “ Ye know not when the time is,” that is, the time which God hath particularly designed and appointed for this great work of judging the world.
2. He excludes from the knowledge of it, those 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 so perfect a knowledge, tho they be “ the ministers 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 so much error and ignorance, that “ dwell in houses of clay, whose “ foundations are in the dust:" yet the particular time, when God will judge the world, he hath reserved as a secret to himself, and not communicated it so much as to the angels, who are designed to wait upon the great judge of the world, and to make up his train in that solemnity. So our SAVIOUR tells us, Matth. xxv. 31. that “ the Son of man A 4
SERM.- shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels
;" with him.” And so likewise the apostle, 2 Theff. i. 7. that “ the Lord Jesus Christ shall « 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 strange indeed, that “ the Son of God," who came from “ the bosom of his FATHER,” and therefore is more likely than any to know his secrets, that, “ he, whom God had ordained to be " the judge of the world,” into whose hands he had committed that great trust and authority, should not be acquainted with the time of this judgment : nay, that “ he in whom are all the treasures of wisdom " and knowledge, and in whom the divinity does 66 substantially reside,” should not know this time, this seems incredible, but that he himfelf hath told us fo. It was indeed a common saying 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 otherwise, if we believe him to be God? And indeed the fathers, in their disputes with the Arians, have mightily puzzled themselves about this text.
Some, and those of no small 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, so 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 jesuits, but likewise SERM. because the same may be said of the angels; since it CLXXXIII, is no otherwise denied of the angels, that they know this time, that it is of the Son.' Others say, 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. absolutely says, that the SON did not know it. And therefore others more reasonably have distinguished 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 unreasonable to suppose, that the divine wisdom which dwelt in our Saviour, did communicate itself to his humane soul according to his pleasure ; and so his humane nature might at some times not know fome things. And if this be not admitted, how can we understand that passage concerning our SAVIOUR, Luke ii. 52. that “ Jesus grew in wif“ dom and stature;" or as the word “roxía may more fitly be transated “ in age, and in favour " with God and man?” For if the humane nature of Christ did necessarily know all things by virtue of its union with the divinity, he could not then, as man, be said “ to grow in wisdom.”
And this I think may be sufficient for the clearing of this difficulty, concerning the Son's not knowing the particular time which God had appointed for judging the world : and if he did not know it, it is surely no reflexion upon his disciples, 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