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or opposition between the Son of Man, and the eternal Word, as some speak, but between the Son and his Father, Mark xiii. 32 ; “ Not the Son knows, but only the Father ;” by which it is plain, he had no thought of including any person or nature of his own among the excepted ; for whatever was not the Father, he says was ignorant of that day. Now it is certain, that in no nature was the Son the Father; and consequently where none but the Father knows, none, who is not the Father, can be intended; and since our Lord was making an exception in the case, he would not have forgotten to except the eternal Word too, if there had been such a divine principle in himself, equal to the Father and distinct from him; for it is a known rule, that an exception from a general assertion confirms it, as to other instances not excepted.
Will they say, that by the Father is meant all three persons here, viz. Father, Son, and Holy Ghost ? What, can the Father as opposed to the Son, be put for the Father and the Son ? What woful work will this make with Scripture, to suppose that what are opposed to each other do include each other, under the very characters by which they are opposed ? As well may they say, that in the baptismal form, by the Father is meant, Father, Son, and Spirit, though he be distinguished from the other two. And I should despair of ever understanding the Scriptures above all books that ever were written, at this rate of interpre
tation. No doubt, therefore, but the Father, as opposed to the Son, excludes all that is the Son; and then there could be no Son of God that knew of that day which only the Father kuew of, and consequently Do Son that is God equal to the Father.
3. Moreover, that interpretation must needs be unjust, which, if admitted, will make all, even the most plain speech, uncertain, and utterly insignificant; as this interpretation of Christ's words would do. For as I ask the patrons of this opinion, in what words Jesus Christ could in brief have denied himself to be God most high, if he had a mind to do it, more plain and full than these, in which he says, he knew not all things as the Father did, nor could do all things ? So I would fain have them shew me, what words of that nature he could have used, which the same way of interpretation, as they here use, will not evade and make insignificant ? For had he said, or sworn in plain words thus, viz. “I tell you I am not the supreme God, and none but my Father has that glory”; they would upon the same reason still have said, this was to be understood of him as man only. So that no words professing himself not to be God, could be a proof of it, if this way of interpretation be allowed. I may therefore safely say thus much, that the blessed Jesus has declared himself not to be the supreme God, or equal to the Father, as plainly as words could speak, or in brief express; and that this declaration
te by him already, is not to be evaded any other way, than what will make it impossible his mind should be understood by any words he could have designedly used in the matter. Let any one try if this do not hold true; and sure it must be an absurd way of interpretation, which leaves a man no opportunity or power of speaking his meaning plainly, so as to be understood.
4. Again, this way of interpretation, which the advocates of the opinion I oppose are so much necessitated to for upholding their cause, does plainly overthrow it again, and may be turned against themselves; for if it be just and true to deny of Christ absolutely what belongs to him in one nature, because there is another nature in which it belongs not to him; then, since to be the chief God belongs to him, according to our adversaries, only in one nature, and not in respect of the other, or human nature, it follows that it may as justly be said Jesus Christ is not God, nor to be worshipped or trusted as such; nay, that he was not before the Virgin Mary, according to them, and the like ; and this without adding any limitation or restriction, any more than our Lord does in the place mentioned.
What would they say to one who should speak or preach so, “That Jesus is not God, that he cannot do all things, nor is equal to the Father ?” Would they not conclude he was a denyer of the deity of Christ, else he would never speak so unguardedly ? Upon the
same account, when Jesus Christ himself says, that he cannot of himself do all things, nor know all things, and makes no reserves in his words, we may conclude he also denies his being supreme God; else, if it be a just way of speaking in him, it cannot be unjust in us to imitate him, by denying him indefinitely to be, what he in any one nature is not, that is, that he is not God, without adding more.
Nay, after this way of speaking, which they attribute to Christ, a man may be taught to say his creed backward, and yet make a true profession of his faith, by denying of Jesus Christ in absolute expressions, whatever may be denied of one of his natures. Thus since the Apostles' Creed takes notice of nothing to be believed concerning Christ, but what belongs to his manhood, (which is strange, if there were any articles relating to his supreme deity, which must be most important,) one may venture to deny them all, with this secret unexpressed reserve, viz. meaning it of the divine nature, (to which they belong not.) So that one may say, I believe that Jesus Christ was not conceived of the Holy Ghost, or born of the virgin Mary; I believe that he never was crucified under Pontius Pilate, nor was dead or buried; that he never rose nor ascended, nor will return visibly again ; for his divine nature, which it is pretended he had, was not capable of these things. And since they say, the personality is divine, here seems more warrant to be bolder in denying indefinitely of the person what be
longs not to the divine nature, whose the personality is, than in so denying of the person what only belongs not to the human nature; as this interpretation makes Christ to do.
5. Finally, it weighs something with me, in opposition to this way of interpretation, that the Evangelists never take any occasion, when they had so many, to subjoin any caution against taking Christ's words in their obvious sense, when he says, “he did not know the hour," and the like. If, as we said, our Lord had no mind to reveal his divinity, though I see not still why he should deny it thus, yet sure his Apostles, who wrote so many years after, whom it concerned to reveal all important truths most clearly, would not fail to have set the reader right, by removing such obvious objections as these are against the supreme deity of Christ ; and saying, he spake this only in respect of his manhood, that he knew not all things, &c. John ii. 21; xi. 13. But here is not one caution given, as often we find there was about less matters. No doubt it was because they would have the thing understood as it fairly lies, not thinking of any such secret reserve in Christ, of a divine nature in his person, to be tacitly excepted, when he had denied such perfections of his person indefinitely.
Thus it remains good, that Jesus Christ disclaims infinite perfections to belong to him as to the Father; and therefore that he is not the same infinite God with him, if we can believe his own words. But before I