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Christ to be God (which as res. . that he, as God, was omniscient. pondent I have a right to sup. They said they were sure that he pose, especially after the argu. knew all things. And therefore ments which have been adduced when Christ said that he knew in proof of it) taking it also for not the time of his second coming, granted that he was a man, it it must be so plain and obvious must now be plain and obvious that this was not meant of his that if one who is God and man divine nature that there could be shall own himself ignorant of no room for doubt, or danger of any thing, he must mean not that mistake.. he is ignorant of it as God, for But I should think that Christ's God is omniscient, but that he is disciples directed their question ignorant of it as man whose to him as their teacher, and were klowledge is limited. Therefore not so absurd as to expect to re. they who believed that Christ ceive any information of which is God and man, would be in he, as man, was ignorant. If no doubt what his meaning was, they directed their question to and that it was true in the sense him as the omniscient God, yet obviously intended. It looks the answer which Christ gave more like sophistical cavilling, them shews that he did not an. than fair, candid reasoning for any swer them as God who knoweth to say that expressions are not all things. true, when the intended meaning 4. It is further objected, that is true, and so obvious to those Christ says the Father only to whom they were addressed, knows the day of his coming ; that they could not be fairly which plainly excludes every misunderstood. A thing may be other person. And as Christ is truly denied to a person though confessedly a distinct person it belong to a part of him, when from God the Father, this knowl. it is apparent, that the denial is edge is denied to him by conseineant only in respect of the part quence. Yea, it is expressly of which it may truly be denied. said in Mark xiii. 32, that the So when man is said to be im. Son knoweth not that day. And mortal, this is denying mortality his saying that that day is not of him. Yet this is often said in known to men, or angels, or the respect of his soul, though in Son, shews that he speaks of the respect of his bodily part he is Son in his highest character, as mortal. So Christ hath said, superior to the angels and infe. He that believeth on me shall rior to God alone. never die, though all men are Answer. If we look back to mortal.
the 26th verse we shall see that 3. It is further argued, If Christ is here speaking of him. Christ had a divine knowledge, self as Son of man, or in his his disciples must be supposed to human nature, which being perbelieve it, and then no doubt they sonally united to the divine logos directed their question to the di. has a dignity superior to the anvine knowledge, rather than the gels, and interior only to God. imperfect human capacity.
Whereas it is said that the Answer. We willingly allow Father only knoweth the day ol that Christ's disciples believed the coming of the Lord, whence
it is argued that Christ in his sive term only be taken without highest character knoweth it the restriction, when there are so Dot. It may be answered that strong reasons to the contrary the title, Father, is not only V. It is objected, that the way, attributed to the first person of in which we interpret this text the godhead, by way of distinc. will make the plainest speech tion, but was also a common uncertain and insignificant. appellation given to the divine be. But this is said without rean ing, among both Jews and gen. son. It is an approved rule of tiles. Whoeverwas acknowledged interpretation, that the meaning as God was also styled Father of expressions is to be determin. If the word Father be thus un. ed, not only by the bare consid. derstood in these words of Christ eration of the words taken sinwhich we are now considering, gly, but also by considering every the purport of them will be that circumstance, which may help us neither men, nor angels, noreven to discern what is the true intent Christ himself, as man, knew the of them. It is an approved rule of day of his coming, but God only, interpreting the Scriptures, to ex. and so no person who is God is plain particular passages so, as to denied to have this knowledge. preserve consistency through the And if by the Father, the first whole. Agreeably to these person of the godhead, be more maxims we have endeavored to especially designated, yet the explain the text we have been other divine persons, particu. considering ; nor do we apprelarly the Son of God, who is in hend that any unreasonable, un. the Father and one with him, can. allowable license has been taken Dot reasonably be supposed ig. by wresting and straining the norant of that which is said to be words in a nanner not warranted known to the Father only, by parallel examples, as has been The Father who is termed the shown. And, upon the whole, the Fountain of the Deity, or rather sense which we have given is not the original of the divine persons unobvious, when all circumstanis here considered as represent. ces are duly considered ; and if it ing the whole godhead. To con. seem to any to be attended with clude that the Son of God, as any difficulty, it is as nothing God, is ignorant of that which compared with the absurdity of is said to be known to the Fa. supposing such a person, as the ther only would be as unreasona. Son of God is represented in the ble as it would be to conclude that Scriptures, to be in his highest the Father is not omniscient, be character and capacity, ignor. cause Christ says that no one ant of the time of his coming, (oudeis) knoweth the Father and the end of the world. And but the Son,” who is also said to if the sense we have given appear have a name which no one know. sufficiently plain, obvious, and eth but himself. In short, thereare even necessary when all circum. so many examples in Scripture, in stances are considered, the obwhich universal expressions mustjection, that the evangelists subbe taken in a limited sense, that join no caution against taking one is ready to wonder it should the words in the obvious sense, be so insisted on, that the exclue is obviuted or superseded.
VOL. II. New Series.
The words of Christ, Matt. xx. Be thou faithful unto death, and 23. Mark. x. 40, have also been I will give thee a crown of life. urged as an objection to his To him that overcometh will I proper divinity: "To sit on my give to eat of the hidden manna. right hand and on my left is not To him that overcometh will [ mine to give, but it shall be giv- grant to sit with me in my throne, en to those, for whom it is pre- &c. And again. Behold Í pared of my Father.” But there come quickly, and my reward is no foundation in the Greek is with me to give to every man text for any to pretend, that according as his work shall be. Christ disclaims a right to dispose More proofs to some purpose of the honors and rewards of his might be adduced, but these kingdom, and assign to his ser seem sufficient. vants their respective rank. (To be concluded in our next.) For the words in the original are, 46 To sit on my right hand, and THE PECULIAR DOCTRINES or on my left, is not mine to give, THE GOSPEL EXPLAINED AND save to those for whom it is pre.'
DEFENDED. pared.” What is added by the [The following letter, from Noah Webtranslators, by way of supplying
ster, Esq. to a friend in Boston, written
for private use, is now published at the a supposed ellipsis, rather ob. earnest request of some gentlemen of scures and perverts, then clears
piety, who had read the original; the
author having, on revision, made some the sense of the words. Indeed,
alterations, and added a few remarks to say that it belongs not to to elucidate particular points. Such Christ to assign his servants
parts as were of a more private concern are omitted.
EDITORS.] their rank, or the honors which they are to receive in his
New Haven, Feb. 23d, 1809. kingdom, would be contrary to DEAR BROTHER, so many plain and express Scrip. I have read the little pamphlet, ture testimonies that one might entitled a “Review of Hints on wonder that learned and ingenious Evangelical Preaching," which men should ever suggest such a you sent to me, requesting my thought. Has not Christ said thoughts on the subjects of which that Fle gives his sheep eternal it treats. That the writer and the life, John X. 28. That the publisher of that review may have Father hath given him power been actuated by rery honest mo. over all flesh, that he should tives, I would not dare to ques. give eternal life to as many as tion. Multitudes of respectable are given to him, John xvii. 2. and intelligent men in this coun. Paul also expresses his assurance try, and probably in Europe en. that there was laid up for him a tertain the same unfavorable crown, which the Lord, the opinion of what is called evan. righteous judge should give to gelical preaching. I once enterhim, and all who love his appear tained similar opinions, though äng, 2 Tim. iv. 8. In the epis. probably not to the full extent tles, which Christ sent to the with the writer of the revicw. churches in Asia, how often do But I was opposed to every thing, such expressions as these occur ; that looked like enthusiasm to him that overcometh will l in religion, and talked much give to eat of the tree of life, about the propriety of being a
rational Christian. I am still op. able to perform all the moral du. posed to enthusiasm, but I am ties with steadiness and uniform. now convinced that my former ity. opinions were erroneous, and But let us examine this scheme that I formerly included under of religion on other grounds. that term, a belief in some of the It is the principle of our religion, fundamental, and most rational and of all true religion, that there principles of the gospel.
is a God of infinite perfection, That some preachers, who call who is the Author of whatever themselves evangelical, may utter has been created. This Being is opinions which are not evangel. man's Creator, and of course, ical, is not at all improbable; his sovereign Ruler; and if his nor is it to be expected that no sovereign Ruler, he has a right to man, who ministers in holy things give laws to man for his govern. should go too far in depreciating ment. From God's sovereignty, the moral duties. Minds, impell. or his character as Creator and ed by zeal, may acquire a mo. Governor of the universe, results 'mentum that may carry them be. necessarily his right tothe supreme yond the gospel mark, at which reverence of all the rational be. they aim. But, if I understand ings he has created ; and from the reviewer, he not only censures this sovereignty, and from the what may be really wrong in zeal, perfection of his nature, as well but aims to make the moral du. as from his benevolence to man, ties the essence of the gospel, in creating him, and supplying which the publisher of the pam. him with all the means of happi. phlet calls the benevolent and ness, results God's right to man's moral religion of Jesus. And highest love and gratitude ; for this I understand to be the creed nothing is more obvious than of many respectable men in this that supreme excellence is enti. country. I am probably as sin. "tled to the first place in our cere a friend to the moral duties, esteem. Our first class of duties as the reviewer ; but that these then respects our Maker, our constitute the groundwork of the Preserver, our Benefactor, and gospel, I believe to be a fatal Redeemer. These duties, I ap. error, a rock on which perhaps prehend, are dictated by reason more intelligent men are ship. and natural religion, as well as wrecked than on any other commanded in the Scriptures. Were there no other defect in this They result necessarily from our creed, this alone would overturn relation to the Supreme Being, it, that no man, destitute of a as the head of the universe. principle of holiness, or a su. In the next place, men are preme love and regard to his made for society. Our natural Maker, can perform the moral propensities lead us to associate duties, in the manner which the with each other; and society is laws of God require. His mo. necessary to the continuation of tives cannot be pure; they can. the species, as well as to our im. Dot spring from the right source; provement, protection, and hap, nor will any man, without a piness. From this association of higher principle, than a mere re- men, and the various interests gard to social happiness ever be involved in it, result numerous
social duties, which we comprise piness, tells them "I have the under the general term, morality. means of supplying you with These constitute the second class every thing you can desire. I of the duties of men. This distri. will build, for each of you, a bution of our duties is precisely house in my neighborhood, and that which Moses has made in the I will send you every day, what. ten Commandments, which were ever you want or can enjoy, and originally divided and engraved you shall have no trouble in liv. on two tables. The first table ing, except in dressing and prepar. sontained our duties to God; ing the provisions and materials I the second, our duties to each shall send, to suit yourowndesires. other; and this distribution is But to secure to yourselves the expressly recognized by our Sa. continuance of my favors, it is nevior, who declares that the first cessary that you comply with two and great commandment is to love conditions the first is, that you the Lord our God with all the shall treat me with the respect Heart, with all the soul, and with due to a parent, and call daily at, all the mind; and that the second, - my house to thank me for the which is like to it, is to love our benefits you receive. The secDeighbor as ourselves.
ond is, that you shall treat each Now let me ask the advocates other with the utmost kindness of a moral religion, with what and justice.” Suppose then that propriety or by what authority, these children, placed in this el. can we dispense with the first ta. igible situation, and living in ble of the law, or even postpone profusion on their father's daily it to the second? Are not the supplies, do actually comply, in duties of piety as necessary and a good degree, with the second as positively commanded as the condition, performing all their duties of morality.? and more, social duties, with tolerable, or are they not placed at the head even with strict punctuality; but of the list? The command, “thou pass thirty, forty, or fifty years shall have no other God before without once calling upon their me,” which enjoins supreme love, benefactor, to make to him reverence, and adoration, as duties their grateful acknowledgments, to the Creator of the universe, What shall we say to such base precedes all the other commands, ingratitude ? But suppose furnot only in the order of arrange. ther, that these children, instead ment, but in the order of proprio of a pious veneration, and daily ety, resulting from God's charac. expressions of gratitude to their ter and supremacy. The Scrip. kind father, should declare that tures inculcate this doctrine from they owe to him no immediate beginning to end ; and it is as duties: that to be kind and just consonant to reason, and the to each other is all that is necesmoral fitness of things, as it is sary to fulfil the conditions, on to the Scriptures.
which they hold their estates and To illustrate great things by enjoyments, and some of them small, let me state the following even reproach their father as a case. The father of a family, hard master, and treat him with wishing to furnish his children open contempt! What can be said with the means of enjoying hap. in vindication of such conduct !