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By the most Reverend
Dr. JOHN TlLLOrSON,
Lord Archbishop os Canterbury.
The uncertainty of the day os judgment, coniider'd and improv'd.
MARK XIII. 32, 33.
But of that day, and that hour knoweth no man, no not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. "Take ye heed, watch and pray; for ye know not when the time is.
THESE words are spoken by our Sa-serm. Viour of the day of judgment; for tho' f"""^' in this chapter, as likewise in the xxivth of St. Matthew, and the xxist of St. Luke, which are parallel to it, our Saviour discourseth very particularly and largely concerning the eminent appearance of his power and justice in the destruction of Jerusalem, which may perhaps sometimes in scripture be called his coming; yet it is plain likewise, that he discourseth there concerning his coming to judgment at the end of the world. For we find in the xxivth of St. Matthew, that after our SaviOur had foretold his disciples of the utter ruin of Jerusalem, they came afterwards to him, to enquire more particularly about it; ver. 3. " And as he fat "upon the mount of olives, the disciples came unto u him privately, faying, tell us, when shall these "things be? and what shall be the sign of thy "coming, and of the end of the world ?," Where there are two several questions, to which our Savi
A 2 OUR
Ierm.our returns a distinct answer. The first, when
ff?*|"; those things he had been speaking of before should
^"V*W be ; that is, the things which related to the destruction
of Jerusalem, for of that only he had been speaking
of before. The other question was " concerning
"the sign of his coming, and of the end of the
The reason of their joining these two questions together, seems to be this, (as is very probable from many texts of the new testament) viz. that the apostles did think (and our Saviour permitted them for a long time to remain under this mistake) that the end of the world, and the general judgment, would be presently after the destruction of Jerusalem.
Now to this second question of theirs, concerning the end of the world, and our Saviour's coming to judgment, he gives an answer in the latter part of that chapter, ver. 29. ** But immediately "after the tribulation of those days, the fun shall "be darkned, and the moon shall not give her ** light', and then shall appear the sign of the Souf* of man irf heaven." Not that the general judgment of the world was immediately to follow the destruction of Jerusalem ; for there were many other things to intervene, as is manifest from St. Luke, chap. xxi. 24. "That the Jews mould be led cap"tive into all nations, and Jerusalem should be ** troden down of the gentiles, until the times of the ** gentiles were fulfilled." And tho' these things be expreft in a few words, yet they comprehend a long tract of time; for the captivity of the Jews hath continued for above1 1600 years, and is not yet at an end. And then after the accomplishment ffictlt of these things, it follows, "that there shall SERM-. "be signs in the fun and the moon, and then^^^' "they shall fee the Son of man coming in a cloud "with power and great glory." And then he tells them in conclusion, "that these 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 no "man, no not the angels of heaven, but the FaRther only i" 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 byway 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 understood of the day of judgment, and not, as some learned men have thought, of the destruction of Jerusalem, I shall now consider the words more particularly, and they contain in them these two things.
A 3 First,