The

CAUSE OF GOD AND TRUTH.

Part 1

Section 27óLuke 19:41, 42.

And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace: but now they are hid from thine eyes


These words are often made use of to disprove any decree of reprobation in God, Christ's dying intentionally, for some only, the disability of man, and in favor of a day of grace. But,

1. It should be observed that they are not spoken of all mankind, only to Jerusalem and its inhabitants, and regard not their spiritual and eternal salvation, but their temporal peace and prosperity; and therefore ought not to have a place in our controversies about these things. That the words relate only to Jerusalem and the inhabitants thereof, will not be disputed; and that they design their temporal prosperity, which Christ was concerned for, and was almost at an end, appears from the following verses, 43, 44, For the days shall come upon thee,etc. Add to this, this one observation more, that Christ here speaks as a man, expressing his human affection for the present temporal good of this city, as is evident from his weeping over it on his near approach to it. Hence,

2. There is no foundation in this text for such an argument as this:[1] "Christ here taketh it for granted that the people of Jerusalem, in the day of their visitation by the Messiah, might savingly have known the things belonging to their peace. Now, either this assertion, that they might savingly have known these things, was according to truth; or his wish, that they had thus known the things belonging to their peace, was contrary to his Father's will and decree; which is palpably absurd. And seeing the will of Christ was always the same with that of his Father, it follows also that God the Father had the same charitable affection to them; and so had laid no bar against their happiness by his decrees, nor withheld from them any thing on his part necessary to their everlasting welfare." But it was not their everlasting welfare, or that they might savingly know the things which belong to eternal peace, but their outward prosperity, which he as a man, and one of their own nation, was concerned for; and such a human compassionate regard for them he might have and show, notwithstanding any decree of his Father's, respecting the, eternal state of some or all of these people, or any other part of mankind. It does not follow that, because Christ as a man had a charitable affection for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, God the Father bore an everlasting love to them; or, because he showed a goodwill to their temporal welfare, that the Father had at heart their eternal salvation. Christ's human affections and will were not always the same with his Father's: he beheld the young man mentioned by the evangelist (Mark 10:21), and he loved him,as man; but it does not follow from hence that God the Father loved him, and gave him or did every thing necessary to his everlasting welfare. The sufferings and death of Christ were absolutely and peremptorily decreed by God, and yet Christ as man desired that, if it was possible, the cup might pass from him; and so he might wish as man for the temporal happiness of this city, though he knew that the desolations determined would be poured upon the, desolate (Dan. 9:26, 27), both in a temporal spiritual sense; and yet his tears over them are tears of charity and true compassion, and not crocodile's tears, as they are impiously called,[2] on a supposition of God's decree of reprobation, or act of preterition. Hence,

3. We shall not meet with so much difficulty to reconcile these words to the doctrine of particular redemption, as is suggested,[3] when it is said, "You may as well hope to reconcile light and darkness, as these words of Christ with his intention to die only for them who should actually be saved;" unless it can be thought irreconcilable, and what implies a contradiction, that Christ as man should wish temporal good to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and yet not intentionally die for all mankind: should he intentionally die for them who are not actually saved, his intentions would be so far frustrated, and his death be in vain.

4. It does follow from hence that, because these people might have known the things which belonged to their temporal peace, though they were now in a judicial way hid from their eyes, therefore men may of themselves, and without the powerful and unfrustrable grace of God working upon their hearts, and enlightening their understandings, know the things that belong to their spiritual and eternal peace, seeing it is slid of natural men, the way of peace they have not known (Rom. 3:17); and could these words be understood of the things belonging to spiritual and eternal peace, they would only prove that these Jews had the means of the knowledge of them, which they despising, God had given them up to blindness of heart; and so Christ's words are to be considered not so much as pitying them, but as upbraiding them with their ignorance, unbelief, neglect, and contempt of him, his miracles, and doctrines; therefore God was just:, and they inexcusable.

5. The time in which Christ was on earth was a day the light, of great mercies and favors, to the Jews; but it does not follow that, because they had such a time, therefore all men have a day of grace, in which they may be saved if they will. Besides, the phrase this thy day may respect the time of her (Jerusalem's) visitation (v. 44), which was a day of vengeance, and not of grace, that was hastening on, and near at hand, though hid from her, and was the occasion of Christ's compassionate tears and wishes.


ENDNOTES:

[1] Whitby, p. 13, 14, 236, 237; ed. 2. 13, 14, 231.

[2] Curcellaei Relig. Christ. Inst. 1. 6, c. 6, sect. 7, p. 470, and c. 13, sect. 5, p. 402.

[3] Whitby, p. 162; ed. 2, 158.


Gill Index