They Object, 1. that there are a Great Many Passages, in which are predicted Effects, not as Possible, but as Future under Condition, yet not decreed, since they did not happen; for example, 1 Samuel 23:11, 12; Matthew 11:21; etc.: see BUDDEUS on the passages cited in his Institutionibus Theologiæ dogmaticæ, tome I, book II, chapter I, § 22, pages 297-299.
I Respond: As far as Passages of this sort are concerned, to which appeal is made by our Adversaries; the text in 1 Samuel 23:11, 12 does not help establish Middle Knowledge, because in that passage it is not so much a Prediction of Future Things, which were yet to be done, as a revelation of hidden things that were already at that time, that is, of actual plans, which were being considered among the men of Keilah concerning delivering David up, if he had stayed there; whence the necessity of removal was able to be apparent to David: יַסְגִּירוּ, they will deliver up, that is, they have the intention of delivering thee up, it is in their heart to deliver thee up, such that the action is put in the place of the deliberation and intention, as also elsewhere; compare in Acts 16:27, ὁ δεσμοφύλαξ—ἔμελλεν ἑαυτὸν ἀναιρεῖν, the keep of the prison was about to kill himself. Now, these things, signified to David, were evident to God, not by Middle Knowledge; but by the Knowledge of Vision, which rests upon the Decree.
Now, in Matthew 11:21, the Lord magnifies the unbelief of the Jews by an offensive Comparison with an impossible alternative. The Lord does not precisely indicate what He knew by His Middle Knowledge was to be done by the inhabitants of Tyre and Sidon under this condition, if those Miracles had been done among them. For neither would the inhabitants of Tyre and Sidon upon the bare external sight of the Miracles that had been wrought among the Jews have repented, because of the want of natural strength to accomplish spiritual good. But by a Hyperbolical and Proverbial sort of speech, which is not to be sifted to the letter, the Lord signifies that a greater degree of hardness and contumacy obtained among the Jews, among whom He was now dwelling, than formerly among the inhabitants of Tyre and Sidon. In a manner similar to a preceptor addressing very slow student, who sometimes says, if I had taught an ass for so long a time, it would not have been ignorant of this: or to an inexorable Judge, who might say, If I had beaten stones and rocks for so long a time, I would have broken them: whereby they do not signify that they have it as a thing known by trial, that, with that condition posited, the consequence will also be produced; but, since it is admitted on all sides that an ass is not able to be taught rationally, and that stones are not able to be softened by human effort, in this manner only an eminent degree of slowness and hardness is denoted in the student and by the Judge. On this passage of Matthew read thoroughly SPANHEIM’S Vindicias Euangelicas, book II, locus III, opera, tome 3, columns 227-241. The matter stands in a similar manner in Ezekiel 3:6, 7.
What they set forth out of 2 Kings 13:19, again, it does not rest on Middle Knowledge, but rather on the Decree concerning the Connection between antecedent and the consequent here proposed. In which manner two Possible things were able to be connected from eternity by the Will of God, even if God had both decreed and foreseen that neither of these was ever going to come to pass. Which sort of connection of these two things is sufficient for establishin the truth of the conditioned Pronouncement; even if there should be no foresight of that consequent as future by Midde Knowledge: see below, Chapter VI, § 14; and our AUTHOR’S Exercitationes Textuales XIV, Part IV.
In 2 Samuel 12:8 and Psalm 81:14, 15, is set forth the Connection between the duties of man and the benignity of God: but the truth of these hypothetical Pronouncements does not rest upon some Middle and Conditioned Knowledge prior to the Decree; but upon the Tie between piety and the benevolence of God, a Tie decreed by God and declared through His promises. And thus in other passages.