tive, that he knew nothing of any proselytes, but such as were circumcised, and thereby obliged to observe all the ritual ordinances of the law of Moses. His comment upon Matt. xxiii. 15, is very observable. And I shall trauscribe it.

Here you may learn, that God had a church at all times, 6 even among the Gentiles. And in the times of the king'dom of Israel and Judah there were three states of men, 'who were members of the church.

'The first state was the seed of Abraham. Those were to be circumcised, and to keep the ceremonies according 'to the law of Moses.


'The second state was that of the proselytes, that is, 'strangers, who were not of the seed of Abraham, but yet were willing to be a part of that people, and were willing to be circumcised. These, because they were willing to 'be circumcised, were bound to observe all the other cere'monies. Of this number was Urias.

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The third state are such as in the Acts are called religious men, that is, heathens, as Naaman the Syrian, "Nabuchodonosor, Cyrus, Cornelius, and many others, 'who learned the promises concerning the coming of the 'Messiah, and the doctrine concerning the true God, and

concerning good works, agreeably to the decalogue. These were not circumcised, nor did they observe the

'Mosaic ceremonies.'



So writes Melancthon, and, as I think, according to the sense of all christian writers of the first twelve centuries, and later.

I shall not proceed any lower in the inquiry, when that opinion, which now prevails so much, had its first rise among christians.

But I shall proceed in my argument.

The word, proselyte, occurs four times in the books of the

* Hic discatis, quod Deus omni tempore sibi colligit ecclesiam, etiam ex gentibus. Ac tempore regni Israël et Juda, erant tres status hominum, qui erant membra ecclesiæ.

Primus status erat semen Abrahæ. Hic oportuit circumcidi, et servare cæremonias juxta legem Mosis.

Secundus status erat proselytorum, id est, advenarum, qui non erant nati ex semine Abrahæ, sed tamen volebant esse pars hujus populi, et volebant circumcidi. Hi, quia volebant circumcidi, debebant etiam servare alias cæremonias, ut Urias.

Tertius status erat, qui in Actis vocantur viri religiosi, id est, Ethnici, ut Nahaman Syrus, Nabocodonosor, Cyrus, Cornelius, et alii multi. Qui discebant promissiones de venturo Messia, et doctrinam de vero Deo, et de bonis operibus, juxta Decalogum. Et tamen nec circumcisi erant, nec servabant cæremonias Mosaïcas. Melancthon, in Matt. T. III. p. 545. Witteb. 1563.

New Testament. Matt. xxiii. 15; Acts ii. 10; ch. vi. 5, and ch. xiii. 43. I suppose it to be universally allowed by learned men, that in the first three texts by proselyte is intended a man ch cumcised after the manner of Moses. Nor do I know, that there is any doubt about the fourth and last text. And the place was so understood by ancient christian writers. And among the moderns Grotius is very clear, that hereby are intended proselytes, or as he calls them, after the now prevailing custom, and to prevent mistake, proselytes of righteousness.


However, as this text is somewhat particular, I shall consider it distinctly. "Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes, followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God, των σεβομενων προσηAUTWV. I know, that by reßouevo, in this place, Dr. Ward did not understand a religious distinction or denomination, but a personal character. Ecumenius speaks to the like purpose. He says, These persons were so called because they were sincere and fervent in their religion.' It is used in the same sense by Josephus, when he says that Alexandra, widow of Alexander Janneus, was a religious woman, or religious toward God.




Afterwards Ecumenius seems to give another interpretation, saying; Or otherwise he calls the proselytes worshippers properly. He addresseth himself to them before, 6 saying, "Men of Israel, and ye that fear God." [Comp. ver. 16, and 26.] calling the proselytes "men that feared "God." Thus he gives to the former the honour of their birth, calling them "men of Israel." And though he


a The note of Lucas Brugensis upon Matt. xxiii. 15, is so neat and pertinent, that I shall put it down here. 'Proselytum.'] Græca vox est, Latine sonans' advenam,' quem Hebræi efferunt Ger, quâ significant eum, quem ex alienâ natione in suæ legis consortium adduxerint: qui a gentilitate ad judaismum adductus est, non natione Judæus, sed adoptione factus, ac in legis Mosaïcæ fœdera acceptus; quasi dicas adventitium ad religionem, quod opponitur Judæo nato. Luc. Brug.

Secuti sunt multi Judæorum, et colentium advenarum.']Significat eos, qui naturà gentiles erant, sed religione Judæi, quos Græci proselytos vocant. Bed. in loc. Vid. et Ecum. in loc. p. 115, 116.

c. Colentium advenarum.'] Non Græcorum, sed eorum, qui legi Mosis se subdiderant, advenæ justitiæ. Grot. in Act. xiii. 43.


Σεβόμενες ενταυθα τε και προϊων τες περι το οικειον σεβας θερμς και διαπυρες και ζηλωτας των αλλων μαλλον καλεί. (Ecum. in Act. Ap. p. 115.


---σεßoμevη tepi Tо Ottov. De B. J. l. 1. v. 2. And see Vol. i.

f -η σεβόμενες ιδιως προσηλυτες καλει. Και δημηγορων εμπροσθεν, και λέγων, Ανδρες Ισραηλιται, και οἱ ἐν ὑμῖν φοβεμενοι τον Θεον, φοβεμενες τον Θεον τες προσηλυτες εκαλει, τες μεν απο το γενες σεμνυνων, και Ισραηλίτας εξονομάζων, τες δε ότι μη τετο ειχεν ειπειν, απο θρησκειας ισάζων. Ib. p. 116.

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'could not say that of the other, he makes them equal for 'their religion.' The place is somewhat obscure. But I think, he intends to say, that St. Luke, by calling those men worshippers, makes them equal to the Israelites, in point of religion, because the word worshipper does properly denote one who is proselyted to the Jewish religion; whereas fearing God might be ascribed to other men, who were not so united to the Jewish people.

There is one place in Josephus, where this word is used, which appears to be very remarkable. It is in his account. of the plundering the temple at Jerusalem, by Crassus, in the year before Christ 54. Nor ought it to be thought 'strange, says Josephus, that there should be such riches

in our temple, when all the Jews and worshippers of God 'from every part of the world, from Europe and Asia, had 'been sending presents thither for several ages.'

By worshippers in this place, I think, must be meant proselytes. And worshippers here is a sort of technical word, like that of proselytes, denoting men that had joined themselves to the Jewish people, and were, by religion, though not by birth, Jews. I do not deny that some men who were not proselytes, but downright heathens and idolaters, did sometimes of their own accord, and freely, send presents to the Jewish temple. But here Josephus says, that all worshippers, as well as Jews, sent presents to the temple. We are thereby led to understand proselytes, who were as much obliged to pay respect to the temple as Jews by descent.

This word is found several times in the Acts, and, as seems to me, in its proper sense. I shall consider all those


Acts xiii. 50, "But the Jews stirred up the devout [rather the worshipping] and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts."

These might be called, not improperly, proselytes; though never initiated by any particular rite. Later Jews may say, that women were initiated by baptism. But there is no ground for it in the law of Moses. I think that women were first so honoured and distinguished under the gospel

g ---πάντων των κατα την οικεμενην Ιεδαίων, και σεβομενων τον Θεόν. Ant. 1. 14. vii. 2. n 'Οι δε Ιεδαίοι παρωτρυναν τας σεβομενας γυναίκας, και τας ευσχημονας, και τες πρωτες της πόλεως.

The rabbinical accounts of initiating proselytes may be seen in Reland. Antiq. Hebr. P. II. cap. 7. p. 246. and Moses Maimon. Tract. de Proselytis. cap. 1. p. 113, 114, ex. ed. H. Prid. Oxon. 1679.

dispensation. Therefore St. Paul says, that "There is neither male nor female;—for ye are all one in Christ Jesus," Gal. iii. 28. And we are assured, that when the people of Samaria " believed Philip, preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized both men and women," Acts viii. 12. And Lydia and her household were baptized,

Acts xvi. 15.

I pay no regard to what the later Jewish rabbins say of the method of initiating proselytes, by circumcision, baptism, and sacrifice; who have made void not only the moral, (with which our Lord often chargeth them, as Matt. xv. 19; Mark vii. 1-13; and other places,) but also the ritual part of the law of God. Indeed, they corrupted the Mosaic ritual, by numberless additions before the coming of our Saviour. As appears from the texts of St. Mark just referred to. Nor have they ceased to do the like since.

I think, as before said, that women were first baptized under the evangelical dispensation. I am also of opinion, that our blessed Lord's forerunner first made use of baptism as an initiating ordinance; and therefore he was called the Baptist, O BATTIOTηs, Matt. iii. 1; and in many other places. Nor am I singular in this opinion.

Josephus, who makes so long a story about circumcising Izates, does not say, that Helena, his mother, was initiated by any external rite: though she likewise embraced the Jewish religion.

The worshipping women, above mentioned, whom 'Grotius calls proselytes, were unquestionably reckoned to be of the Jewish religion. Josephus, speaking of affairs in the year of Christ sixty-six, says, Them men of Damascus formed 'a design to make away with all the Jews of that place. But they concealed their design from their wives, who, 'excepting a few only, were all devoted to the Jewish religion.'

Acts xvi. 13, 14. At Philippi in Macedonia. "And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made, [or, where an oratory was appointed to be,] and we sat down, and spake unto the women, which resorted thither. And a certain woman, named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us,” σεβόμενη τον Θεόν.



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Acts xvii. 1-4, " And they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews. And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them. And three sabbath-days [successively] reasoned with them out of the scriptures. And some of them," that is, of the Jews, who were so by birth, or Israelites," believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout [worshipping] Greeks, a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few,” των τε σεβομενων Ἑλληνων πολυ πληθος.

These worshipping Greeks must have been proselytes; for they frequented the synagogue, and were admitted there without scruple. They were among the ordinary stated attendants on the worship there.

It is true, when at Antioch, in Pisidia, it is said, Acts xiii. 42, 44, "And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought, that these words might be preached unto them the next sabbath.And the next sabbath-day came almost the whole city to hear the word of God."

But this was an extraordinary case. And under "almost the whole city" must be comprehended many heathens and idolaters of the place. And from this very context it appears, that none beside Jews and proselytes frequented the synagogue. For it is here said, " When the Jews were gone out the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them." Therefore they were not present at St. Paul's first discourse. It was owing to some general rumour only, that their curiosity had been raised.

St. Luke, in the place just cited from Acts xvii. at the beginning, does not mention St. Paul's preaching at Thessalonica to any besides Jews and worshipping Greeks. Nevertheless the apostle, in his first epistle to the Thessalonians, ch. i. 9, writes to them as "having turned to God from idols, to serve the living God." St. Paul therefore, whilst at Thessalonica, either between the sabbaths above mentioned or afterwards, must have preached to and converted a considerable number of Gentiles. And there" seems good reason to think, that the apostle and his fellowlabourers stayed longer at Thessalonica than three weeks. For whilst he was there, the Philippians "sent once and again to his necessity," Philip. iv. 16. He also reminds the Thessalonians, that whilst he was with them, he and his companions" laboured night and day, that they might not be chargeable to any of them."

"See Dr. Benson's History of the First Planting the Christian Religion, B. 3. ch. v. sect. 5. p. 99.

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