Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

· were in these days believers, who through faith, patiently and victoriously underwent these • things.'

You presently after say, “Much less are there any instances of persons in these calamitous cir• cuinstances, to whom deliverance was offered on sinful conditions, in any of the canonical • books of the Old Testament. Nor are there any persons mentioned in the said scriptures, to • have expressed their hopes of obtaining a better resurrection, either in these, or any other circumstances.'

Here, Sir, you should have attended to what Mr. Hallett says, as quoted by me in the Inquiry. But there is no more need to go to the Apocrypha, than to Fox's Book of Martyrs, • for instances of men, being tortured, not accepting deliverance. There are, confessedly,

several instances of this kind in the Old Testament. The apostle, just after, particularly points 6 at the persons he means. And these refused to accept deliverance upon sinful terms, for that « very end, that they might obtain a blessed resurrection to eternal life.

This appears to me very right. The persons, just referred to, and many others, who suffered death in the times of the Old Testament, might have avoided it, if they would have practised sinful compliances; but they refused so to do, in hopes of future recompenses.

Mr. Hallett's observation, so far as I am able to judge, is agreeable to the style of the apostle in this epistle, and particularly in this chapter: thus at ver. 24. “ By faith Moses, when he came to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter.” Moses did not tell her, nor any one else, that he would no more be called or reckoned her son ; but he showed his refusal of that character by his conduct. As St. Stephen says, Acts vii. 23. “ And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel.” Non legitur eam adoptionem Moses verbis respuisse sed facto satis respuit, quando relicta aula regia ad fratres suos in afflic. tione egressus est, nec ad aulæ delicias ultra reversus, ut legitur.' Exod. cap. ii. and Acts vii. Estius.

In like manner, ver. 14. “ For they that say such things, declare plainly, that they seek a country.” Ver. 16. “ But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly." They declared and manifested this by their conduct, and by some of their words. Nevertheless, they never expressly said, that they sought, or desired, a better, and a heavenly country.

You observe, « that the noun Tuu nevov, as it stands for an instrument of torture, occurs not in any part of the canonical Greek scriptures.' You mean I think, of the Old Testament. I therefore add: nor is that word in St. Paul. But the word tuunavisou.cll, used by him Heb. xi. 35, is in I Sam. xxi. 13, a part of canonical Greek scripture.

You add : · Neither is any inflection of the word tuu tavisouci, signifying torturing in general, • to be found any where, but in this single passage of the epistle to the Hebrews.

On the contrary Gataker, in his laboured Disquisition concerning this noun and verb, expressly says, that the verb is often used in that larger sense. Sed illud adjicere non abs usu fuerit, to unolulu Taviser Oven, latiori etiam significatu non raro usurpari. Quum enim modus iste tollendi miseros mortales, utpote qui promptus nimis & proclivis esset, frequentius adhiberetur, inde natum est, ut TulTUVISEGnui utoluk TQVISeche dicerentur, qui vi aliqua e medio tollebantur, sive fuste, sive reste, sive ferro, id fieret.' Misc. cap. 46. p. 912. Vid. & Poli Synops. in loc. p. 1375. M.

I shall allege one place where it is so used. It is in the epistle of the churches of Vienne and Lyons concerning their martyrs and confessors." The governor wrote to the emperor for • directions concerning some who were in prison. The emperor directed, that they, who still * confessed Christ should be put to death, [785 MeV at Olup navigyval, ut confidentes gladio cæde. • rentur Vales.) and that they who renounced the faith should be set at liberty. When there. • fore the governor had again interrogated them, as many as were found to be Roman citizens, • he ordered to be beheaded, the rest were cast to the wild beasts.'

• The apostle,' you say, ' or whoever wrote the epistle to the Hebrews, mentions the matter • in very general terms, and with no other circumstances, than what might very naturally and • probably happen to some martyrs in the persecution under Antiochus.'

But the history, to which you suppose the apostle to refer, is unnatural, and improbable, and very unlikely to happen under the persecution of Antiochus, or any other persecution whatever, as was before shown in the Inquiry.

You proceed. And as no critic seems to doubt but the history was extant, when the

• epistle to the Hebrews was written, we may be sure, that whatever the writer of that epistle

though, the Hebrews, to whom he wrote, believed an history so honourable to their countrymen.'

But I do not see how we can be sure of that. This history is omitted in the first book of the Maccabees, where it might have been properly inserted, and probably would have been inserted, if it had been true and generally credited and respected by the Jewish people.

Josephus was contemporary with the apostle, and the Hebrews, to whom he wrote. But he did not write till after St. Paul's martyrdom, and after the death of many of the Hebrews, to whom he wrote. He has never taken any notice of these martyrs, though he had twice a fair occasion for it. How then can we be sure, that the history of the martyrs, in the second book of Maccabees, was generally believed and respected by the Hebrews ?

I do not know when the second book of the Maccabees was published; but Mr. Whiston, who was well acquainted with the writings of Josephus, says, that he never made use of it. If therefore it was extant in his time, it was very obscure, and in little or no credit. Nor do we at all want it for explaining the epistle to the Hebrews.

Once more, Mr. Hallett, as you observe, affirms, that they who were tortured not accepting deliverance, ver. 35, and they who were stoned, sawn asunder, &c. ver. 37, were the same

persons.' Whereas the text assures us, ver. 36, that they were not the same persons, but others.

But here you seem to me, partly, to mistake both St. Paul, and Mr. Hallett. The others are those next mentioned, who did not suffer death. And they are of four sorts. Some were exposed to “ mockings,” some to “ scourgings,” some to “ bonds," some to “ imprisonment." After which such are mentioned as suffered death : of which also, according to our present reading, there are four sorts. “ They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword.” To these, and others, the apostle may refer. For there were many prophets and other good men, who suffered death, among the Jewish people, who might have saved their lives by sinful compliances. See Neh. ix. 26, and 1 Kings xviii. xix. There were, particularly, many such patient and victorious sufferers, in the times of the two prophets, Elijah and Elisha, from whom the “ women," mentioned ver. 35, “ received their dead raised to life again.” After which therefore the apostle adds, most beautifully, and agreeably to the force and elegance, for which this epistle is so remarkable: “ And others were put to death, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.”

I have allowed myself to be very minute and particular in my answer to your remarks, considering the uncommonness of the subject: for which reason I hope it will be excused by yourself and others.

Mr. Hallett says, “ All the cominentators agree in supposing, that the apostle here refers to o the histories in the second book of the Maccabees.' But perhaps he there allows more than he needed to do. Wolfius expresses himself in this cold and general manner: There are, who • think there is here a reference to the seven brothers in the Maccabees. Ad septem fratres Mac• cabeos respici, sunt, qui existiment."

St. Chrysostom, in a homily upon part of this chapter, says, he thinks the persons here in. • tended are John and James: for anotuuviollos denotes beheading. They might have lived • longer : but they who had raised up others to life, chose to die, that they might obtain a better • resurrection. In Hebr. Hom. 27, tom. XII. p. 248. I do not think this interpretation to be right: for St. Paul refers to such as lived before the coming of Christ. But we hence discern, that Chrysostom did not then think of the Maccabees, or that the apostle referred to them.

owing Chrysostom, says, “they were beheaded,' meaning John, and James the son of Zebedee. But others by that word understand being beaten with clubs.

LETTER

UPON THE PERSONALITY OF THE SPIRIT,

WRITTEN IN THE YEAR 1762, TO THE REV, MR. CALEB FLEMING.

Sir, You refer me to John xvi. 13, as a difficult text relating to the personality of the spirit. I must refer you to the letter written in 1730, p. 141, 145, and p. 148, 150.- At p. 141, that and other texts are proposed; and in the same place follow explications of those texts sufficient to remove all difficulties. . .

Christ's promise of the spirit, and all his expressions made use of about it, as recorded in St. John's gospel, are explained in the Acts, where is the history of the accomplishment of all these promises. The fulfilment plainly shows, that by the spirit, to be sent, is meant an effusion of spiritual gifts of power, knowledge and understanding."

Our Lord himself has explained it thus, John vii. 38. “ He that believeth on me, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” There is the plentiful effusion of knowledge, &c. It follows, ver. 39. “ But this he spake of the spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet (given], because Jesus was not yet glorified.” Miraculous gifts are the spirit. That is what Christ promised when he spoke of the spirit. So Mark xvi. 17, 18. “ And these signs shall follow them that believe. In my name shall they cast out dæmons: they shall speak with tongues: they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them : they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." These are the « living waters” promised John vii. 38, which at ver. 39, are said to be the spirit.

Acts v. 32, is a remarkable text, and is explained in the above letter, p. 150. “ And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him:" that is, these are the miraculous gifts which God has bestowed upon us, and upon others, who believe in Jesus, &c. These miraculous gifts, bestowed upon believers, are the promised spirit, of which Christ told, John xv. 26, “ He shall testify of me.”

John xvi. 12. “ I have many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.” However, be easy, in a short time you shall be so illuminated from above, as to know all those things distinctly.

Ver. 13. “ Howbeit, when the spirit of truth is come," or when the divine miraculous powers and gifts, which are to testify to the truth of my mission and doctrine, are poured out upon you, “ He will guide you into all truth.” You will be enabled to understand every thing relating to the institution which God is setting up by me, &c. So we find, that gradually the apostles were able to speak properly to Jews and Gentiles, as they were instructed in the right manner of receiving the Gentiles, of which they had no notion, whilst Christ was with them, nor till after they were illuminated from above, after his ascension.

It is certain that the Holy Ghost is often mentioned as a gift or power plainly. These texts may enable us to understand others, if we will exercise our reason. Dr. Ward says, p. 159, that the term, the “ Holy Ghost,” often denotes a power, cannot be questioned; as where the apostles and other Christians at that time, are said to be filled with the Holy Ghost.

There are no wishes of peace from the Spirit at the beginning or ending of the apostolical epistles; nor any where ascriptions of glory to the Spirit.

There are also other texts, leading us to think that the apostles knew not of any divine VOL. V.

3 p

person under the name spirit. If they had, he would have been mentioned by them. 1 Tim. v. 21. “I charge thee, before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels." Rev. i. 4, 5. o Grace from him, which is and from the seven spirits before the throne, and from Jesus Christ." Our Lord will “ come in the glory of the Father, with the holy angels." "How could the holy spirit be omitted in all these places, if Jesus and his apostles knew there was a divine Spirit equal to the Father, or nearly so ?

November 13, 1762.

Shall I add a few more thoughts upon the same subject ?

By the Holy Ghost is plainly meant, in divers places, a power, a gift, an effusion of spiritual gifts.' John vii. 39. “ For the Holy Ghost was not yet given.” So we translate, supplying the sense. But the Greek is, “ for the Holy Ghost was not yet :” and so the Latin vulgate, and Beza, nondum erat spiritus sanctus. In Dr. Jortin's Life of Erasmus, vol. I. p. 420, are some curious observations upon that text. If by the Holy Ghost is to be understood a divine person, St. John would not say, that “ he did not exist yet." Read also Acts xix. 1-19. There are twelve Jewish people who know not that there “ was any Holy Ghost." . The meaning is, they did not know that there was an effusion of spiritual gifts, in which they could partake. St. Paul laid his hands upon them, and the “ Holy Ghost came on them, and they spake with tongues and prophesied.” Compare Acts x. 45, and xi. 15-17.

Our Lord has told us what he meant by the Comforter,” John xiv. 26, “ but the Comforter. which is the Holy Ghost,” meaning the miraculous knowledge and understanding which they should receive by inspiration.

o The blasphemy against the Holy Ghost” is blaspheming the miraculous works which Christ did, or professed to do, by the power or finger, or spirit of God. To ascribe those works to dæmons, or to Satan himself, was that blasphemy.

John xvi. 14. “ He shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you.” This relates to some things of which Christ had spoken, but not fully, and which the disciples did not yet understand; particularly the calling of the Gentiles, and the manner of receiving them. Says Christ, John X. 16. “ And other sheep I have which are not of this fold, them also I must bring.” And he several times said, that many should come from the east and the west-and the children of the kingdom be east out. These things were explained afterwards to the disciples by divers miraculous manifestations, as we see in the Acts, chap. x, and elsewhere. And gradually, by such means, the disciples were led into. “ all truth," that is, every thing relating to the gospel institution.

November 22, 1762..

[merged small][ocr errors]

REMARKS

UPON

THE LATE DR. WARD'S DISSERTATIONS

UPON

SEVERAL PASSAGES OF THE SACRED SCRIPTURES.

WHEREIN ARE SHOWN, BESIDE OTHER THINGS, THAT ST. JOHN COMPUTED THE HOURS OF THE DAY
AFTER THE JEWISH MANNER: WHO ARE THE GREEKS, JOHN XII. WHO THE GRECIANS, ACTS VI.
THE DESIGN OF THE APOSTOLIC DECREE, ACTS XV. THAT THERE WAS BUT

ONE SORT OF JEWISH PROSELYTES: WHEREIN LAY THE FAULT

OF ST. PETER, AND HOW ST. PAUL MAY BE VINDICATED.

INTRODUCTION..

DR. WARD's intimate acquaintance with antiquity, and his uncommon skill in all parts of literature are well known. His sincere piety and respect for the sacred scriptures were as conspicuous. And his dissertations, though posthumous, have been well received by the public. Nevertheless among many curious criticisms, and just observations, there are some things, which appear to deserve farther consideration. I hope, therefore, that my making remarks upon some places, where I hesitate, will not be reckoned inconsistent with the respect which I long had, and still have for the learned and pious author.

And I may take this opportunity to enlarge upon some articles, beyond what the design of making remarks would require.

СНАР І.

Page 73. diss. xxi. • The case of the dæmoniac, who resided among the tombs on the coast of Gadara.

As my remarks are to be made in the order of the dissertations, I begin with this. Upon which I have received some observations in a letter from my much esteemed friend, Mr. Thomas Mole, which I shall here transcribe.

• I have read the Dissertations of Dr. Ward : among which I find one upon the case of the • dæmoniac, who resided among the tombs on the coast of Gadara.

• This affair of the possessions is an embarrassment, which one would be glad fairly to get rid . of. The interpretation, which represents them as mad, or otherwise grievously diseased, seems • to be the only method effectually to remove it. A great deal has been written to show the • probability of this explanation, and principally by yourself. Our late friend seems to have • been very tenacious of the other sense, and treats them as real possessions. He justly observes

« ElőzőTovább »