Imatges de pÓgina

matter is accounted for. Concerning the accusation which public rumour had brought against him to Jerusalem, I will not say that it was just; but I will say, that if he was the author of the epistle before us, and if his preaching was consistent with his writing, it was extremely natural; for though it be not a necessary, surely it is an easy inference, that if the Gentile convert, who did not observe the law of Moses, held as advantageous a situation in his religious interests as the Jewish convert who did, there could be no strong reason for observing that law at all. The remonstrance, therefore, of the church of Jerusalem, and the report which occasioned it, were founded in no very violent misconstruction of the apostle's doctrine. His reception at Jerusalem was exactly what I should have expected the author of this epistle to have met with. I am entitled therefore to argue, that a separate narrative of effects experienced by St. Paul, similar to what a person might be expected to experience who held the doctrines advanced in this epistle, forms a proof that he did hold these doctrines; and that the epistle bearing his name, in which such doctrines are laid down, actually proceeded from him.


This number is supplemental to the former. I propose to point out in it two particulars in the conduct of the argument, perfectly adapted to the historical circumstances under which the epistle was written; which yet are free from all appearance of contrivance, and which it would not, I think, have entered into the mind of a sophist to contrive.

1. The Epistle to the Galatians relates to the same general question as the epistle to the Romans. St. Paul had founded the church of Galatia; at Rome he had never been. Observe now a difference in his manner of treating of the same

subject, corresponding with this difference in his situation. In the Epistle to the Galatians he puts the point in a great measure upon authority: “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ, unto another gospel." Gal. i. 6. "I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me, is not after man; for I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it but by the revelation of Jesus Christ." Chap. i. 11, 12. "I am afraid, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain." iv. 11, 12. "I desire to be present with you now, for I stand in doubt of you." iv. 20. "Behold I, Paul, say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing." v. 2. “This persuasion cometh not of him that called you.' 8. This is the style in which he accosts the Galatians. In the epistle to the converts of Rome, where his authority was not established, nor his person known, he puts the same points upon argument. The perusal of the epistle will prove this to the satisfaction of every reader; and as the observation relates to the whole contents of the epistle, I forbear adducing separate extracts. I repeat, therefore, that we have pointed out a distinction in the two epistles, suited to the relation in which the author stood to his different correspondents.


Another adaptation, and somewhat of the same kind, is the following:

2. The Jews, we know, were very numerous at Rome, and probably formed a principal part amongst the new converts; so much so, that the Christians seem to have been known at Rome rather as a denomination of Jews, than as any thing else. In an epistle, consequently, to the Roman believers, the point to be endeavoured after by St. Paul was, to reconcile the Jewish converts to the opinion, that the Gentiles were admitted by God to a parity of religious situation with themselves, and that without their being bound by the

law of Moses. The Gentile converts would probably accede to this opinion very readily. In this epistle, therefore, though directed to the Roman church in general, it is in truth a Jew writing to Jews. Accordingly you will take notice, that as often as his argument leads him to say any thing derogatory from the Jewish institution, he constantly follows it by a softening clause. Having (ii. 28, 29.) pronounced, not much perhaps to the satisfaction of the native Jews, "that he is not a Jew which is one outwardly, neither that circumcision which is outward in the flesh;" he adds immediately, "What advantage then hath the Jew, or what profit is there in circumcision? Much every way.' Having, in the third chapter, ver. 28. brought his argument to this formal conclusion, "that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law," he presently subjoins, ver. 31. "Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid! Yea, we establish the law." In the seventh chapter, when in the sixth verse he had advanced the bold assertion, "that now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held;" in the very next verse he comes in with this healing question, "What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid Nay, I had not known sin but by the law." Having in the following words insinuated, or rather more than insinuated, the inefficacy of the Jewish law, viii. 3. " for what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh;" after a digression indeed, but that sort of a digression which he could never resist, a rapturous contemplation of his Christian hope, and which occupies the latter part of this chapter; we find him in the next, as if sensible that he had said something which would give offence, returning to his Jewish brethren in terms of the warmest affection and respect. I say the truth in Christ Jesus; I liè.

not; my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart: for I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ, for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; whose are the fathers; and d of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came.' When, in the thirty-first and thirty-second verses of this ninth chapter, he represented to the Jews the error of even the best of their nation, by telling them that "Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, had not attained to the law of righteousness, because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law, for they stumbled at that stumbling-stone," he takes care to aunex to this declaration these conciliating expressions: "Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved: for I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge." Lastly, having, ch. x. 20, 21. by the application of a passage in Isaiah, insinuated the most ungrateful of all propositions to a Jewish ear, the rejection of the Jewish nation as God's peculiar people; he hastens, as it were, to qualify the intelligence of their fall by this interesting expostulation: "I say, then, hath God cast away his people,(i. e. wholly and entirely?) God forbid! for I also am an Israelite of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people which he foreknean;" and follows this thought, throughout the whole of the eleventh chapter, in a series of reflections calculated to sooth the Jewish converts, as well as to procure from their Gentile brethren respect to the Jewish institution. Now all this is perfectly natural. In a real St. Paul writing to real converts, it is what anxiety to bring them over to his persuasion

would naturally produce; but there is an earnestness and a personality, if I may so call it, in the manner, which a cold forgery, I apprehend, would neither have conceived nor supported.



BEFORE we proceed to compare this epistle with the history, or with any other epistle, we will employ one number in stating certain remarks applicable to our argument, which arise from a perusal of the epistle itself.

By an expression in the first verse of the seventh chapter, "Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me," it appears, that this letter to the Corinthians was written by St. Paul in answer to one which he had received from them; and that the seventh, and some of the following chapters, are taken up in resolving certain doubts, and regulating certain points of order, concerning which the Corinthians had in their letter consulted him. This alone is a circumstance considerably in favour of the authenticity of the epistle : for it must have been a far-fetched contrivance in a forgery, first to have feigned the receipt of a letter from the church of Corinth, which letter does not appear; and then to have drawn up a fictitious answer to it, relative to a great variety of doubts and inquiries, purely economical and domestic; and which, though likely enough to have occurred to an infant society, in a situation and under an institution so novel as that of a Christian church then was, it must have very much exercised the author's invention, and could have answered no imaginable purpose of forgery, to introduce the mention of at all. Particulars of the kind we refer to, are such as the following: the rule of duty and prudence relative to entering

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