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might not have injured the para- Nazareth is the service of the God graph, which, as it stands, re. and Father of Jesus of Nazareth; minded me of a passage in Wil. and that is to sear God and liam Penn's Works, written in keep his commandments; and to reply to an opponent who had as. love God above all, and our neighis serted that "the Christian reli. bours as ourselves; this is the gion is nothing but the service of whole duty of man.' Eccl. xii. 13. Jesus of Nazareth.” In answer Matt. xxii. 37, 39. That which 'to which partial statement of the man has to do in the world for truth, Penn says, Vol. II. p. 813: salvation.” I am, Sir, with best " That the Christian religion is wishes for the prevalence of these nothing but the service of Jesus truly evangelical doctrines, sinof Nazareth, I shall readily cerely yours, agree; for the service of Jesus of AN UNITARIAN CARISTIAN.
CONTRIBUTIONS TO BIBLICAL CRITICISM.
QUODCUNQUE POTESTADDIT ACERVO.
Remarks on the Epistle to the solute necessity of the Christian Romans.
revelation to all mankind, to Jews The main object of this Epistle, and Gentiles without exception. is to remove the prejudices of the In this part of his undertaking he Jewish against the Gentile be- draws an impressive, but not ex. lievers. There is a great resem- aggerated picture of the depravity blance between it and the Letter of the Hearben world before the to the Galatians, in the nature coming of Christ, & depravity and the reasoning of them. Paul, which even grew out of the essence however, writes to the churches and the forms of their religious in Galatia, whom his own preach. worship. He also points out the ing had converted, with more au, error of his countrymen in repos. thority than he does to the Chris- ing themselves on iheir privileges, tians at Rome, with whom he had as the descendants of Abrabam : no personal acquaintance. It is and, while he admits the value of difficult to conceive either how these privileges, he proves their the important matters of which he inefficacy to final acceptance and treats, could have come into dis- salvation, Then he describes cussion in any age after the apos. Jesus Christ as a mercy-seat, tolic, or, if they did, how they whence the divine forgiveness is, could have been handled in a as it were, exhibited to penitent manner which should furnish no sinvers, of every națion under suspicion, which should betray heaven. At the same time, he is · no consciousness, of fraud. careful to slew that this doctrine,
He begins with expressing his far from encouraging sin, should joy on hearing of the attachment produce a thankful and affection
of the believers at Rome to the ate obedience. He goes on to il. gospel, and his wish to visit ihem. lustrate tbe correspondevce of the Afterwards, he represents the ab. rejection of the Jews, and of the reception of believing Gentiles and election and reprobation, into the Christian church, with which agitated a later age. The ancient prophecy; he sheds the truth is, he does not now speak of tears of a patriot over this sad re. the election or rejection of men veise in the condition of bis bre. considered individually but nationthren, his kinsmen after the flesh; ally, as belonging to one, or other but he looks forward to their con- of the two grand divisions of the version and restoration, and, in human race-lo Jews or Gentiles, this assurance, cautions the Gen-Nor does he any where hold forth tile Christians not to insult the the Supreme Being as acting with Jews. The epistle concludes with regard to these in what we should some admirable practical advice, call an arbitrary mann:r: on the suited to the circumstances of the contrary, it is more than intimated society at Rome.
that whatever God does, is done This part of Paul's writings, is for ends worihy of infinite wisdom signally estimable for the benevo- and goodness, even though, at prelence of spirit, the comprehension sent, they may not be discerned of understanding and the sound. by his imperfect creature man, ness of judgment, as well as for Whai some persons term the sove. the fervour of devotion, which it reignty of God, should not be looked displays. The reasoning is close upon as a capricious sovereignty, and pertinent : and there is much as a mere exercise of the will, in. less of a real than a seeming neg. dependently on moral consideralect of méthod. No where does tions. This were to degrade the this apostle pour forth more freely Deity to a level with certain of the abundance of bis heart, or the sons of men. It is remarkable employ language, at once more that when the scriptures speak of sublime and beautiful. Here we his thoughts and ways as being have exainples of metaphors, alle. above our thoughts and ways, they gories, personifications, and other speak of them as being such in figures of speech, which for pro. point of mercy and of kindness. priety and force, have not per- His compassion and readiness to haps been surpassed by any au- forgive, are said to exceed ours, thor. Wlien Sin and Death, on even as the heavens are higher the one side, when the Grace or than the earth, and therefore be Favour of God and Righteoustiess clains at once, our deepest venera. and Life, on the other, are repre, tion, warmest gratitude and most sented as mighty potentates in mu. cordial sorvice. tual warfare, and when the Jews These observations, I trust, and the Gentiles are respectively will aid the evidence which is set forth as the natural and as the usually produced for the genuine. wilt olive tree, who can withhold ness of this epistle : I shall briefly his tribute of admiration of the notice Mr, Evanson's reasons for taste and genius and cloquence of treating it as a forgery. the writer ?
that Paul " never had It does not appear to me that the least idea of travelling into Paul treats in this epistle, or indeed Spain,” notwithstanding his dein any of his letters, of those controversies, about predestination • Dissonance, &c. sub fin. 1st ed.
claration to that effect in chap. sv. the brethren who went to meet 28. In other words, he contends him, as far as Appii Foruin, were that the history of the apostle docs Christian converts. no! justify this assertion in the According to Acts xxviii. 28, «pisile.
My answer is, we learn the Jews at Rome are assured by from Acts six. 21. that he actually this apostle that the gospel, in had an intention of seeing Rome: consequence of their rejection of and what could be more probable it, is preached and will continue than that, afier yisiting Italy, he to be preached with success to the would go to Spain? From a com. Gentiles. How could Mr. E. disparison of the iwo passages Paley* cern in this declaration any inconhas deduced what, in my judg. sistency with the fact of a Chris. ment, is a fairer and sounder infer, tian church being then in existence
in that city ? Mr. E. deems it unlikely that He objects to Paul's being re. there should have been a Christian presented as having a personal acchurch at Rome " in the reign of quaintance with so long a list of Nero.” Now strangers from this members of this church. But the metropolis of the world, were pre. objection vanishes the moment we sent ai the effusion of the Holy reflect upon the intercourse which Spirit, on the day of Pentecost : subsisted between the capital and and J. H. Michaelis, whosc opinion nearly all the provinces of the is entitled to particular regard on Roman empire. That the apostle a question of history and criticism, makes mention of Aquila and has stated the principles on which Priscilla, is a circumstance on he pronounces it " not extraordic which Paley* lays great stress, as nary” that, when Paul wrote his furnishing, together with a passage Epistle to the Romans, Christi- in the history of the Acts, &c. a anity was in a flourishing condi. coincidence of date. Nor could tion at Rome.t
Mr. E. well be ignorant that most 'The authur of the Dissonance commentators interpret Rom, xvi. adels, they were not Christians 13, of one who was literally inbut Jews who met Paul at Appii deed the mother of Rufus, but Forum.” i grant it would be too whom Paul was accustomed to much to conclude simply from the regard with something of filial word brethren that they were his reverence and gratitude, on acfellow-believers in Jesus Christ. count of her affectionate, nay alThe term is applied sometimes to most maternal, good offices to Christians and sometimes also to himself. Jews. But, as Paul, on his arrival
Finally, The writer of the Disat Rone, found it necessary to call refers to the eleventh together the chief of his country- chapter of this epistle, as a decis men, and as none of them appear sive proof that the author was not to have visited him spontaneously, St. Paul, but some person who the presumprion certainly is that lived and wrote some time after Here, I confess, I am at a loss to presumprion that he who drew it. perceive any connection brtween was present at the scene and a ihe verses which are quoted, and party in the dispute. The alluthe purpose for which the cita. sions are not indetinite, but cir. tion is made. It will be sufficient cumstantial and direct; nor are to reply that these passages are the time and the place unnoticed. prophetic, and describe a future Further, The relation agrees and not a past event.
the destruction of Jerusalem. • Horæ Paulinæ, Ep. to the Rom. No, jii. + Introduct. to N. T. vol. iv, pp. 91,
* Hose Paulinz, as before, No.ü. 92, 93.
with what is otherwise known of On the whole, I subunit to my the respective characters of Paul readers, whether Mr. Evanson's and Peter. arguments, not perhaps very for. In every stage of his life, Paul cible in themselves, either sepa, was distinguished by the united rately or collectively, have any zeal and firmness of his mind, by weight, when opposed to the ex- his unwavering attention to one ternal and internal testimony in great purpose.
Before his cona support of the proposition that the version, he is ardent for destroyEpistle to the Romans was dicta. ing the faith of Christ : when he ted by Paul ?
is brought to a knowledge of the
truth and called to the office of an Peter's Dissimulation at Antioch. apostle, his grand' object is to
preach among the Gentiles the Gal. ii. 11, 12, 13, 14. unsearchable riches of Christ. The artlessness of this narrative His leading qualities are the same, is worthy of our attention. with the only difference of their
It does not belong to a formal being better governed and directed history, but is introduced by Paul when he became a Christian. Peinto his letter to the Galatians, ter, on the other hand, with no merely for the sake of shewing intention of acting wrongly, is that, instead of his having received always the creature of feeling ra. his knowledge of the gospel (ac. ther than of reflection, and is cording to the insinuation of his hence betrayed into capital and, enemies), from human instructors, had it not been for the ingenuous. nothing had been communicated ness of his temper, fatal errors. In to him, on the subject of the this apostle there seems to be more Christian dispensation, but by than a common susceptibility of Jesus Christ himself: nor had he impressions from the events and visited any of the apostles till some objects of the moment. time after his conversion ; and he count on tbis principle for bis lan. had even opposed one of the prin- guage and behaviour to his Divine cipal of them in the affair which Master, for his now expressing forms the chief topic of this epistle, his readiness to go with him to His statement of ihe transaction is prison and to death, for his now not unnecessary or impertinent : denying that he knew him and it falls in as naturally as possible then being pierced to the heart with the course of the argunient, with godly sorrow, on the cye of and carries with it, so far, a maik Jesus meeting his. These sepaof truth. Mention is also made rate features, in the two apostles, of the names of persons; and the are exhibited on the occasion bia liveliness of the description is a fore us. Paul, without even cal.
culating on any loss of his popu- who are equally its friends and larity among his believing coun- advocates. The freedom of Paul trymen, boldly maintains, in their in delivering his reproof and the presence, the freedom of the Gen. humility with which it appears to tile converts: Peter, in the con- have been received, are highly duct which gave rise to this inter- honourable to the Christian cause', view and reproof, was more influ- as well as to the memory of these enced than he ought to have been apostles. It should be recollected, by temporary circumstances; when moreover, that their doctrine was he was not in the sight of any the same, and that a controversy Jewish Christians, he associated' of this kind could not have hap-. fearlessly with the Gentile mem. pened except in the earliest age of bers of the church-wben certain Christianity. men came from James, he left the This portion of sacred history, society which he had previously seems to destroy the claims of su. cultivated. In a word, Peter de. premacy which are set up by the nying his Lord and Peter dissem- pretended successors of Peter, bling at Antiuch are, we perceive, There are those who contend not one
and the same. There is a con, only that he was the first Bishop gruity in the character which de. of Rome, a proposition wbich notes that the scenes representing they rather assume than are capa. it are put fictions : and the same ble of proving, but, , furiher, that remark applies to that of the apos. he was chief of the apostles. Now tle of the Gentiles.
Jesus gave do supremacy to any Another
in which the dis, of his apostles: and in the occurpute between Paul and Peter il. rençe under our review every lustrates the truth of Christianity, thinking reader will admit that is the inconsistency of such a dis. Peter's conduct was extremely senlion with the supposition that faulty, and that he appeared these apostles conspired to impose with far less advantage than his a cheat upon the world. Imagine reprover. Honoured, no doubt, that they had embarked in an he was, with many marks of bis underiaking of this nature, and gracious master's notice: get these, you may
be sure that neither of when examined, will be found to them would have said or dune any have proceeded from the desire of thing to weaken cven for a short him who knew what was in man, time, the credit of the other in the to afford his fluctuating disciple eyes of their followers. The feels the strongest evidence of the heaings of honest indignation would venly origin of the gospel. And then either not have existed or if, after our Lord's ascension, if, have been suppressed. Nothing on the day of Pentecost, and other is so injurious to a fraud as a serio occasions, Peter took the lead a. ous difference of opinion among mong his brethren, we may be its contrivers or its instruments. satisfied that the fact was owing to Truth, on the contrary, has nothi- lis temper, habits and circumstan. ing to dread from the varieties and ces, and not to any appointment even the opposition of sentiment of him to this special office on the and behaviour which, to a certain part of Christ.' Highly valuable extent, may be found among those and useful as he was, his dissimu.