« AnteriorContinua »
“ doubted, it always, in my opinion, adds greatly to the value and 4 credit of the testimony," &c.
“ In the following quotations, the reference to the author's
sufferings is accompanied with a specification of time and place, « and with an appeal for the truth of what he declares, to the “ knowledge of the persons whom he addresses, 1 Thess. ii. 2. “ 2 Tim. iii. 10, 11.
“I apprehend that to this point, as far as the testimony of “ St. Paul is credited, the evidence from his letters is complete “ and full. It appears under every form in which it could appear, " by occasional allusions, and by direct assertions, by general “ declarations and by specific examples.”
VII. “ St. Paul in these letters asserts, in positive and unequi« vocal terms, his performance of miracles, strictly and properly « so called, Gal. iii. 5. I Cor. ii. 4, 5. 1 Thess. i. 5. Heb. ii. « 4.-Rom. xv. 15. 18, 19. 2 Cor. xii. 12. Truly the signs of an " apostle were wrought among you, in all patience, by signs and “ wonders and mighty deeds. These words, signs, wonders, and “ mighty deeds, (ompless, KUI TERUTA, kas duvapeis), are the specific “ appropriate terms throughout the New Testament, employed “ when public sensible miracles are intended to be expressed. « This will appear by consulting amongst other places the follow« ing texts, Mark xvi. 20. Luke xxiii. 8. John ii. 11. 23.-iii. « 2.-iv. 48. 54.-xi. 49. Acts ii. 22.-iv. 30.--V. 12.-vi. 8.“ vii. 16.—xiv. 3.—xy. 12. And it cannot be shown, that they are “ever employed to express any thing else.--Farther, these words " not only denote miracles, as opposed to natural effects, but they “ denote visible, and what may be called external, miracles, as “ distinguished, First, from inspiration. If St. Paul had meant “ to refer only to secret illuminations of his understanding, or “ secret influences upon his will or affections, he could not 6 with truth, have represented them as signs and wonders, “ wrought by him, or signs and wonders, and mighty deeds, “ wrought amongst them.-Secondly, from visions. These would “ not, by any means, satisfy the force of the terms, signs, won“ ders, and mighty deeds ; still less could they be said to be " wrought by him, or wrought amongst them ; nor are these “ terms and expressions any where applied to visions. When « our author alludes to the supernatural communications which “ he had received, either by vision or otherwise, he uses ex“ pressions suited to the nature of the subject, but very dif* ferent from the words which we quoted. He calls them
«revelations, but never signs, wonders, or mighty deeds. I will « come, says he, to visions and revelations of the Lord; and then “ proceeds to describe a particular instance, and afterwards adds, « lest I should be exalted above measure, through the abundance of “ the revelations, there was given me a thorn in the flesh.
“ Upon the whole, the matter admits of no softening qualifi“ cation or ambiguity whatever. If St. Paul did not work ac6 tual, sensible, public miracles, he has knowingly, in these let“ ters, borne his testimony to a falsehood. I need not add, that, “ in two also of his quotations, he has advanced his assertion in “ the face of those persons amongst whom he declares the mi“ racles to have been wrought.
6 Let it be remembered, that the acts of the apostles describe 66 various particular miracles, wrought by St. Paul, which in *6 their nature answer to the terms and expressions which we “ have seen to be used by St. Paul himself.”
« Here then we have a man of liberal attainments, and in “ other points of sound judgment, who had addicted his life to is the service of the gospel. We see him in the prosecution “ of his purpose, travelling from country to country, enduring “ every species of hardship, encountering every extremity of “ danger, assaulted by the populace, punished by the magis“ trates, scourged, beat, stoned, left for dead; expecting, 66 wherever he came, a renewal of the same treatment, and
same dangers ; yet when driven from one city, preaching “ in the next; spending his whole time in the employment, “ sacrificing to it his pleasures, his ease, his safety, persisting “ in this course to old age, unaltered by the experience of per“ verseness, ingratitude, prejudice, desertion ; unsubdued by « anxiety, want, labour, persecutions; unwearied by long con“ finement, undismayed by the prospect of death. Such was 6 St. Paul. We have his letters in our hands : we have also a « history purporting to be written by one of his fellow-travel« lers, and appearing by a comparison with these letters, cer“ tainly to have been written by some person well acquainted 66 with the transactions of his life. From the letters, as well as “ from the history, we gather, not only the account which we “ have stated of him, but that he was one out of many who act« ed and suffered in the same manner, and that, of those who “ did so, several had been the companions of Christ's ministry, “ the ocular witnesses, or pretending to be such, of his miracles “ and of his resurrection. We moreover find this same per“ son referring in his letters to his supernatural conversion, the o particulars and accompanying circumstances of which are re“ lated in the history, and which accompanying circumstances, “ if all or any of them be true, render it impossible to have been a u delusion. We also find him positively, and in appropriated “ terms, assorting that he himself worked miracles strictly and
properly so called, in support of the mission which he exe« cuted: the history, meanwhile, recording various passages of « his ministry which come up to the extent of this assertion. “ The question is, whether falsehood was ever attested by evi. 4 dence like this. Falsehoods, we know, have found their
way “ into reports, into tradition, into books: but is an example to
be met with, of a man voluntarily undertaking a life of want “ and pain, of incessant fatigue, of continual peril; submitting “ to the loss of his home and country, to stripes and stoning, to “ tedious imprisonment, and the constant expectation of a violent « death, for the sake of carrying about a story of what was. “ false, and of what, if false, he must have known to be so ?", Horæ Paulinæ, chap. xvi. page 405.-426.
THE EPISTLE OF JAMES.
he following seven epistles have commonly been called Catholic Epistles; but for what reason, commentators are not agreed. Haminond's account of the matter seems as probable as any ; namely, that the first epistle of Peter, and the first of John, having from the beginning been received as authentic, obtained the name of Catholic, or universally acknowledged, and therefore Canonical epistles, to distinguish them from the epistle of James, the second of Peter, the second and third of John, and the epistle of Jude ; all which were for a while doubted of, and by many pot considered as a rule of faith. But their authenticity being at length acknowledged by the generality of the churches, they also obtained the name of Catholic, or universally received epistles, and were esteemed of equal authority with the rest. White by, however, seems to adopt the account which Oecumenius hath given of this matter; namely, that these epistles were denominated Catholic, because all of them, except the two short epistles of John, were written, not to people dwelling in one place, but to the Jews dispersed through all the countries within the Roman empire.
Here it is proper to observe, that as we judged it necessary to establish the authenticity of Paul's epistle to the Hebrews, because of all his epistles it alone was called in uestion, so we judge it necessary to establish the authenticity of the five epistles above mentioned, because they were doubted of by many in
the first age. In the preface, therefore, to each of these epistles, I will explain the ground on which the church hath now received them into the Canon of scripture: And the rather, because it will shew how generally all Paul's epistles, except that to the Hebrews, were acknowledged and received as his from the very beginning. See sect. 2. paragraph 2. of this Pref.
The testimonies of the ancients, by which the authenticity of the books of the New Testament, and more especially of the Catholic epistles, is established, have been carefully collected, and most fairly proposed by the excellent Lardner, in the supplement to his Credibility, &c. From that valuable work I have transcribed the testimonies of the greatest importance for establishing the genuineness of the Catholic epistles, and have marked the pages where they are to be found. But in some cases, having abridged Lardner's account, I have not marked the places from which I have taken the particulars. But the reader who desires more full information, will easily obtain it by consulting the 3 vols. of his Supplement, which treat of the Canon of the New Testament; where also he will find the judgment of authors, both ancient and modern, concerning the above mentioned doubted epistles, either accurately recited, or the places of their works distinctly referred to, in which they have given their opinion concerning them.
The History of James, the author of the epistle which bears his name.
In the catalogues of the apostles given Mat. x. 2. Mark iii. 16. Luke vi. 14. Acts i. 13. we find two persons of the name of James. The first was the son of Zebedee, Mat. X. 2. The second, in all the catalogues, is called the son of Alpheus. One of these apostles is called, Gal. i. 19. The Lord's brother. Wherefore, as there were only twelve apostles, and as James, the son of Zebedee, so far as we know, was in no respect related to our Lord, the apostle called James the Lord's brother, must have been James, the son of Alpheus, called also James the less, or younger, whose relation to Christ will appear by comparing Mark xv. 40. with John xix. 25. In the former passage, speaking of the women who were present at the crucifixion, says, There were also women looking on afar off, among whom were Mary Magdulene, and Mary the mother of James the less, and of Joses, and Salome. In the latter passage, John speaking of the