« PreviousContinue »
htthews might confitsies of the Law who believed at der var was the
necessary, even in their own Case, to an Interest in the Kingdom and Covenant of God, under the Gospel ; (Phil. iii. 3—41.) much less might they impose them upon the Gentile Converts. But, that the believing Jews might conlistently with their Christian Profession, observe all the Rites and Ceremonies of the Law of Mofes, seems to be true. For there were “many Thousands of Jews who believed at Jerusalem, and they were all zealous of the Law," Acts xxi. 20. And, so far was the Apostle James, and all the Elders of the Christian Church, from thinko ing their Zeal for the Usages of the Law inconsistent with their Christian Profession, that they advised the Apostle Paul to conform to one of the Institutions of the Mofaic Law, in order to clear himself of a Suspicion they had entertained, that he taught the Jews, which were among the Gentile, to forsake Mofes, Ver. 21-25. This was false; he, indeed, taught the Gentile Converts, that it was inconsistent with their Christian Profession to embrace Judaism, or to put their Necks under the Yoke of the Law of Moses; but he never taught the Jews to forsake Moses. And so willing was he to convince the Christian Jews, that the Information they had received was false, that he complied with the Advice of James and the Elders, and joined himself to four Men, who had a Vow of Nazaritism on them, subjecting himself to the same Vow for seven Days, joining with them in the Expences; and “the next Day purifying himself with them he entered into the Temple, to signify to the Priest the Accomplishment of the Days of Purification, until that an Offering should be offered for every of them ;” and, consequently for Paul as well as the other four, Ver. 24–27. Here Paul joined in every Part of a Rite purely Mofaical; shaving his Head, presenting himself to the Priest in the Temple, and offering the Sacrifices and Oblations, which the Law required, Num. vi. 13-22. Which a Man of his Resolution and Integrity would never have done, in mere Complaisance to any persons whatsoever, had it been inconsistent with his Christian Profession.
297. But, before he came to Jerusalem, either he or Aquila, for it is not certain which, had a Vow, a Vow of Nazaritism, at Cenchrea, Acts xviii. 18. Now, suppose it was Aquila, who was under this Vow; he was a Christian Jew, well acquainted with Paul, Ver. 2, 3; and, no Coubt, thoroughly instructed by him in the Gospel. It cannot therefore be fupposed, Paul would have suffered him, under his Eye, to have conformed to a Rite purely Mosaical, at least without a Reproof, had it been unlawful for a Christian Jew to observe Mofaical Institutions.
298. Paul circumcised Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman, Acts xvi. 1, 2, 3. And in general, “ to the Jews he became as a Jew, (that is, by conforming to Mofaical Rites and Ceremonies), that he might gain the Jews,” i Cor. ix. 20, 21. Which he would never have done, had it not been consistent with his Profession of the Gospel. On the other Hand; “ To them that were without the Law, (that is, to the ventiles,) he became as without Law;” or, as one that did not obtve Mosaical Ceremonies. Which shews, that he did not think the blervance of them necessary, even to himself, in reference to his InStelt in the Gospel-Covenant; otherwise, he could upon no Conlideration have fufpended the Observance of them. VOL. III. Еe
299. The 299. The Truth seems to be this. The Rites and Ceremonies of the Law of Moses, were incorporated into the Civil State of the Jews; and so might be confidered as National and Political Usages. Now, as the Gospel did not interfere with, or subvert any National Polity upon Earth, but left all Men, in all the several Countries of the Globe, to live, in all Things not sinful, according to the Civil Constitution, under which it found them ; so it left the Jews also at Liberty to obierve all the Rites and Injunctions of the Law of Moses, considered as a Part of the Civil and Political Usages of the Nation. And in this respect, they remained in Force so long as the Jews were a Nation, having the Temple, the Token of God's Presence and Residence among hem. But when the Temple was destroyed, and they were expelled the Land of Canaan, their Polity was diffolved, and the Mosaic Rites were quite laid afide. And, as the Time, in which this happened, was near, when the Epistle to the Hebrews was written, therefore the Apostle faith, The firit Covenant, or Mosaical Dispensation, was “then decaying and waring old, and ready to vanith away,” Heb. viii. 13.
300. But though the Gospel was not, in itself, intended to unchurch the Jews; yet the Jews every where warmly opposed the preaching of it; though not for the fame Reasons.
301. (1.) Some Jews oppofed it totally, and rejected the whole Gof. pel, as unnecessary; judging the Mofaical Constitution, and their Conformity to the Law there delivered, compleatly sufficient for Justification, or Salvation, without any further Provision made by the Grace of God. These accounted Christ, our Lord, an Impostor, and the Gospel a Forgery, and therefore perfecuted the Apostles with the utmost Affiduity, and Outrage, as Deceivers, who had no Divine Miss fion. Such were the Jews, who put Stephen to Death, Acts vith, viith Chapters. Such were they at Antioch in Pisidia, who “were filled with Envy, and spake against the Things that were spoken by Paul, contra. dicting and blaspheming,” Acts xiii. 45, 50. Such were the Jews at Iconium, Acts xiv. 2, 19.—at Thesalonica,---xvii. 5.—at Corinth,xviii. 5, 6. And in other places. And such a Jew was Paul himself, before his Conversion. He consented to the Death of Stephen, “made Havock of the Church," Acts viii. 3 ; “ and breathed out Threatnings, and Slaughter against the Disciples of the Lord,” ix. 1. xxii. 4. xxvi. 9, 10, 11.
302. What Paul's Principles and those of the unbelieving Jews, were, we way learn, if we observe; That the first Persecution, raised againit the Apostles at Jerusalem, was partly on Account of their “preaching through Jesus the Resurrection froin the Dead,” Acts iv. 1, 2. This gave great Offence to the Sadducees : And partly, because they openly affirmed, That Jesus, whom the Rulers of the Jews flew and hanged on a Tree, was the Melliah, “whom God had exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour.” This disgusted all the Council and Senate of the Jews, Acts v. 21, 28, 29, 30, 31. But, with Regard to these two Particulars, the Indignation of the Jews seems, for some Time, to have been abated; till the Doctrine, the Apostles taught, was better understood, and Stephen, in his Dispute with some learned Jews, had suggested that the Gospel was intended to abrogate the Mofaical Constitution, Acts ri. 9
- the Civil sz. ftriétet, and
--!5. This irritated the Jews afresh ; especially the Pharisees, the – Political con
ftrictest, and moft numerous Seet among them. And Saul, one of that
Sect, (Acts xxiii. 6. xxvi. 5.) being then a young Man, just come by an out of Gamaliel's School, having finished his Studies in the Law, and El Coustrasies Lot, being fully persuaded, that the Jewish Dispenfation was instituted by
God, never to be altered, but to abide for ever, he really believed that 0 2LE Jesus and his Followers were Deceivers; and that it was his Duty to this poles cikk oppose them, and to stand up courageously for God and his Truth. - Thus he honestly followed the Dictates of his own Conscience. How
Date - far other unbelieving Jews were, or were not, upright in their Oppo. Lence es, fition to the Gospel, God only knows; but their professed Principles e care seem to be nearly the same. In short; they were for seizing on the
Rs. Inheritance, (Mat. xxi. 38.) and for ingrossing all Salvation, and the Uy va Favour of God to themielves. The Jews, they judged, were the only
Ay People of God; and the Jewish Nation the only true Church, out of el cos which there was no Salvation. No Man could be in' a State of Ac
ceptance with God, without observing the Law of Moses. The Works
of that Law, Moral and Ceremonial, must be performed, in order to w: his being a Member of God's Church and Family, and having a Right
to future and eternal Happiness. They expeated the Messiah indeed, and his Kingdom: But not as if either had a Reference to another World. The Law, and a punctual Oblervation of it, was the Ground of their expectations in a future World. And as for the Messiah, they · supposed, his Coming and Kingdom related only to temporal Profa.
perity and Grandeur of the Jewish Nation, and the perpetual Establishment of their Law, by rescuing them out of the Hands of the GentilePowers, who had greatly embarrassed and distressed their Constitution. Thus they endeavoured to "eltablish their own Righteousness,” (Rom. x. 37.) Salvation, or Interest in God; an Interest which they imagined for
hemselves, and which excluded Men of all other Nations, who, they hought, were, in Fact, utterly excluded from the Divine Favour and ernal Life, as quite loít and hopeless. Against us Gentiles they had e strongest Prejudices, accounting us as perfe&tly vile, as nothing, abandoned of God, only because we were not included in their Peiarity: While they imagined themselves to be vaftly superior to us,
the only People beloved of Gəd, purely on Accou:t of their exnal Privileges, and Relation to God, as the Seed of Abraham, being umcised, enjoying the Law, the Promiles and Ordinances or
thipand this wasched to the Gen the Jews had, foresis till God in
3. And this was another Ground of their Opposition to the Gora when it was preached to the Gentiles. Indeed, the Apostles thems, and the first Christians anong the Jews had, for some Time, 120
12 of the Gospel's being preached to the Gentiles; till God in 3 - convinced Peter, it was his Will that it should, Acts x. But the eving Jews regarded the Preaching of the Gospel to the Gentiles,
declaring that they were, upon the Faith in Christ, pardone! mitted into the Church of God, and to the Hopes of eternal mort in the same Manner, as we should regard the Preaching Gospel to Brute Creatures. They could not bear the 'Thought, G entiles, any barbarcus Natio:is, îleuld, only by Faith, have
frient chefe Sentine Gospel to the Apoould no
an equal Interest in God, and the Blesings of his Covenant with themfelves. They did not, indeed, deny the Pollibility of their being taken into the Church, and of obtaining Salvation: But it must be only by their becoming Jews; they must first submit to the Law, and yield 1
Obedience to its Precepts and Obligations, before they could be the . qualified Objects of God's Mercy. There was no Grace, no Part in the Kingdom of God, either here or hereafter, for a Gentile, unless he first became a Jew, and performed the Works of the Mosaical Law. By these Sentiments, they were led to do all they could to oppose the preaching of the Gospel to the Gentiles; and commenced very bitter 4 Enemies to Paul, who was the Apostle particularly selected, and come miffioned for that Purpose. They could not allow the Gentiles to have any Access to the Privileges of God's Church and People, but through the Door of the Law; and to introduce them any other Way, was not only to overthrow their Law and Peculiarity, but to deceive the Gentiles. Therefore they did all in their power to withstand the Apostle, and to persuade the Gentiles every where, that he was an odious Imposter; that his Gospel was a Forgery, deltitute of a Divine Authority; that he proposed admitting them into the Church and Covenant of God in a Way, which had no Foundation in the declared Will of God. Their Law was the only Divine Establishment, and Obedience to it the only Means to introduce them into the Kingdom of God; and Paul could have no Commission from Heaven to teach otherwise; whatever he might pretend, or what Miracles over he might work. Of this Sort of Jews the Apostle speaks, Ther. 1. 14, 15, 16.
304. (2.) Other Jews there were, who believed the Gospel, and agreed that it ought to be preached to the Gentiles : But fo, that the Gentiles, at the sane Time they accepted the Gospel, were obliged to submit to the Law of Mofes in every Part; otherwise, they coull not be saved, or have any Interest in the Kingdom and Covenant of God, Aas xv. 1. These taught, that the Gospel was insufficient without the Law. They differed from the forementioned Jews, in that they embraced the Faith of Jesus Christ : But agreed with them in this, That the Law of Moses was to be in Force for ever, and the Observance of all its Rituals absolutely necessary to a Standing in the Church of God, and the Hopes of eternal Life. And for this Reason, they were upon pretty good Terms with the unbelieving Jews; and avoided the Persecution, to which those, who adhered to the pure and unmixed Gospel, were exposed, Gal. vi. 12. Thefe Jews, who were for joining Law and Gospel together, were also great Enemies to our Apostle. He speaks of them, Pluil. iii. 2, 3, &c.
and Gorpoled, Gal. vi. who alhered",
Uvatien: Brink fubmi to it'
CH A P. XV. uns, bere was
The Difference between the Epistle to the Romans, and that to the Galatians. th, 1902. In the Epistle to the Romulls the Apostle combats the unbelieving Jews, se who totally opposed the Gospel. A Sketch of his Arguments. In what ucpcr Circumstances he confiders Mankind. uns 305. T HE latter fort of Jews, who were for joining law and vila
gospel together, the Apostle opposes in the whole epistle nel to the Galatians; the former fort, who totally rejected the gospel in Elem the whole epistle to the Romans. For when he faith, Rom. iii. 29, C" Is God the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles ?”
it is evident he opposes mere Jews to mere Gentiles. And, Chap. x. **1, " My prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved;" he
speaks of the same Ifrael, or body of Jews, against whom he is arguing in the whole epistle. But it appears from this place, that those Jews were not saved, or, were not taken into the Chriitian church and profession; consequently, they must be Infidel Jews.-But it is a different fort of Jews, it is the believing Jews, he opposes in the epistle to the Galatians. For in the instances he produces to thew, what his own sentiments were, with regard to the subject upon which he writes, he appeals to his transactions with believing Jews; and, particularly, to his withstanding the apostle Peter, Chap. ii. And, Chap. vi. 12, he tells them, they who laboured to pervert them, did it only “left they should uffer persecution for the cross of Christ.” Which could be true of those ews alone, who professed faith in Christ. In the epistle to the Romans, e opposes the gospel to Judaism; the whole gospel to whole Judaism:
that to the Galatians, he opposes his gospel to another gospel, Chap, 6, 7, 8; the true, pure gospel to a perverted, adulterated gospel. In e Romans, he affures the Gentile converts they had a fair and rear standing in the church; in the Galatians, he teaches Gentile verts to keep themselves free from Jewish dependence upon works aw and Mofaical ceremonies, now they were received into the Ech. All his arguments relating to the rejection of the Jews, the calling of the Gentiles, in the ninth chapter to the Romans, uotations, Chap. X. 19, 20, 21, and Chap. xv. 9- 12, evidently
that he is, in that epistle, defending the cause of the converted iles, against the infidel, rejected Jews. Indeed he touches upon pute between the Christian Jews and Christian Gentiles in the end 15th chapters. But there he doth not consider the believe ews as imposing the ceremonial law upon the Gentiles : but his nd design is, to persuade the Gentile converts to bear with the efs of the Jews, and to persuade both to a friendly coalition. · I make any doubt, but he intended his arguments against the Tews, in favour of the converted Gentiles, should have their pon the believing Jews in the church at Rome, to convince Еe 3
Pon the favour of but he