« הקודםהמשך »
And when they were come in, they went up into an upper J. P.4742. room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and An- V. Æ. 29.
majority of the nation had become infidels. The name and profession of Christianity was renounced by the legislature. Death was declared, by an act of a republican government, to be an eternal sleep. Public worship was abolished. The Churches were converted into a temples of reason," in which atheistical and licentious homilies were substituted for the proscribed service ; and an absurd and ludicrous imitation of the Pagan mythology was exhibited, under the title of the Religion of Reason. In the principal church of every town a tutelary goddess was installed, with a ceremony equally pedantic, frivolous, and profane; and the females selected to personify this new divinity were mostly prostitutes, who received the adorations of the attendant municipal officers, and of the multitudes, whom fear, or force, or motives of gain, had collected together on the occasion. Contempt for religion or decency, became the test of attachment to the government; and the gross infraction of any moral or social duty was deemed a proof of civism, and a victory over prejudice. All distinctions of right and wrong were confounded. The grossest debauchery triumphed. Then proscription followed upon proscription, tragedy followed after tragedy, in almost breathless succes. sion, on the theatre of France; the whole nation seemed to be converted into a horde of assassins. Democracy and atheism, hand in hand, desolated the country, and converted it into one vast field of rapine and of blood. The moral and social ties were unloosed, or rather torn asunder. For a man to accuse his own father was declared to be an act of civism, worthy of a true republican; and to neglect it was pronounced a crime, that should be punished with death. Accordingly women denounced their husbands, and mothers their sons, as bad citizens and traitors. While many women—not of the dress of the common people, nor of infamous reputation, but respectable in char. acter and appearance--seized with savage ferocity between their teeth the mangled limbs of their murdered countrymen. The miseries suffered by that single nation have changed all the histories of the preceding sufferings of mankind into idle tales. The kingdom appeared to be changed into one great prison; the inhabitants converted into felons; and the common doom of man commuted for the violence of the sword and the bayonet, the sucking boat and the guillotine. To contemplative men it seemed, for a season, as if the knell of the whole nation was tolled, and the world summoned to its execution and its funeral. Within the short space of ten years not less than three millions of human beings are supposed to have perished in that single country, by the influence of atheism, and the legislature of infidelity. I well know it will be thought by many, that this part of the sub. ject has been exhausted. But, in one sense, it can never be exhausted. The fearful warnings of that dreadful revolution ought to be indelibly impressed upon society, so long as a Sovereign, or a State, remains in a civilized world.
Thus it appears that man has never yet been able, by the mere light of vature, to attain to a competent knowledge of religious truth. Let us now take a different view of the subject, and endeavour to show, by arguments of another kind, how impossible it is for him to lay any foundation for such knowledge, other than that which is already laid in the revealed will of God.
From a consideration of the powers and faculties of the human understanding, it is demonstrable that it cannot attain to knowledge of any kind without some external communication. It cannot perceive, unless the impression be made on the organs of perception : it cannot form ideas without perceptions : it cannot judge without a comparison of ideas : it cannot form a proposition without This exercise of its judgment: it cannot reason, argue, or syllogise, without this previous formation of propositions to be examined and compared. Such is the procedure of the human understanding in the work of ratiocination : whence it clearly follows that it can, in the first instance, do nothing of itself; that is, it cannot begin its operations till it be supplied with materials to work upon, which materials must come from without: and that the mind, unfurnished with these, is incapable of attaining even to the lowest degree of knowledge.
Without Revelation, therefore, it is certain that man never could have discovered the mind or will of God, or have obtained any knowledge of spiritual things. That he never did attain to it, appears from a fair and impartial statement of the condition of the Heathen world before the preaching of Christianity, and of the condition of barbarous and uncivilized countries at the present moment. That he could never attain to it, is proved, by showing that human reason, unenlightened by Revelation, has no foundation on which to construct a solid system of religion; that all human knowledge is derived from external communications, and conveyed either through the medium of the senses, or immediately by Divine inspiration; that those ideas which are formed in the mind through the medium of the senses can communicate no knowledge of spiritual things ; and that, consequently, for this knowledge he must be indebted wholly to Divine Revelation (8).
(9) Bishop Van Mildert's Boyle Lectures, vol. ii. p. 68. This is one of the most valuable books ever given to the world. See also Dr. Dwight's excellent Discourses on Infidelity.
MATTHIAS APPOINTED TO THE APOSTLESHIP.
J. P. 4742. drew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James
of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and 14
ACTS i. 15 to the end.
If, then, we find, from the very nature of man, as well as from the records of all history, that he has never been able to invent for himself a consistent scheme of religion ; if his human reason is utterly incapable of arriving at any satisfactory conclusions respecting God and his Providence, the nature of the soul, or his own destiny in another state-if all his ideas on these subjects are clearly traceable to Revelation, and as soon as he steps over this boundary he launches at once into the chaos of conjecture and uncertainty; we have the most undoubted evidence in our favour, to prove that Revelation was necessary to man, and that he is unable of himself to discover those interesting and important truths which relate both to his present and future existence; and the decided superiority of Revelation over every other system which the ingenuity or sagacity of man has either invented or proposed, is the hallowed and ratifying seal of its Divine origin. Who then will yet refuse to enter this holy temple of Christianity? who will still reject the religion of Christ, for infidel philosophy and metaphysical uncertainty-for endless and useless theories—for premises without conclusions—death without hope--and a God, without other proofs of his mercy than He has bestowed alike upon the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air!
ON THE APPOINTMENT OP MATTHIAS.
“ From this event many have inferred the right of popular interference in the election of ministers. He indeed must be a superficial reader who draws this conclusion, which an accurate consideration of the history directly invalidates. The election was made under peculiar circumstances, which can never recur; before the platform of the Church was decisively established ; before the apostles had received power from on high; and when their number was confessedly incomplete. If the number of names, which were together about an hundred and twenty, had been designed to comprehend the whole Church of that period, and the women, who followed Christ from Galilee, (and for whose exclusion on this occasion there is no satisfactory reason,) are included in the number, the eleven apostles and the seventy disciples, who would not separate before Pentecost, will form a very considerable part of the congregation. But in the interval between the resurrection and the ascension of our Lord, the Church was so numerous, that above five hundred brethren (1 Cor. xv. 6.) could be collected at one time and place to see Him; and the circumstances of his appearance to his disciples were not such as to afford an opportunity of assembling them for a particular purpose, nor would they at this crisis be forward in declaring themselves; nor is it probable that any of them would return to his home, before the feast, which he came to celebrate at Jerusalem. St. Peter, however, standing up in the midst of the hundred and twenty disciples, that is, of less than a fourth part of the brethren, addressed himself only to the men and brethren, an exclusive salutation of the apostolic college, as some have supposed, but which appears to be an indiscriminate manner of addressing an audience, whether of ministerial persons specifically, of disciples generally, or even of Jews and Heathens. Its precise application must be determined from other relative expressions in the apostle's discourse. Now the repeated use of the pronoun US, (Acts i. 17, 21, 22.) in speaking of Judas, who was numbered with us ; of the men, who have companied with us ; of the Lord Jesus going in and out among us, and of his being taken from us, and of the new candidate's being a witness with us of his resurrection, seems to imply in the speaker a peculiar connexion and identity of office with the persons whom he was addressing; and indeed the allusion to the ascension exclusively confines his meaning to the apostles. It is also worthy of remark, that in the address of the apostles to the multitude of the disciples on the day of Pentecost, this particularity of persons is actually observed; Look YE out seven men, whom WE may appoint over this business, (Acts vi. 3.) Again, the apostle speaks of Judas, as having obtained part of this ministry, of this ministry with which you and I are entrusted, and which in the subjoined prayer is described as the ministry and apostleship, or ministry of the apostleship, (Acts i. 17. 21.) He speaks likewise in a demonstrative manner of certain persons, who were present, (ver. 21.) and out of whom the election was to be made, as distinguished from those whom he was addressing, and who were to make the election; and whom he supposes to be acquainted with the circumstances which rendered it necessary
a Ps. xli. 9.
ples, and said (the number of the names together were about J. P. 4742. 16 an hundred and twenty), Men and brethren, this Scripture
must needs have been fulfilleda, which the Holy Ghost by the Jerusalem.
mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was 17 guide to them that took Jesus. For he was numbered with 18 us, and had obtained part of this ministry. Now this man » Matt. xxvii.
purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling head
long, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed 19 out. (And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem;
insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, 20 that is to say, The field of blood). * For it is written in the
to supply the place of Judas from among those who had been their constant companions from the beginning (Acts i. 22). To be a witness of the resurrection is an expression frequently appropriated in the Scriptures to the apostles, and to them alone ; and to be made a witness of the resurrection with us, is to be raised to the apostolate with us. It may also be supposed, that the electors were possessed of equal authority with St. Peter, and placed the same reliance on their own judgment as on his recommendation; he maintained the necessity of substituting one for Judas ; they nominated two candidates, and left the ultimate choice to the Searcher of hearts; while in the election of the deacons the seven men were required by the apostles, and seven men were accordingly elected. Hence it may be concluded, that the persons whom St. Peter addressed, and who were to elect the candidates, were the apostles themselves. The choice of the electors was however limited ; they were not to elect any new and inexperienced convert, but one of those who had companied with them all the time that the Lord Jesus had gone in and out among them;-a description highly appropriate to the Seventy: and if the application to them be admitted, and if it be maintained, in opposition to the preceding argument, that St. Peter's discourse was addressed to them in connexion with the apostles, the natural conclusion will be, that the Seventy nominated, and the apostles approved ; and Barsabas and Matthias must both be included in the number of the Seventy. But whatever was the capacity of the electors, whether apostles or the Seventy, or both acting in concert, they appointed two; they did not presume to supply the vacancy by the nomination of an individual successor ; they did not before the effusion of the Spirit esteem themselves competent to judge of the respective merits of the candidates, whom they proposed ; they commended their case in earnest prayer to God, and left the matter to his arbitration and decision ; and with this diffidence in their own judgment, and this reference of the whole affair to the Divine pleasure, it is most inconsistent to suppose, that they would appeal to the opinion of an indiscriminate multitude. The election was concluded by lots, and the lot fell upon Matthias, and in devout acquiescence in the Divine preference, without any imposition of hands, which on other occasions was the form of ministerial ordination, he was numbered with the eleven apostles. The inferences from this bistory must be drawn with care and deliberation ; the circumstances of the Church were peculiar: St. Peter's discourse was not addressed indiscriminately to the people; the powers of the electors were limited, and they were exercised in dependence on the Divine will; the persons elected were persons of experience in the service of the Lord; the choice was decided by God, who may have ruled the votes of the electors not less than the fall of the lot. Matthias therefore became an apostle not by the will of man, but of God; he was translated from an inferior condition, which was therefore distinct from the superior one to which he was admitted ; he was numbered with the eleven by virtue of the Divine preference ; and every trace of popular election, and of ministerial ordination is excluded (a).”
Mosheim (6) concludes, from the mode of expression here adopted by St. Luke, that the successor of Judas was not chosen by lot, as is generally supposed, but by the suffrages of the people. St. Luke says, kai žòwkav kdnpous avrūv; but Mosheim thinks, that if the Evangelist wished to say "they cast lots," be would have written kai žßalov klipov, or winpous. But as it is impossible to reason from what the Evangelist ought to have written, rather than from what he has written, we cannot place much coufidence in his remarks, particularly when we consider the manner in which the Jews usually express this idea. Their phrase being (see Levit. xvi. 8.) 5712 jn. which corresponds to the Greek word klñpos, used by the apostle; "they gave, or cast forth the lot.” As the foundation of Mosheim's argument is thus removed, it cannot be necessary to examine his inferences. The correct interpretation of a passage of Scripture destroys a whole legion of errors (c).
* This passage, Acts i. 19. ought to be in a parenthesis, as being spoken by St. Luke. Esse hunc versum pro additamento Lucæ habendum satis dilucide verba ipsa docent." Quorum enim Petrus
(a) Morgan's Platform of the Christian Church, p. 29, &c. (6) Vidal's Translation of Mosheim, note, p. 136, vol. I. (c) See Kuinoel, sect. 2. lib. N. T. Histor. Com. in loc. and Schleusner in voc. adăpos.
MATTHIAS APPOINTED TO THE APOSTLESHIP.
J. P. 4742. book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man
dwell therein: and his * bishoprick let another take*. Where-21
fore of these men which have companied with us all the time a Ps
. cix. 8. that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning 22 or, Chambres from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken
up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. And they appointed two, Joseph called 23 Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they 24 prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, that he 25 may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which. Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias ; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
Apostolis dixisset, Judæ triste fatum omnibus Hierosolymitanis innotuisse ? quam absona fuisset etiam vocis Akeldama, omnibus præsentibus satis notæ, interpretatio! Accedit etiam quod ager ille haud dubio hoc nomen successu demum temporis accepit. Est igitur hic versus parentheseos notâ a reliquis sejungendus. åkeadapà Syr. Chald. 8939 Spa ager cædis. scil. cruentus åypos aipaTOS, Matt. xxvii. 8 (a).
* The word ē navdis (habitation,) in this passage corresponds with the Hebrew 1799, which sig. nifies the house appointed for the shepherd who is commissioned to take charge of the fold. Hence it is rendered in the authorized translation by a secondary meaning: the original sense of the word, however, would have better expressed the idea of the office and authority which Judas had abdi. cated. The first part of the verse is quoted by St. Peter from Ps. Ixii. 26. and in the Alexandrine version we find the same word, γενηθήτω η έπαυλις αυτών ήρημωμένη, και εν τοίς σκηνώμασιν αυτών μη έστω και κατοικών. Ηesychius έπαυλις-μάνδρα βοών, ή οίκημα, ή αυλή, η στρατοπεδία, και η ποιμενική αυλή.
The word & FLOKOTIV, therefore, ought to be so interpreted, as to correspond with the former part of the verse: it implies an office in which the possessor exercises authority and control over those subject to his charge.
ON THE DIVINITY OF CHRIST. That our blessed Redeemer was here addressed in the words “ Thou, Lord, who searchest the heart,” may be inferred from the fact, that St. Peter had used the term “ Lord," (ver. 21, 22.) immediately before this invocation, when he assuredly spoke of the Messiah. In the election of Presbyters afterwards, in the several churches, the apostles commended them" unto the Lord, in whom they had believed,” (Acts xiv. 23.) That Lord was unquestionably Christ. In the Apocalypse, xi. 23. our Saviour expressly and formally assumed the title—“ All the churches shall know, that I am He which searcheth the reins and hearts." Upon this passage of Scripture alone we should be justified in offering up our prayers to Christ, as our God, and our Lord,” as our only Mediator, and our only Saviour.
The divinity of Christ appears to me to rest upon this solid and unchangeable foundation—that the inspired writers seem throughout the whole of their pages to take it for granted. They are only anxious to prove Jesus of Nazareth to be the expected Messiah, which title implies his divinity; and this point being gained, they consider it as a truth which required no additional argument. Whenever the course of their reasoning led them to touch upon the subject of the real nature of the Messiah, their very inspiration seems to be insufficient to clothe in adequate language their exalted ideas of His glory. When they attempt to describe Him, it is in the same words as they use when they speak of the Supreme Being. When they address Jesus the Christ, the Messiah of the Prophets, the same humble adoration is observed as when they worship God the Father Almighty. The truth of this mode of representing the argument will appear from the following very brief statement of the ascriptions of glory which are alike applied to the Father Almighty, and his only Son, our Lord.
The comparison may be illustrated by the following table, given us in a late learned and elaborate work.
(a) Kuinoel Comment. in lib. Hist. N. T. vol. iv. p. 18, See also Pfeiffer Dubia vexata, Cent. 4. on the word Aceldama. Doddridge also, with other critics, places this verse in a parenthesis.
6 See following page.
DESCENT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
J. P. 4742.
§ 3. Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost'.
ACTS ii. 1-14.
To Christ. 1. Ευλογία, , ευλογία. Blessing ; the utterance of gratitude from the uni
verse of holy and happy beings, for all the divine
bestowments. 2. Δόξα, ,
δόξα. . Glory; the manifestation to intelligent beings of
with holiness and efficient power in ordaining,
to the salvation of mankind. 4. Τιμή, ,
τιμή. . Honour; worth, value, dignity, intrinsic excel.
lence, supreme perfection. 5. Δύναμις, , δύναμις. . Power ; ability to effect completely and infallibly
all the purposes of rectitude and wisdom. 6. Ισχύς,
ισχύς. Might; power brought into action. 7. Σωτηρία, , σωτηρία. . Salvation ; deliverance from sin, and all evil, and
bestowment of all possible good. 8. Ευχαριστία. .
Thanksgiving ; the tribute from those who have
received the highest blessings, to the Author of
all their enjoyments. 9.
πλούτος. . Riches; the fulness of all good; the possession of
all the means of making happy. 10.
κράτος. . Dominion; supreme power and goodness tri.
umphing over all enmity and opposition. The seven principal perfections are attributed to each. The eighth, thanksgiving, is given to God, and not to Christ; yet there is evidently nothing in this ascription more peculiarly divine than in the preceding, and the same is applied to Christ, in other words, the most full and expressive that can be conceived. The remaining iwo are attributed to Christ, and not to God; a plain proof that the inspired writer was under no apprehension that be might be dishonouring the Father, while ascribing infinite possessions and supreme empire to the Son.
On comparison with another passage, we find the very same notation of worthiness, or dignity, attached to the Father and to the Saviour; in the one case it is, Worthy art thou, O Lord, to receive the glory and the honour and the power; and in the other, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to re eive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and blessings. - See Smith's Messiah, vol. ii. part ii. p. 565.
6 Eiç TÒV TÓTOV Tòv idcov. If we are right in interpreting the language of the New Testament in the same sense as it was understood by those to whom it was addressed, and no canon of criticism seems more certain, we must adopt the common rendering of this passagem" That he might go to his own place.” It was a common sentiment among the Jews, that “ He that betrayeth an Israelite shall have no part in the world to come." And Lightfoot quotes another similar expression from Baal Turim, in Num. xxiv. 25. “Balaam went to his own place, that is, into hell;" and from Midrash Coheleth, fol. 100. 4. It is not said of the friends of Job, that they, each of them, came from bis own house, or his own city, or his own country, but from his own place, Ounda 15 oranı 1pon, that is, “ from the place provided for them in hell.” The gloss is, “ from his own place," that is, " from hell, appointed for idolaters."
The Alex. MS. reads dikalov, instead of iòlov, which would strengthen this interpretation.
Many passages from the Apostolic Fathers are quoted by Whitby, Benson, and Kuinoel, to prove that this expression was used by them also in this sense. Επεί ούν τέλος τα πράγματα έχει, επίκειται τα δύο, ομού και το θάνατος, και η ζωή, και έκαστος εις τον ίδιον τόπον μέλλει χωρείν, quia igitur res finem habent, incumbent duo simul, mors, et vita, et unusquisque in proprium locum iturus est.-— Ignatius in ep. ad Magnes. c. 5. and Clemens Rom. ep. I. ad Corinth. p. 24. ed. Wottoni.--Polycarp in ep. ad Philip. c. 9.—Epist. Barnab. sect. 19. After such evidence we may agree with Dr. Doddridge, that the interpretation of Hammond, Le Clerc, and Ecumenius, is very unnatural, when they explain it of a successor going into the place of Judas.
7 See following page. 8 See page 12