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TO THE AUTHORS OF THE LIBRARY, &c.
I HOPE you will find room in your Magazine for some critical observations upon the Scriptures. I send you the following, which you are at liberty to make such use of as you please.
2 Cor. v. 14, "For the love of Christ constraineth us, because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead." I think it should be rendered, "then should all die."
That this is the sense, appears from the connection in the next verse: I therefore shall briefly paraphrase both the
"For the love of Christ constraineth us, we judging this, that if," or, forasmuch as, 66 one died for all:" then without all doubt, "all should die," to sin, and the world: " and that he died for all, that they which live, should not henceforth live unto themselves," seeking only their own gratification, "but " rather should live to him," to the glory, and according to the will and the commandments of him, who died for them, and rose again.'
This interpretation is much confirmed by divers other texts, which may be reckoned parallel, particularly Rom. vi. 1, 11; xiv. 7, 8; 1 Pet. iv. 2.
Isaiah lxiii. 1-6," Who is this, that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah ?"
The proper and primary meaning of this passage of scripture, seems to be to this purpose. The prophet in a vision, or ecstasy, foresees some great deliverance of the Jewish nation from their enemies, particularly the Edomites; and, being fully persuaded of the event, he addresseth the deliverer, as if seeing him coming from the defeat of the enemy. "Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah?" the capital city of the Edomites: "this, that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength?" Approaching toward me, like
• First published in the LIBRARY, (a periodical Work printed in 1761 and 1762,) for May 1761.
A Letter to the Authors of the Library.
a mighty and glorious conqueror in triumph? “I, that speak in righteousness." It is I, whom you have seen in vision, who speak the truth, and am concerned for true religion: "mighty to save," who labour for the welfare of my people, and expose myself to the greatest dangers for their safety. "Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the wine-fat?" Tell me, then, says the prophet, whence this redness of blood upon thine apparel, so that thy garments look like those of one that treadeth in the wine-fat? The deliverer answers: 66 I have trodden the wine-press alone, and of the people there was none with me:" I have performed this difficult work almost alone, few of my own people joining with me, and without the concurring assistance of neighbouring nations, our allies around us. "For I will tread them," or, for I have trodden them, " in my anger and I will trample," or, I have trampled, " them in my fury; and their blood shall be," or, has been, "sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain," or, have stained," all my raiment. For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and the day of my redeemed," or, of redeeming my people, " was come. And I looked, and there was none to help." I looked round, and well considered the matter; but none of our neighbours were willing to help us, nor were many of my own people ready to join with me, " and I wondered, that there was none to uphold;" this appeared to me very strange, and even astonishing; nevertheless I was not discouraged: "therefore my own arm brought salvation unto me, and my fury," or, zeal for religion, and for the welfare of my people, "it upheld me," and carried me through all the dangers and difficulties of this arduous service. You see the reason therefore, and you need not wonder at it, that I "am red in my apparel, and that my garments are like him that treadeth in the wine-fat."
That appears to be the most proper and critical, or at least the primary sense of this text; however, by some, it is also applied to Christ, and the church. They say, the reason of mentioning Edom is, that it is usual for the prophets to denote the enemies of the church in general, by the name of some country, or people, which has been remarkable for its hatred of the Jewish nation; and that here the prophet seems to take a hint from some remarkable calamity, that had befallen the Edomites, to describe some more general judgment, that should be inflicted upon the enemies of God's church and people.
Be it so still this passage of scripture has no relation to
the sufferings of Christ, but to some deliverance of God's people in ancient or later times, out of the hands of their unrighteous enemies and oppressors.
And we may perceive, that these words in ver. 5, "I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered, that there was none to uphold, therefore my own arm brought salvation unto me, and my fury, it upheld me:" do not point to Christ's transactions on this earth. These words may be allusively applied to that great salvation, which is the work of God and Christ alone, but no otherwise; and allusions, even where no more is intended, are dangerous; for texts, often alleged in the way of allusion, and separate from the connection, are apt to gain a sense in our minds, which is not the true meaning of them.
Your readers, if they think fit, may compare this with the same paragraph of the prophet Isaiah, as versified in the Protestant Magazine for April, p. 40.
TO THE INGENIOUS AUTHOR OF THE
UPON 1 COR. xv. 32, IN THE LAST MAGAZINE, p. 315.a
YOU have touched upon a difficult text; permit me also to propose some observations upon it. You think it probable,
that the scene of danger here referred to, is that mentioned Acts xix. 30, 31.' But I rather think, that the first epistle to the Corinthians was written and sent away, before the tumult caused by Demetrius. St. Luke there informs us, ver. 22, "So he sent into Macedonia two of them that ministered unto him, Timothy and Erastus. But he himself stayed in Asia for a season." Then at ver. 23, "And the same time there arose no small stir about that way," &c. Says Lightfoot, vol. I. p. 299, Between ver. 22 and 23, of 'this nineteenth chapter of the Acts, falleth in the time of St. Paul's writing the first epistle to the Corinthians:' which I take to be very right. You have Dr. Ward with 101 First published in the LIBRARY for October 1761.
you, at p. 200, where he says: It is most reasonable, therefore, to understand the expression as metaphorical, and that he refers to the tumult raised by Demetrius.' But turn over the leaf, and look to p. 199, there you may see him saying, After the affair of Demetrius, he immediately left the city, and went into Macedonia.' This decides the point. The epistle was written before the tumult, not after it; and therefore cannot refer to it.
I understand the expression, "fighting with beasts," literally; I do not love to depart from the proper meaning of a word, unless there be a necessity for so doing.
Nevertheless I do not suppose that St. Paul ever fought with beasts. St. Luke is entirely silent about it: nor is it mentioned by himself in the catalogue of his dangers and sufferings, 2 Cor. xi. 23-33. Moreover,' as Dr. Ward well observes, had St. Paul been thus engaged, it is difficult to apprehend how he could have escaped, without a 'miracle.'
To proceed. I am of opinion that St. Paul refers not here to any particular event, or occurrence of his life; it is only a supposition made, an affecting case put by him, to enforce his arguments in behalf of a resurrection, and a life
Let us observe the context. Ver. 19," If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most miserable." Ver. 20, " But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept." Ver. 30, "And why stand we in jeopardy every hour?" Ver. 31, "I protest by our rejoicing, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily." I exert myself to the utmost, and am 'continually exposed to the greatest dangers; all which I 'acquiesce in, and even am joyful; hoping for a resurrec'tion, and to be for ever with Christ. Without that ex'pectation, all such laborious and hazardous services would be unreasonable, and unprofitable.' Ver. 32, If, according to a cruel custom which obtains among men, I had, for the sake of the gospel, been condemned in this city to 'fight with beasts, and had been miserably torn to pieces, and destroyed by them; would it have been of any advan"tage to me? None at all. All such fortitude and alacrity in serving the interests of religion, and with a view to pro'mote the general good of men, would have been quite lost, and fruitless. "If the dead rise not," if there be no life after this, we might be disposed to adopt that profane "saying, "Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die." 'But, my brethren, far be it that any of us should embrace
'such sentiments, or act upon them, ver. 33, " be not de'ceived," &c.'
I allow of your pointing. My version is little different from yours, and agrees also with that of Dr. Gerdes, professor of divinity at Groningen, who has lately published a critical commentary upon this whole chapter. It is thus: "Quod si secundum hominem etiam cum bestiis decertassem Ephesi, quid inde ad me lucri? Si mortui non resurgent, 'edamus et bibamus. Cras enim moriemur.' A.
AN INQUIRY INTO THE TRUTH OF THE
I. THE truth of this history depends entirely upon the second book of the Maccabecs. Dr. Prideaux has given a large and judicious account of both those books. Conn. year before Christ 166, p. 185, &c. The first,' he says,
which is a very accurate and excellent history, and comes "the nearest to the style and manner of the sacred historical 'writings of any extant, was written originally in the Chal'dee language, of the Jerusalem dialect, which was the language spoken in Judea from the return of the Jews thither from the Babylonish captivity.' The second book of the Maccabees, he says, was written by an Egyptian Jew, probably of Alexandria. But he says, 'it does by no means equal the accurateness and excellence of the first.' And he observes, that it consists of several pieces compiled to'gether, by what author is uncertain. It begins with two
epistles sent from the Jews of Jerusalem, to the Jews of Alexandria and Egypt. Both these epistles seem to be spurious, wherever the compiler of this book picked them up.'
HISTORY OF THE SEVEN BROTHERS,
SAID TO HAVE SUFFERED MARTYRDOM IN THE TIME OF
After these two epistles, which end at the eighteenth verse of the second chapter, the author proposes to write of things, 'as declared by Jason of Cyrene, in five books, which he
• First published in the LIBRARY for February 1762.