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You say, There are no instances in the Old Testament of any persons, who, on account of their faith in God, were 'sawn asunder, or wandered about in sheep-skins, or goat'skins, or were afflicted by other instances of distress or persecution, mentioned in the three verses above mention'ed,' viz. 35, 36, 37.
But I somewhat wonder that you should say so. Is it not the opinion of all interpreters in general, that by the persons who wandered about in sheep-skins, and goatskins," are intended Elijah and Elisha, and other prophets of the Old Testament? And, says Clement of Rome, a companion of St. Paul, in his epistle to the church of Corinth, ch. xvii. Let us be imitators of those who went about in goat-skins and sheep-skins, preaching the coming of Christ; we mean the prophets, Elijah, and Elisha, and Ezekiel, &c. which passage is largely quoted by Clement of Alexandria in the fourth book of his Stromata. And see 1 Kings xix. 13, 19; and 2 Kings ii. 8, 13, 14; in the Greek version, where Elijah's mantle is called a melote.
And Estius and Grotius have referred to persons in the Old Testament, who were instances of all the several sorts of distress and persecution, mentioned in ver. 36 and 37, though they also take notice of other like examples in later times.
Dr. Owen's observation upon ver. 36, which also may be applied elsewhere, is to this purpose: It is of no use to 'fix the particulars here mentioned to certain determinate 'persons. For seeing the apostle has left that undetermined, " so may we do also. Certain it is, that there were in these days believers, who through faith, patiently and victori'ously underwent these things.'
You presently after say, Much less are there any in'stances of persons in these calamitous circumstances to • whom deliverance was offered on sinful conditions, in any of the canonical books of the Old Testament. Nor are
'there any persons mentioned in the said scriptures, to have expressed their hopes of obtaining a better resurrection, ' either in these, or any other circumstances.'
Here, Sir, you should have attended to what Mr. Hallett says, as quoted by me in the Inquiry. But there is no more need to go to the Apocrypha, than to Fox's Book of Martyrs, for instances of men, being tortured, not accepting 'deliverance. There are, confessedly, several instances of this kind in the Old Testament. The apostle, just after, ' particularly points at the persons he means. And these 'refused to accept deliverance upon sinful terms, for that
very end, that they might obtain a blessed resurrection to 'eternal life.'
This appears to me very right. The persons just referred to, and many others, who suffered death in the times of the Old Testament, might have avoided it, if they would have practised sinful compliances; but they refused so to do, in hopes of future recompenses.
Mr. Hallet's observation, so far as I am able to judge, is agreeable to the style of the apostle in this epistle, and particularly in this chapter: thus at ver. 24, " By faith Moses, when he came to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter." Moses did not tell her, nor any one else, that he would no more be called or reckoned her son; but he showed his refusal of that character by his conduct. As St. Stephen says, Acts vii. 23," And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel."Non legitur eam adoptionem Moses verbis respuisse, sed facto satis respuit, quando, relictâ aulâ regiâ, ad fratres suos in afflictione egressus est, nec ad aulæ delicias ultra reversus, ut legitur.' Exod. сар. ii. and
Acts vii. Estius.
In like manner, ver. 14, " For they that say such things, declare plainly, that they seek a country." Ver. 16, " But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly." They declared and manifested this by their conduct, and by some of their words. Nevertheless, they never expressly said, that they sought, or desired, a better, and a heavenly country.
You observe, that the noun Tμяavov, as it stands for an 'instrument of torture, occurs not in any part of the canoni'cal Greek scriptures.' You mean, I think, of the Old Tes tament. I therefore add, Nor is that word in St. Paul. But the word ruμtavicoμai, used by him Heb. xi. 35, is in 1 Sam. xxi. 13, a part of canonical Greek scripture.
You add: Neither is any inflection of the word TourαviCoua, signifying torturing in general, to be found any where, but in this single passage of the epistle to the 'Hebrews.'
On the contrary, Gataker, in his laboured Disposition concerning this noun and verb, expressly says, that the verb is often used in that larger sense. Sed illud adjicere non abs usu fuerit, To аTоTVμπavičeσai, latiori etiam significatu non raro usurpari. Quum enim modus iste tollendi miseros mortales, utpote qui promptus nimis & proclivis esset, frequentius adhiberetur, inde natum est, ut`τvpravi
ζεσθαι και αποτυμπανίζεσθαι dicerentur, qui vi aliqua e medio tollebantur, sive fuste, sive reste, sive ferro, id fierit.' Misc. cap. 46. p. 912. Vid. et Poli Synops. in loc. p. 1375. M.
I shall allege one place where it is so used. It is in the epistle of the churches of Vienne and Lyons concerning their martyrs and confessors. The governor wrote to the ' emperor for directions concerning some who were in pri'son. The emperor directed, that they who still confessed 'Christ should be put to death, [Tes μev añoτvμπavioÕηvai, ut 'confidentes gladio cæderentur, Vales.] and that they who ' renounced the faith should be set at liberty. When therefore the governor had again interrogated them, as 'many as were found to be Roman citizens, he ordered to 'be beheaded, the rest were cast to the wild beasts.'
'The apostle,' you say, or whoever wrote the epistle to the Hebrews, mentions the matter in very general terms, and with no other circumstances, than what might very naturally and probably happen to some martyrs in the 'persecution under Antiochus.'
But the history, to which you suppose the apostle to refer, is unnatural, and improbable, and very unlikely to happen under the persecution of Antiochus, or any other persecution whatever, as was before shown in the Inquiry.
You proceed: And as no critic seems to doubt but the history was extant, when the epistle to the Hebrews was 'written, we may be sure, that whatever the writer of that epistle thought, the Hebrews, to whom he wrote, 'believed an history so honourable to their countrymen.'
But I do not see how we can be sure of that. This history is omitted in the first book of the Maccabees, where it might have been properly inserted, and probably would have been inserted, if it had been true, and generally credited and respected by the Jewish people.
Josephus was contemporary with the apostle, and the Hebrews to whom he wrote. But he did not write till after St. Paul's martyrdom, and after the death of many of the Hebrews to whom he wrote. He has never taken any notice of these martyrs, though he had twice a fair occasion for it. How then can we be sure, that the history of the martyrs, in the second book of Maccabees, was generally believed and respected by the Hebrews?
I do not know when the second book of the Maccabees was published; but Mr. Whiston, who was well acquainted with the writings of Josephus, says, that he never made use
of it. If therefore it was extant in his time, it was very ob→ scure, and in little or no credit. Nor do we at all want it for explaining the epistle to the Hebrews.
Once more, Mr. Hallet, as you observe, affirms, that they who were tortured not accepting deliverance, ver. 35, and they who were stoned, sawn asunder, &c. ver. 37, were the same persons.' Whereas the text assures us, ver. 36, that they were not the same persons, but others.
But here you seem to me, partly, to mistake both St. Paul, and Mr. Hallet. The others are those next mentioned, who did not suffer death. And they are of four sorts. Some were exposed to "mockings, some to scourgings," some to "6 bonds," some to imprisonment." After which such are mentioned as suffered death; of which also, according to our present reading, there are four sorts. " They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword." To these, and others, the apostle may refer. For there were many prophets and other good men, who suffered death among the Jewish people, who might have saved their lives by sinful compliances. See Neb. ix. 26; and 1 Kings xviii. xix. There were, particularly, many such patient and victorious sufferers, in the times of the two prophets, Elijah and Elisha, from whom the "women," mentioned, ver. 35, received their dead raised to life again." After which therefore the apostle adds, most beautifully, and agreeably to the force and elegance, for which this epistle is so remarkable: "And others were put to death, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.'
I have allowed myself to be very minute and particular in my answer to your remarks, considering the uncommonness of the subject; for which reason I hope it will be excused by yourself and others.
Mr. Hallet says, All the commentators agree in sup'posing, that the apostle here refers to the histories in the 'second book of the Maccabees.' But perhaps he there allows more than he needed to do. Wolfius expresses himself in this cold and general manner: There are, who think that there is here a reference to the seven brothers in 'the Maccabees. Ad septem fratres Maccabcos respici, 'sunt, qui existiment.'
St. Chrysostom, in a homily upon part of this chapter, says, 'he thinks the persons here intended are John and James; for ажотνμаvious denotes beheading. They might ' have lived longer; but they who had raised up others to 'life, chose to die, that they might obtain a better resur
'rection.' In Hebr. Hom. 27. tom. XII. p. 248. I do not think this interpretation to be right; for St. Paul refers to such as lived before the coming of Christ. But we hence discern, that Chrysostom did not then think of the Maccabees, or that the apostle referred to them. Theophylact, following Chrysostom, says, they were beheaded,' meaning John, and James the son of Zebedee. But others by that word understand being beaten with clubs.
UPON THE PERSONALITY OF THE SPIRIT,
WRITTEN IN THE YEAR 1762, TO THE REV. MR. CALEB FLEMING.
YOU refer me to John xvi. 13, as a difficult text relating to the Personality of the Spirit. I must refer you to the letter written in 1730, p. 141, 145, and p. 148, 150.-At p. 141, that and other texts are proposed; and in the same place follow explications of those texts sufficient to remove all difficulties.
Christ's promise of the spirit, and all his expressions made use of about it, as recorded in St. John's gospel, are explained in the Acts, where is the history of the accomplishment of all these promises. The fulfilment plainly shows, that by the spirit, to be sent, is meant an effusion of spiritual gifts of power, knowledge, and understanding.
Our Lord himself has explained it thus, John vii. 38, "He that believeth on me, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." There is the plentiful effusion of knowledge, &c. It follows, ver. 39, " But this he spake of the spirit, which they that believe on him should receive; for the Holy Ghost was not yet [given,] because Jesus was not yet glorified." Miraculous gifts are the spirit. That is what Christ promised when he spoke of the spirit. So Mark xvi. 17, 18," And these signs shall follow them that believe. In my name shall they cast out demons; they shall speak with tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they