صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

how dared they to kill a Jew among the Jews, without bringing him to their tribunals?'

Which is an argument of no moment. For I presume, that neither had a Jew by birth a right to assassinate a man without any trial. And, generally, such things must have been disliked. But a proselyte might attempt it as well as another. And considering how unpopular a person Paul now was, the killing him might be passed by, and overlooked, or even approved of, by whomsoever it was done. Proselytes were as likely as any men to be bigoted in their sentiments, and to practise violence against those who differed from them. What sort of men most of the proselytes of that time were, may be concluded from what our Lord said to the pharisees without reserve. Matt. xxiii. 15. But there were some of a better temper, who believed in Jesus after his resurrection, and joined themselves to his apostles, when the profession of his name must have exposed them to difficulties.

[ocr errors]

To me it seems, that there is great propriety in St. Luke's style, calling the Jews, who were of the seed of Israel, Hebrews, and proselytes, Hellenists, Grecians, or perhaps Hellenes, Greeks, from their origin. For I have sometimes been much inclined to think that to be the true reading in this text, as well as in the rest. And Dr. Ward says, p. 155, That the word Enviorai, Hellenists, is used only by St. Luke in this book, and is not perhaps to be found in any other writer so ancient.' Indeed, I believe, it is not to be found in Josephus. And the uncommonness of the word may cause a suspicion, that it is the invention of some christian; though it is ancient. For, in this text, it is in the Alexandrian manuscript. And the word may be seen in Chrysostom.

Any, who are pleased to consider all that was before said, concerning the word Hebrew, are able to judge whether there is not some special propriety in St. Luke's style, according to this interpretation. A Hebrew, denoting a Jew by ancient descent, must be fitly opposed to Grecians, or Greeks, thereby understanding proselytes, who were Jews, by religion only, and not by birth.

The opinion, for which I argue, has been espoused by many learned men, as P Beza, Basnage, and Pearson.

In Act. Ap. hom. 14, p. 111. tom. ix.

P In Act. 1.

Ann. 35. p. vii.

Hic autem 'EXAnvisa opponuntur 'Eßpatos-Neque enim Hebræi, neque Judæi erant, hoc est, genere: non Hebræi ex Hebræis-Sed Judæi

Which last has asserted it with great strength, and neatness, in a few words. Insomuch, that it may be thought somewhat strange, that this opinion has not been generally received without farther dispute. I have enlarged, being desirous to establish and illustrate it to the best of my



PAGE 159. Diss. xxxviii. The term Holy Ghost, in the 'New Testament, denotes both a person and a power.'

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

P. 159, That it often denotes a power, cannot be questioned, as where the apostles and other christians at that time, are said to be filled with the Holy Ghost. But that

it signifies also a person, seems evident from the following passages among others.'

That Dissertation concludes in this manner, p. 161, ' We 'meet with xapioμa Oes, "the gift of God," Roni. vi. 23, and xapioua Xplore," the gift of Christ," 2 Tim. i. 6, according to some copies; though others have it Oce," the gift of God," as it is in our version. And agreeably to all • analogy χαρισματα 'Αγιο Πνεύματος must signify " the gifts of the Holy Spirit," in a personal sense: since that word is 'never used otherwise, but of persons in the New Testa'ment, where the donor is mentioned.'


But for this last our author refers not to any text, as he does for the two former; because, I suppose, he found not any such text in the New Testament. Nor do I know Gel "..



This observation therefore is unsupported by proper authority, and is what one would not have expected in so accurate a writer as Dr. Ward. I think we ought here to recollect, that these Dissertations are posthumous.

But I have no intention to enter into an argument upon this subject. There was an anonymous tract published not long ago, where it is treated more distinctly, to which I refer.

tantum religione, id est, proselyti. Hi igitur proselyti, cum, antequam circumciderentur, 'EXŋveç, sive Gentiles fuerint, etsi jam religione facti Judæi, et totius legis impletionem in se suscipientes, tamen a Judæis seu Hebræis, stirpe et genere ab Abrahamo deducto superbientibus, inferiori loco habebanUnde neglectus viduarum, et ex eo neglectu murmur, seu yoyyvoμos TWV 'EMŋvisov. Pearson, Lec. 3. in Act. Apost. num. v.


* See the First Postscript to a letter written in 1730, p. 116.


PAGE 174. Diss. xlii.
Acts xv. was directed.

To whom the apostolic decree, And whether it was perpetual.' As this chapter will be of considerable length, I shall divide it into the following sections.

I. An introduction.

II. The Noachic precepts, with observations upon them. III. To whom the apostolic decree was directed; and that there was but one sort of Jewish proselytes.

IV. General observations, showing the occasion and design of the apostolic decree.

V. The several articles of the decree explained.

VI. Observations, in the manner of corollaries.

I. INTRODUCtion. Before I make any remarks upon this article, I would observe, that a good while ago, in the chapter of St. Cyprian, I carefully considered the various readings of this decree, as it stands in the book of the Acts of the Apostles, ch. xv. 20, 29, and xxi. 25. The result of which was, that the readings in our present copies of it, in the New Testament, are right. It was a long discussion. But I do not repent the labour of it. It has formerly, and does still afford satisfaction.

[ocr errors]



Says our learned author, p. 174, The decree is directed Tois adexpois e§ ε0vwv, that is, as seems most probable, to all 'the heathen converts in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia, who 'were not proselytes of the gate, before they embraced christianity. For the Jewish proselytes were always obliged to regard the things therein mentioned, as they 'were all contained in the precepts given to Noah. And 'therefore we do not find in Åcts x. that Peter laid any such 'injunctions upon Cornelius, and his company.'

Dr. Ward, as seems to me, useth those words, " proselytes of the gate, and Jewish proselytes," very improperly. But of that more hereafter.


It may be proper to observe here, that the author of Miscellanea Sacra has advanced an opinion, not known before, that the decree of the council of Jerusalem was directed to such converts to christianity only, as were" proselytes of the gate," and were, before their conversion to christianity, obliged to observe the several regulations contained in this decree. Which opinion has been embraced by several. a Vol. iii. p. 22-35. b See Miscell. Sacra. Essay iv. However, see also Hammond upon Acts xv. 29.

Dr. Ward does not differ much from them. He thinks that such things, as were before required of "proselytes of the gate," were, in the decree, enjoined upon all converts to christianity, in the countries above mentioned. But, he says, there was no need of giving such injunctions to Cornelius, he having before observed the like things, as a "proselyte of the gate," living in Judea.

Upon this scheme, I now make no remarks. I put down these things here at present, only by way of explication of our author's sentiment.

II. THE NOACHIC PRECEPTS. Dr. W. in the words just cited, speaks of the precepts given to Noah. And at p. 177, says, That the several things contained in the apos'tolic decree, are all included in the Noachic precepts.'

I therefore shall now show, what are called the seven precepts of Noah, or the sons of Noah, taking my account from Ainsworth, where I believe they are rightly represented. Which is more than can be said of some others, who talk much of them.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


Says that exact and diligent writer, in his Annotations upon Gen. ix. 4, " But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat." The Hebrew doctors 'make this the seventh commandment given to the sons of 'Noah, which all nations were bound to keep, as there had 'been six from Adam's time. The first against idolatry, 'the worship of stars, images, &c. the second against blaspheming the name of God; the third against shedding of blood; the fourth against unjust carnal copulations, ' whereof they made six sorts: 1. with a man's own mother: 2. or with a father's wife: 3. or with his neighbour's wife: 4. or with his sister by the mother's side: 5. or with man'kind: 6. or with beasts. The fifth precept was against 'rapine, or robbery. The sixth to have judgment, or punishment for malefactors. And unto Noah was added the seventh, which is here mentioned. Which they under'stand to forbid the eating of any member, or of the flesh ' of a beast, taken from it alive. Whosoever in the world 'transgressed any of these seven commandments wilfully, 'the Jews held, he was to be killed with the sword. But 'the heathen, who would yield to obey these seven precepts, though they received not circumcision, nor observed the other ordinances given afterwards to Israel, they were 'suffered to dwell as strangers among the Israelites, and to 'dwell in their land.'

[ocr errors]

See Hammond, as before referred to.

Upon all which I beg leave to make the several following observations.

First. Fornication is not mentioned among the several kinds of unjust carnal copulation. This omission has been observed by Grotius. The reason of it, I do not stay to inquire.

Secondly. Every thing, here mentioned, is of a moral nature, even the seventh precept, as well as the rest. For it condemns cruelty. It is not, to forbear eating blood, but to eat the member, or the flesh of a beast taken from it alive. Which is great cruelty, and even barbarity.

Thirdly. This whole article, as seems to me, is a Jewish way of representing the law of nature, by which all men are obliged. For sons of Adam, and sons of Noah, comprehend the whole world. By the law of nature all are obliged. Jews and christians, who are under a particular law of revelation, are not exempted from this law, and its several obligations: but are as much subject to it as other men.

[ocr errors]

Fourthly. As this scheme is the scheme of Jewish masters only, it need not to be received without examination. Rabbinical and Thalmudical writers may be of use. But they are not infallible. Indeed, I had rather learn Jewish antiquities from the scriptures, and such other Jewish writers as lived before our Saviour's coming, or were contemporary with Christ and his apostles, than from later Jewish authors. Fifthly. These precepts deliver a wrong interpretation of Gen. ix. 4, the command given to Noah, relating to food. They represented it to forbid the eating of any member, or of any flesh of a beast taken from it alive; which is a wrong account, as must be apparent to all. The words are: "But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat." Or, as in Lev. xvii. 14, “ Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh. For the life of all flesh is the blood thereof." And see Deut. xii. 23. And this law, as delivered to Noah, was understood by Josephus to forbid the eating



Inter præcepta Adamo et Noæ data, Judæi non ponunt interdictum scortandi. Grot. in Act. xv. 20.


'Excepto quod carnem cum sanguine non comedetis.'] Hebræi recentiores, et, ut credo, christianorum odio, sentiunt vetari hic esum membri rapti de animali vivo--At certe vetustiores Hebræorum non ita interpretatos satis docet Josephus, qui ait, χωρις αιματος εν τετῳ γαρ ετιν ἡ ψυχη. Quem sensum iisdem prope verbis hic expressit Rabbi Sardias, et quidem sequuntur non ignobiles Hebræorum magistri. Gro. ad Gen. ix. 4.

-Ita interpretatur et Josephus, Ant. 1. i. cap. 3.

-At posteriores Rabbini inter præcepta Noacho data, quæ ad totum genus humanum pertinere ab iis putantur, hoc recensent, sensumque esse volunt, membrum animalis viventis non esse comedendum '

-Sed hæc

« السابقةمتابعة »