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'could not say that of the other, he makes them equal for 'their religion.' The place is somewhat obscure. But I think, he intends to say, that St. Luke, by calling those men worshippers, makes them equal to the Israelites, in point of religion, because the word worshipper does properly denote one who is proselyted to the Jewish religion; whereas fearing God might be ascribed to other men, who were not so united to the Jewish people.
There is one place in Josephus, where this word is used, which appears to be very remarkable. It is in his account of the plundering the temple at Jerusalem, by Crassus, in the year before Christ 54. Nor ought it to be thought 'strange, says Josephus, that there should be such riches ' in our temple, when all the Jews and worshippers of God 'from every part of the world, from Europe and Asia, had 'been sending presents thither for several ages.'
By worshippers in this place, I think, must be meant proselytes. And worshippers here is a sort of technical word, like that of proselytes, denoting men that had joined themselves to the Jewish people, and were, by religion, though not by birth, Jews. I do not deny that some men who were not proselytes, but downright heathens and idolaters, did sometimes of their own accord, and freely, send presents to the Jewish temple. But here Josephus says, that all worshippers, as well as Jews, sent presents to the temple. We are thereby led to understand proselytes, who were as much obliged to pay respect to the temple as Jews by descent.
This word is found several times in the Acts, and, as seems to me, in its proper sense. I shall consider all those
Acts xiii. 50, "But the Jews stirred up the devout [rather the worshipping] and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts."
These might be called, not improperly, proselytes; though never initiated by any particular rite. Later Jews may say, that women were initiated by baptism. But there is no ground for it in the law of Moses. I think that women were first so honoured and distinguished under the gospel
g —παντων των κατα την οικεμενην Ιεδαίων, και σεβομενων τον Θεον. Ant. 1. 14. vii. 2. » Οι δε Ιεδαίοι παρώτρυναν τας σεβομένας
γυναίκας, και τας ευσχημονας, και τις πρωτες της πόλεως.
The rabbinical accounts of initiating proselytes may be seen in Reland. Antiq. Hebr. P. II. cap. 7. p. 246. and Moses Maimon. Tract. de Proselytis. cap. 1. p. 113, 114, ex. ed. H. Prid. Oxon. 1679.
dispensation. Therefore St. Paul says, that "There is neither male nor female ;- -for ye are all one in Christ Jesus," Gal. iii. 28. And we are assured, that when the people of Samaria " believed Philip, preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized both men and women," Acts viii. 12. And Lydia and her household were baptized, Acts xvi. 15.
I pay no regard to what the later Jewish rabbins say of the method of initiating proselytes, by circumcision, baptism, and sacrifice; who have made void not only the moral, (with which our Lord often chargeth them, as Matt. xv. 19; Mark vii. 1–13; and other places,) but also the ritual part of the law of God. Indeed, they corrupted the Mosaic ritual, by numberless additions before the coming of our Saviour. As appears from the texts of St. Mark just referred to. Nor have they ceased to do the like since.
I think, as before said, that women were first baptized under the evangelical dispensation. I am also of opinion, that our blessed Lord's forerunner first made use of baptism as an initiating ordinance; and therefore he was called the Baptist, O BATTIOTS, Matt. iii. 1; and in many other places. Nor am I singular in this opinion.
Josephus, who makes so long a story about circumcising Izates, does not say, that Helena, his mother, was initiated by any external rite: though she likewise embraced the Jewish religion.
The worshipping women, above mentioned, whom 'Grotius calls proselytes, were unquestionably reckoned to be of the Jewish religion. Josephus, speaking of affairs in the year of Christ sixty-six, says, Them men of Damascus formed a design to make away with all the Jews of that place. But they concealed their design from their wives, who, "excepting a few only, were all devoted to the Jewish religion.'
Acts xvi. 13, 14. At Philippi in Macedonia. "And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made, [or, where an oratory was appointed to be,] and we sat down, and spake unto the women, which resorted thither. And a certain woman, named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us,” σεβόμενη τον Θεόν.
k Antiq. 1. 20. cap. ii.
religiosas.] Proselytas. Nam erant supra, ver. 43. Grot. in loc. Iudaïky Opnokeig. De B. J. 1. 2. xx. 2.
1 Τας σεβόμενας γυναίκας, 4 mulieres et proselyti in eâ urbe, ut audivimus τι Απασας πλην ολίγων υπηγμένας τη And see Vol. i. p. 123.
Acts xvii. 1-4, " And they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews. And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them. And three sabbath-days [successively] reasoned with them out of the scriptures. And some of them," that is, of the Jews, who were so by birth, or Israelites, “believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout [worshipping] Greeks, a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few," Twv τε σεβομενων Ελλήνων πολυ πληθος.
These worshipping Greeks must have been proselytes; for they frequented the synagogue, and were admitted there without scruple. They were among the ordinary stated attendants on the worship there.
It is true, when at Antioch, in Pisidia, it is said, Acts xiii. 42, 44, "And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought, that these words might be preached unto them the next sabbath.And the next sabbath-day came almost the whole city to hear the word of God."
But this was an extraordinary case. And under “almost the whole city" must be comprehended many heathens and idolaters of the place. And from this very context it appears, that none beside Jews and proselytes frequented the synagogue. For it is here said, " When the Jews were gone out the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them." Therefore they were not present at St. Paul's first discourse. It was owing to some general rumour only, that their curiosity had been raised.
St. Luke, in the place just cited from Acts xvii, at the beginning, does not mention St. Paul's preaching at Thessalonica to any besides Jews and worshipping Greeks. Nevertheless the apostle, in his first epistle to the Thessalonians, ch. i. 9, writes to them as "having turned to God from idols, to serve the living God." St. Paul therefore, whilst at Thessalonica, either between the sabbaths above mentioned or afterwards, must have preached to and converted a considerable number of Gentiles. And there "seems good reason to think, that the apostle and his fellowlabourers stayed longer at Thessalonica than three weeks.. For whilst he was there, the Philippians "sent once and again to his necessity," Philip. iv. 16. He also reminds the Thessalonians, that whilst he was with them, he and his companions" laboured night and day, that they might not be chargeable to any of them."
"See Dr. Benson's History of the First Planting the Christian Religion, B. 3. ch. v. sect. 5. p. 99.
Acts xvii. 17. At Athens. "Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met him.” Διελέγετο μεν εν εν τη συναγωγῇ τοις Ιεδαίοις, και τοις σεβομενοις. It should have been rendered, with the Jews, and the worshippers, agreeably to the Latin Vulgate, here, and elsewhere, et colentibus, not religiosis, as in Beza.
These were proselytes; for they frequented the synagogue equally with the Jews; and Paul applied himself equally to them. This, as we learned from the passage of Josephus before quoted, was the proper distinction and denomination of those who by proselytism joined themselves to the people of Israel. They were not of the stock of Israel: but they worshipped with them, in synagogues and at the temple. They paid tribute to the temple, as other Jews did. They might offer sacrifices there, and they kept the passover. In other words, they were in full communion with the people of Israel in religious ordinances. They partook with them in all their religious privileges, and joined with them in all their solemnities. They were therefore very properly called worshippers.
Acts xviii. 1-7," After these things Paul departed from Athens and came to Corinth. And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks. And when Silas and Timothy were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in spirit, and testified to the Jews, that Jesus was the Christ. And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed; he shook his raiment, and said unto them; Your blood be upon your own heads. I am clean. Henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles. And he departed thence, and entered into a certain man's house, named Justus, one that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue."
"Who worshipped God," reßoμEVY TOV OEOV. Justus was a proselyte. He was one of those Greeks whom Paul persuaded, together with the Jews, in the synagogue. And Justus was convinced by what Paul said, and became a christian. That Paul, whilst in the synagogue, preached to Jews only, that is, to men circumcised, Jews by birth or by religion, is apparent from the history, ver. 4, 5, “ And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks. And when Silas and Timothy were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in spirit," and testified to the Jews" that Jesus was the Christ:" That
Disputabat igitur in synagogâ cum Judæis, et colentibus, et in foro, per omnes dies, ad eos qui aderant. Vers. Lat.
is, upon the coming of those two his fellow-labourers, he was encouraged; and also animated with the greatest ar'dour; and once more, and finally," testified to the Jews," 'that Jesus was the expected and promised Messiah.'" But when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them; Your blood be upon your own heads. I am clean. Henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles."
Let this suffice for explaining the word σεβόμενος, 2007shipper.
now intend to take notice of some other Greek words, which in our translation are rendered devout.
Acts x. 1, 2, "There was a certain man in Cesarea, called Cornelius- -a devout man, and one that feared God, with all his house," evσeßns. It should be rendered pious.
Ver. 7, " And when the angel, which spake unto Cornelius, was departed, he called two of his household servants, and a devout soldier, of them that waited upon him continually,” στρατιωτην ευσεβή.
Here again is the same Greek word, which should be translated pious. It denotes not any religious distinction or denomination; but is a personal character. Cornelius is never called a proselyte, nor deßoμevos, a worshipper. And that he and his family and all the company at his house, were Gentiles, and uncircumcised, is manifest, as from other places, so particularly from ch. xi. 1—3.
I shall observe likewise upon another Greek word rendered by us devout, in some places.
Luke ii. 25," And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon. And the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel," Kaι & avoρwπos ουτος δικαιος, και ευλαβης. I should be disposed to render it thus: And he was a righteous and understanding man.' Simeon was righteous, or religious, and also knowing and discreet.
Acts ii. 5, " And there were dwelling at Jerusalem, Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven,"avôpes Evλaßeis. The same word again, and to be understood in the like manner; denoting, that there were then at Jerusalem Jews from all parts, who were the most eminent men of the nation, and most distinguished for their zeal, their understanding, and their outward circumstances and condition. .Ch. viii. 2, "And devout men carried Stephen to his burial,” Συνεκομισαν δε τον Στεφανον ανδρες ευλαβεις. I should like to translate the word in this place 'discreet.' · And discreet men carried forth Stephen, and made great lamen