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Page 202, The only difficulty seems to be,' says our learned author, with regard to Peter's motive for this conduct, which possibly might be this. He had been charged 'before at Jerusalem, on account of his eating with uncir'cumcised Gentiles, and vindicated himself to the satisfac
tion of the assembly, Acts xi. But he had done that in a 'more private manner, which rendered him less obnoxious 'to the zealous Jews.'
There is no reason to say, that was done in a more private manner. It was very public, as appears from the history in the tenth and eleventh chapters of the Acts of the Apostles. Nothing could be done more publicly among christians at that time. When Peter, by divine direction, went from Joppa to Cornelius at Cesarea, he took with him six brethren, who were witnesses to all that was done at the house of Cornelius. There Peter tarried several days. Before he returned to Jerusalem," the apostles and brethren that were in Judea," by whom must be meant the whole church at Jerusalem, or a large part of it, "heard that the Gentiles also had received the word. And when Peter came to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him, saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them. But Peter rehearsed the matter from the beginning, and expounded it by order to them." His discourse there follows at length. And in the council St. Peter speaks of this transaction openly, and as a thing well known to all. Acts xv. 7, " And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them: Men and brethren, ye know, how that God a good while ago made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe."
There is no reason, therefore, to insinuate, that this was done in a more private manner. But learned men, when engaged in an argument, are too apt to advance some things to serve a present purpose. Which should be carefully avoided by sincere inquirers after truth.
Page 203, Afterwards, when Paul and Barnabas went up to Jerusalem about the dispute raised at Antioch concerning the Gentile converts, and Paul took Titus with him; he would not consent that Titus should be circum'cised, though some pretended Jewish converts, who pro
bably crept into the assembly, when that matter was de'bated, insisted upon it. These seem to have been different 'persons from the believing pharisees, who are mentioned
as being at that assembly. But, as they are said to have
'believed, he would not, one would think, have here called them "false brethren," though they joined likewise in 'insisting upon the circumcision of Titus."
By "the false brethren, unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty, which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage,” Gal. ii. 4, Paul means no others than those who began the disturbance at Antioch, of whom it is said, Acts xv. I- "Certain men came down from Judea, who taught the brethren, and said; Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved;" who at ver. 5, are said to be " pharisees that believed."
Nor can I sec, why St. Paul should make any scruple to call them "false brethren," who are so censured by the apostles and elders, and the whole council at Jerusalem, who say of them: "Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain men, which went out from us, have troubled you with words, subverting your souls to whom we gave no such commandment.”
Nor does it appear, that there was any dispute about Titus, in particular, either at Antioch, or at Jerusalem. But Paul, to satisfy the Galatians of his inviolable steadiness upon all occasions, inserts this fact in his narration: that he took Titus with him to Jerusalem, and brought him thence again uncircumcised.
P. 203, 204, But after this, when Paul and Barnabas returned to Antioch, Peter coming thither, for some time 'did eat with the Gentile converts. This conduct of Peter 'could not but make much noise, and give offence to the 'converted Jews, who were yet zealous for their law. Which being heard at Jerusalem, might occasion much ' uneasiness there among that sort of persons. And this
might occasion James to send some persons to Antioch, to 'acquaint Peter with it: who, to avoid the ill consequences, ' which he apprehended would follow from thence, might 'think proper to alter his conduct, and also to induce Barnabas, and other Jews, to do the like.'
In my opinion, all this is abundantly too conjectural. Many things are here said without ground. Why should Peter's eating with Gentiles at Antioch presently make
"And that, because of false brethren," who came down to Antioch, Acts xv. 1," unawares brought in," insinuating themselves into the church ' at Antioch. "Who came in privily to spy out our liberty," from the ob'servance of the Jewish law, which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might
bring us into bondage" to it: they pleading for the necessity of circumcising the Gentiles, and commanding them to keep the law, Acts xv. 5. Whitby
upon Gal. ii. 4. See also Doddridge upon the same place.'
much noise? It was doing no more than might be reasonably expected of him, especially after the decisions of the council at Jerusalem, as Dr. W. allows this to have been, p. 202. Nor is there any reason to believe, that tidings of Peter's eating with Gentiles at Antioch had been brought to Jerusalem. Peter, as it seems, stayed now but a short time only in that city. And the Jews mentioned, Gal. ii. 12, may have come to Antioch upon business, or purely to gratify their curiosity. There is no reason at all to bring in James, and make him either a cause, or an occasion of the alteration of Peter's behaviour. "Before that certain came from James." The meaning of those words is no more than when certain men came down from Jerusalem, where 'James was.' As is allowed by the best interpreters.
Peter was culpable, as is evident. And he was justly and openly reproved by Paul. And Peter acquiesced. But we will not acquiesce. And rather than not make out an apology for him, we attempt to bring in another apostle to be partner in guilt with him; though the history affords not any ground or reason for so doing.
Without any curious researches, and groundless conjectures, Peter's alteration of conduct is easily accounted for from the well-known zeal of the Jewish people in general, and of too many of the Jewish believers. As formerly e said: 'I imagine, that he now first of all went abroad out of Judea into Gentile countries. It is probable, that he 'was desirous to see the christian people at Antioch. But hitherto he had not been much used to converse with Gen'tiles. And when some zealous Jew believers came to An'tioch from Jerusalem, he was alarmed; recollecting, it is 'likely, how some at Jerusalem had contended with him 'after he was come from Cesarea, because "he had eaten 'with men uncircumcised," Acts xi. 1-3, and very well knowing, from long and frequent experience, the prevail'ing temper of the people of his country.'
Quum venirent quidam a Jacobo.'] Id est, ab Hierosolymis, cui ecclesiæ tum præsidebat Jacobus. A Jacobo, id est, ab eo loco ubi erat Jacobus, &c. Grot. ad Gal. ii. 12. A Jacobo.] Id est, Hierosolymis, ubi pedem fixerat Jacobus. Bez. in loc. Vol. vi. chap. xviii. sect. 3.
PAGE 208. Diss. li. What is the meaning of Paul's expression, "You see how large a letter I have written unto 'you with my own hand," Gal. vi. 11.'
This question has been considered by many interpreters, and other learned men. I likewise have had occasion to speak to it. And I think, I have said what is sufficient to show, that our English version is very right.
UPON DR. MACKNIGHT'S
HARMONY OF THE FOUR GOSPELS:
AS FAR AS RELATES TO THE HISTORY OF OUR
IN A LETTER TO THE AUTHOR.
I INTEND to send you some observations upon your Harmony of the Four Gospels, relating to the history of our Saviour's resurrection. They will regard these several sections of your work, sect. 149-156. If my thoughts are somewhat different from yours, I do not know that you have any good reason to be offended. You have made a "New Harmony of the Gospels," after many others, and very different from them in many respects. Another therefore may have a right after you, and may think himself obliged to represent the sense of the evangelists as it appears to him. See Vol. vi. chap. xii. sect. 3.
My observations will relate to the several following articles. 1. The burial of our Saviour. 2. The request of the chief priests and pharisees, to Pilate the governor, to afford them a guard for the security of the sepulchre. 3. A visit to the sepulchre, which you suppose to have been intended and attempted by the women from Galilee, but not perforined by them. 4. The preparing the spices by those women to anoint the body of the Lord Jesus. 5. Their journey to the sepulchre, and the appearances of our Lord to them, and others, after his resurrection.
I. Of the burial of our Saviour,' which is related by all the evangelists, but by St. John more particularly than by any of the rest. Matt. xxvii. 57-61; Mark xv. 42-47; Luke xxiii, 50-56; John xix. 38-42.
But here I do not stay, not intending to make any remarks upon this beside what may offer occasionally, in considering the other articles.
II. The request of the chief priests and pharisees to Pilate the governor, to afford them a guard for the security of the sepulchre.' Which is related by St. Matthew only, ch. xxvii. 62–66.
His words are these. "Now the next day that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and pharisees came together unto Pilate, saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again; command therefore, that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead. So the last error shall be worse. than the first. Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch. Go your way, and make it as sure as you can. So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting
Upon this you say, p. 618, 6 Τη δε επαύριον, ήτις εστι μετα 6 την παρασκευην, "the next day that followed the prepara'tion," that is, after the sun was set. For the Jewish day began then. They took this measure therefore, not "on 'the morrow," in our sense of the word, but in the evening, ⚫ after sun-setting, when the Jewish sabbath was begun, and
when they understood the body was buried. To have delayed it to sun-rising, would have been preposterous, as 'the disciples might have stolen the body away during the preceding night.'
This you say, contrary, as I suppose, to all interpreters and commentators whatever. Says Whitby: "Now the 'next day that followed the preparation," viz. the sabbath