Page images
PDF
EPUB

66 I say

had said something which would giveoffence, returning to his Jewish brethren in terms of the warmest affection and respect. “the truth in Christ Jesus; I lie not; my “conscience also bearing me witness, in the ' Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness " and continual sorrow in my heart; for I “ could wish that myself were accursed from “ Christ, for my brethren, my kinsmen ac

cording to the flesh, who are Israelites, 10 whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory,

and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;

whose are the fathers; and of whom, as con

cerning the flesh, Christ came." When, in the thirty-first and thirty-second verses of this ninth chapter, he represented to the Jews the error of even the best of their nation, by telling them that “Israel, which “ followed after the law of righteousness, “had not attained to the law of righteous

ness, because they fought it not by faith, “ but as it were by the works of the law, “ for they stumbled at that stumbling-stone," he takes care to annex to this declaration these conciliating expressions : “ Brethren, ту CHAP. III.

these

heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved; for I bear " them record that they have a zeal of God, “ but not according to knowledge.” Lastly, having, ch. x. ver. 20, 21, by the application of a passage in Isaiah insinuated the most ungrateful of all propositions to a Jewish ear, the rejection of the Jewish nation, as God's peculiar people ; he haftens, as it were, to qualify the intelligence of their fall by this interesting expostulation : "I say, then, hath God castaway “ his people (i. e. wholly and entirely)? God forbid; for I also am an Israelite, of * the feed of Abraham, of the tribe of Ben

jamin. God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew :" and follows this thought, throughout the whole of the eleventh chapter, in a series of reflections calculated to soothe the Jewish converts, as well as to procure from their Gentile brethren respect to the Jewish institution. Now all this is perfectly natural. In a real St. Paul writing to real converts, it is what

anxiety

[ocr errors]

anxiety to bring them over to his persuasion would naturally produce; but there is an earnestness and a personality, if I may

fo call it, in the manner which a cold forgery, I apprehend, would neither have conceived nor supported.

[blocks in formation]

THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE CO

RINTHIANS.

No. I.

BEFORE we proceed to compare this

epistle with the history, or with any other epistle, we will employ one number in stating certain remarks applicable to our argument, which arises from a perusal of the epistle itself.

By an expression in the first verse of the seventh chapter,“ now concerning thethings 6 whereof ye wrote unto me,” it appears, that this letter to the Corinthians was written by St. Paul in answer to one which he had received from them; and that the feventh, and some of the following chapters, are taken up in resolving certain doubts, and regulating certain points of order, concerning which the Corinthians had in their letter consulted him. This alone is a circumstance considerably in favour of the authen

up a ficti.

ticity of the epistle : for it must have been a far-fetched contrivance in a forgery, first to have feigned the receipt of a letter from the church of Corinth, which letter does not appear; and then to have drawn tious answer to it, relative to a great variety of doubts and enquiries, purely economical and domestic; and which, though likely enough to have occurred to an infant society, in a situation and under an institution so novel as that of a Christian church then was, it must have

very

much exercised the author's invention, and could have answered no imaginable purpose of forgery, to introduce the mention of at all. Particulars of the kind we refer to, are such as the following: the rule of duty and prudence relativeto entering into marriage, as applicable to virgins, to widows; the case of husbands married to unconverted wives, of wives having unconverted husbands; that case where the unconverted party chooses to separate, where he chooses to continue the union; the effect which their conversion produced upon their prior state, of circumcision, of slavery; the eating of things offered to idols, as it was

« EelmineJätka »