Изображения страниц

fate, Mark 16. 16; Luke 12. 46; Heb. 3. 19; 4. 1; Rev. 19. 20; 20. 10; 21. 8.

[ocr errors]

(145.) Of Conscience,-common to all men, Pr. 20. 27; Rom. 2. 14, 15;—a weak one to be respected, Rom. 14. 2; 1 Cor. 8. 12;-the happiness of a good one, Job 27. 6; Pr. 14. 14; 28. 1; 29. 6; Rom. 14. 22; 2 Cor. 1. 12; Gal. 6. 4; 1 Tim. 1. 19; 23. 1; 24. 16; 1 Cor. 4. 4; 2 Tim. 1. 3; an evil one, Gen. 42. 21; 2 Sam. 24. 10; Ps. 38. 3; 40. 12; Pr. 14. 14; 18. 14; 28. 1; 29.6; Matt. 27. 3; Acts 24. 25; Tit. 1. 15. *

1 John 3. 19, 21; Acts Heb. 13. 18;-the terror of

(146.) Of Temptations,—whence they arise, Jam. 1. 13;-to be guarded against, Matt. 6. 13; 26. 41; Eph. 6. 10, &c.; 1 Pet. 5. 9.*

(147.) Of the Tempting of God-censured, Ex. 17. 2, 7; Deut. 6. 16; Ps. 78. 19; 95. 9; Is. 7. 12; Matt. 4. 7; 1 Cor. 10. 9.*

(148.) Of Company,-bad, to be avoided, Ps. 1. 1; 26. 4; Pr. 1. 10; 2. 12; 4. 14, 15; 12. 11; 13. 20; 14. 7; 19. 27; 22. 24; 28. 7, 19; 29. 24; Rom. 1. 32; 1 Cor. 5. 9; 15. 33; 2 Cor. 6. 14; Eph. 5.7;— may be necessary, and do good, Matt. 9. 10; 11. 19; Mark 2. 15; Luke 15. 2; 1 Cor. 5. 10; 1 Thess. 5. 14;-of the virtuous, beneficial, Pr. 13. 20.*

(149.) Of Example,—good, to be followed, Luke 10. 37; John 8. 39; 1 Cor. 4. 16; 11. 1; Phil. 3. 17; 4. 9; 1 Thess. 1. 7; 2 Thess. 3. 9; Heb. 6. 12; James 5. 10;-evil, to be avoided, 1 Cor. 10. 6; 2 Pet. 2. 6; Jude 7;-of Christ, Matt. 11. 29; John 13. 15, 34; Rom. 15. 5; Phil. 2. 5; Heb. 3. 1; 12. 2; 1 Pet. 2. 21; 1 John 2. 6.*

5. From the harmony of the Sacred Writers. Of this the doctrines and precepts exhibited under the preceding head will furnish ample confirmation, especially if the parallel passages of the several texts referred to be consulted. It will, therefore, only be necessary here to state a few evidences of their agreement, derived from the undesigned coincidences discoverable in the writings of the Apostles, and to reconcile any apparent discrepancies that occur.

Of undesigned coincidences, the following may be taken as a sample; and for a further elucidation of this subject, the reader is referred to the excellent work of Dr. Paley, entitled Hora Paulinæ.

Acts xxvii. 20. "For this cause therefore have I called for you, to see you, and to speak with you: because that for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain." That is, the chain with which he was bound to the soldier that kept him,' (ver. 16); a mode of custody which Dr. Lardner has shewn was in use among the Romans. It is in exact conformity, therefore, with the truth of St. Paul's situation at this time, that he declares himself to be an ambassador in a chain,' ev aλvou, (Eph. vi.

20); and the exactness is the more remarkable, as advoɩg, a chain, is no where used in the singular number to express any other kind of custody.* Rom. xv. 19.-"Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ." Illyricum, or Illyria, was a country of Europe, lying N. and N. W. of Macedonia, on the eastern coast of the Adriatic gulf, opposite Italy. It was distinguished into two parts: Liburnia north, now Croatia; and Dalmatia south, still retaining the same name. The account of St. Paul's second visit to the peninsula of Greece, (Acts xx. 1,) says Dr. Paley, leads us to suppose, that, in going over Macedonia, he had passed so far west, as to come into those parts of the country which were contiguous to Illyricum, if he did not enter Illyricum itself. The history and the Epistle therefore so far agree; and the agreement is much strengthened by a coincidence of time; for much before the time when this epistle was written, he could not have said so, as his route, in his former journey, confined him to the eastern side of the peninsula, a considerable distance from Illyricum.*

Rom. xvi. 3. "Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my helpers in Christ Jesus." Had the notes of time in this epistle fixed the writing of it to any date prior to St. Paul's first residence at Corinth, the salutation of Aquila and Priscilla would have contradicted the history, because it would have been prior to his acquaintance with these persons. If they had fixed it during that residence at Corinth, during his journey to Jerusalem, or during his progress through Asia Minor, an equal contradiction would have been incurred, because, during all that time, they were either with St. Paul, or abiding at Ephesus. Lastly, had they fixed this epistle to be either contemporary with the first epistle to the Corinthians, or prior to it, a similar contradiction would have ensued, for they were then with St. Paul. As it is, all things are consistent.*

2 Cor. viii. 19. "And not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us with this grace, which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind." By "this grace" is meant the charitable contributions for the saints in Judæa; respecting which Dr. Paley has some excellent remarks. There is, he observes, a circumstance of nicety in the agreement between the two epistles, which, I am convinced, the author of a forgery would not have hit upon, or which, if he had hit upon it, he would have set forth with more clearness. The Second Epistle speaks of the Corinthians as having begun this eleemosynary business a year before, (ver. 10, ch. ix. 2.) It appears, however, from other texts in the epistle, that the contribution was not yet collected, or paid; for brethren were sent from St. Paul, to Corinth, 'to make up their bounty, (ch. ix. 5.) They are urged to perform the doing of it,' (ver. 11,) and every man was exhorted to give as he purposed in his heart,' (ch. ix. 7.) The contribution, therefore, was in readiness,

• Comprehensive Bible, Note in loco.

yet not received from the contributors; was begun, was forward long before, yet not hitherto collected. Now this representation agrees with one, and only with one, supposition, namely, that every man had laid by in store, had already provided a fund, from which he was afterwards to contribute the very case which the First Epistle authorises us to suppose to have existed; for in that epistle, St. Paul had charged the Corinthians, 'upon the first day of the week, every one of them, to lay by in store, as God had prospered him,' (1 Cor. xvi. 2.) *

2 Cor. xiii. 1. "This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established." Here an apparently considerable chronological difficulty occurs, the Apostle mentioning his design of visiting Corinth a third time; whereas only one visit before the date of this epistle is noticed in the Acts, (ch. xviii. 1.) This difficulty is thus solved by Dr. Paley, with his usual judgment and ability: At length, however, he observes, it occurred to my thoughts to inquire, whether the passage did necessarily imply that St. Paul had been at Corinth twice, or whether, when he says, 'This is the third time I am coming to you,' he might mean only that this was the third time that he was ready, that he was prepared, that he intended to set out on his journey to Corinth. I recollected that he had once before this purposed to visit Corinth, and had been disappointed in this purpose; which disappointment forms the subject of much apology and protestation in the first and second chapters of the epistle. Now, if the journey in which he had been disappointed was reckoned by him one of the times in which 'he was coming to them,' then the present would be the third time, i. e. of his being ready and prepared to come; although he had been actually at Corinth only once before. This conjecture being taken up, a farther examination of the passage and the Epistle, produced proofs which placed it beyond doubt. 'This is the third time I am coming to you.' In the verse following these words he adds, I told you before, and foretell you, as if I were present the second time; and being absent, now I write to them which heretofore have sinned, and to all other, that, if I come again, I will not spare.' In this verse the Apostle is declaring beforehand what he would do in his intended visit: his expression, therefore, as if I were present the second time,' relates to that visit. But, if his future visit would only make him present among them a second time, it follows that he had been already there but once. Again, in the fifteenth verse of the first chapter, he tells them, 'In this confidence I was minded to come unto you before, that ye might have a second benefit.' Why a second, and not a third benefit? why δευτέραν and not τρίτην χάριν, if the τρίτον ἔρχομαι, in the thirteenth chapter, meant a third visit? for, though the visit in the first chapter be that visit in which he was disappointed, yet, as it is evident from the epistle, that he had never been at Corinth from the time of the disappointment to the time of writing the epistle, it follows, that if it were only a

second visit in which he was disappointed then, it could only be a visit which he proposed now. But the text, which I think is decisive of the question, if any question remain upon the subject, is the fourteenth verse of the twelfth chapter- Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you—Ἰδοὺ, τρίτον ἑτοίμως ἔχω ἐλθεῖν πρὸς ὑμᾶς. It is very clear that the τρίτον ἑτοίμως ἔχω ἐλθεῖν of the twelfth chapter, and the τρίτου τοῦτο Epxopal of the thirteenth chapter, are equivalent expressions, were intended to convey the same meaning, and to relate to the same journey. The comparison of these phrases gives us St. Paul's own explanation of his own words; and it is that very explanation which we are contending for, viz. that rpírov Tovтo Exxoμai does not mean that he was coming a third time, but that this was the third time he was in readiness to come, тρíτоv ἑτοίμως ἔχω. Upon the whole, the matter is sufficiently certain; nor do I propose it as a new interpretation of the text which contains the difficulty, for the same was given by Grotius long ago, but I thought it the clearest way of explaining the subject, to describe the manner in which the difficulty, the solution, and the proofs of that solution, successively presented themselves to my inquiries. Now, in historical researches, a reconciled inconsistency becomes a positive argument. First, because an impostor generally guards against the appearance of inconsistency; and secondly, because when apparent inconsistencies are found, it is seldom that any thing else but truth renders them capable of reconciliation. The existence of the difficulty proves the want or absence of that caution, which usually accompanies the consciousness of fraud; and the solution proves, that it is not the collusion of fortuitous propositions which we have to deal with, but that a thread of truth winds through the whole, which preserves every circumstance in its place.*

Apparent discrepancies between the sacred writers are of various kinds, arising from various causes, and have been arranged under different classes, according to their several circumstances. As, however, it is doubtful under which class some of the instances should be placed, or to ascertain precisely from what cause the apparent contradiction arose, it will be preferable upon the whole to detail them in the order of Scripture, leaving the reader to decide upon their nature.

Gen. xxxvi. 31. "And these are the kings that reigned in the land of Edom, before there reigned any king over the children of Israel." As there was no king in Israel in the time of Moses, this has been adduced as a proof of his not being the author of the book of Genesis. But Moses probably alludes to the promise which God made to Jacob (ch. xxxv. 11,) that kings should proceed from him; and here states that these kings reigned before that prophecy began to be fulfilled.†

Exod. vi. 3. "And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known unto them." If Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob did not know the

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

name JEHOVAH, then Moses must have used it in Genesis by prolepsis or anticipation. But probably we should, with Mr. Locke and others, read it interrogatively, for the negative particle x, lo, not, has frequently this power in Hebrew: "I appeared unto Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob by the name of God Almighty, and by my name JEHOVAH was I not also made known unto them?'+

Exod. xii. 40. "Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years." The Samaritan Pentateuch,

ומושב בני ישראל ואבותם : in all its manuscripts and printed copies, reads -Now the sojourn * אשר ישבו בארץ כנען ובארץ מצרים שלשים שנה וארבע מאות שנה:

ing of the children of Israel, and of their fathers in the land of Canaan and in the land of Egypt was 430 years.' The Alexandrine copy of the Septuagint has the same reading; and the same statement is made by the Apostle Paul, in Gal. iii. 17, who reckons from the promise made to Abraham to the giving of the law. That these three witnesses have the truth, the chronology itself proves; for it is evident that the descendants of Israel did not dwell 430 years in Egypt; while it was equally evident that the period from Abraham's entry into Canaan to the Exodus is exactly that number. Thus from Abraham's entrance into the promised land to the birth of Isaac was twenty-five years; Isaac was sixty at the birth of Jacob; Jacob was 130 at his going into Egypt; where he and his children continued 215 years more; making in the whole 430 years. See Kennicott's Dissertation on the Hebrew Text.†

Num. iv. 39. "All that were numbered of the Levites, which Moses and Aaron numbered at the commandment of the Lord, throughout their families, all the males from a month old and upward were twenty and two thousand." This total does not agree with the particulars; for the Gershonites were 7500, the Kohathites, 8600, and the Merarites, 6200, which make a total of 22,300. Several methods of solving this difficulty have been proposed by learned men. Houbigant supposes there is an error in the enumeration of the Kohathites in ver. 28; the numeral ww, shesh, 'six,' being written instead of ww, shalosh, three,' before hundred. Dr. Kennicott's mode of reconciling the discrepancy, however, is the most simple. He supposes that an error has crept into the number of the Gershonites in ver. 22, where instead of 7500, we should read 7200, as caph final, which stands for 500, might have been easily mistaken for resh, 200. (Dr. Kennicott on the Hebrew Text, vol. ii. p. 212.) Either of these modes will equally reconcile the difference.*

Num. viii. 24. "This is it that belongeth unto the Levites: from twenty and five years old and upward they shall go in to wait upon the service of the tabernacle of the congregation:" In ch. 4. 3, the Levites are appointed to the service of the tabernacle at the age of thirty years; and in chap. 23, 24, they are ordered to commence their work at twenty years of age. In order to reconcile this apparent discrepancy, it is to be observed, 1. At the

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »