Imágenes de páginas

" that these things are not yet come to pass; and “ it is as plain, that all those who foretold, that “ they would be fulfilled long ago, were not, at “ least at that time, under the infuence of divine “ inspiration t.”

The passages which the Author has referred to, as proofs of this charge, are-i Cor. x. II. ---Rom. xiii. 11. 12.--Heb. ix. 26.--James v. 7, 8.-1 John ii. 18.-2 Peter iii. II, 13. — But though he has referred to these places at the bottom of the page, as so many predictions of the Authors of thele books, that Christ's coming to judge the world was an event which they at that time expected very speedily to take place, he has not actually produced the passages themselves; or entered into consideration of any one of them; or urged any reason, or any authority, but his own bare affertion, to prove it. But to thew at once the falsehood of this groundless accufation, I shall produce the passages themselves; when it will plainly appear, that only one of them can relate to the final coming of Christ to judge the world, and that That one, so interpreted, afsigns no period whatever for the arrival of that event.

In the first of them $ St. Paul, after enumerating several judgments which the Israelites brought upon themselves ja by their idolatry and rebellions in the wilderness; in order to deter the Corinthians from frequenting the idol feasts ; immediately adds, Now all these things are written for our ad monition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. -And it is an agreed point, among all those who are at all qualified to pass any judgment upon the matter, that the words of the original which are here rendered the ends of the world; should be translated the ends of the ages; i. e. the concluding age ; That in which all the several ages of this world will end ; the Gospel Dispensation. So that here the phrase fignifies, the abolition of the Jewish, and establishment of the Christian Dispensation.

he can serve the cause of infidelity. Here we see him pofitively asserting, that " Jesus was mistaken," in delivering that Prophecy (Matth. xvi. 28.) which we have just been considering and this assertion necessarily supposes, that JESUS really did deliver the Prophecy itself, and that it was nos falsely attributed to him by the Apostles. But in the very fentence immediately before this, (p: 317, 318) he asserts, that it is by far most likely to be the case, that Jesus himself did not in reality say, what is there attributed to him. Whence comes it to pass, that those who are so fond of contradicting the Scriptures, are so perpetually contradicting themselves ? + P. 318. f 1 Cor. x. 11.


In the next passage the Author has alleged St. Paul exhorts the Romans to the practice of all the duties of true benevolence, by telling them ;And this we should do, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of feep; for now is our Salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand ; let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour (rather the dress) of light *. - The meaning of which appears plainly to be no other than this, That as they were now farther advanced in life, and consequently had less time to live, than when they first embraced the faith in Christ; so it was every day more and more incumbent upon them to fulfil the duties of their Christian Profeffion. • The passage of James which the Author has referred to is as follows : -- Be patient therefore brethren unto the coming of the Lord. Behold the bufbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and bath long patience for it, until he receive the early and the letter rain. Be ye alfo patient; stablish your bearts, for the coming of the Lord draweth night.

* Rom xii. an. 12.

James v. 7. 8.


And here the Apostle is exhorting his Christian Brethren to bear the persecutions they then suffered from the Jews with steadiness and resolution ; from this consideration more especially ; that the coming of the Lord (That Coming which we have als ready to fully enquired into,) to put an end to the Jewish Polity, and free them by that means from their Jewish persecutors, was just at hand, when he wrote this epiftle. · The passage of John called into question is Little children, it is the last time : and as ye have heard that Antichrist shall come, even now are there many Antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time *, To which nothing more can be necessary to be faid, than that it is so immediate and express a reference to our Saviour's Predictions of the Signs that would forerun the destruction of Jerusalem, and the overthrow of the Jewish state I; several of which were actually taking place, and this of the Appearance of Antichrifts among the rest, at the very time, when Yobn wrote this epistle; that the passage will not admit of being applied to any other event.

The last of those places to which the Author has referred is as follows:

Seeing then that all these things (the heavens and the earth) shall be disfolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be, in all boly conversation and godliness ? (12) Looking for and basting unto the coming of the day of God; wherein the beavens being on fire, shall be disolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat." (13) Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. (14) Wherefore beloved brethren, seeing that ye look after such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace without spot and blameless to Now

grant : 1 John ii. 18.

Matth. xxiv: 5, 11, 24.
4 2 Pet. nii, 11-14


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ing that St. Peter is here speaking of the final judgment of the world, what he has said cannot afford room for the Author's objection founded upon it. Though we should grant St. Peter here meant to exhort them to prepare for the day of judgment; because they knew certainly that there would be such a day; he here lays not a fyllable to imply, that the day of judgment would arrive, while that generation was still living ; not a syllable relative to the time when it would arrive. He only alleges the certainty, not the time of its coming, as a fufficient reason; and surely a sufficient one it was; for their diligence and care in preaching the duties of their Christian Profession.

Not one of these passages therefore to which the Author has referred, as so many self evident instances of false predictions delivered by the Apostles, concerning the time of the final judgment of the world, can afford the least real ground for such a charge; as even the mere repetition of the passages themselves is almost sufficient to shew. However, for his further satisfaction with regard to the true meaning of the places he has referred to; and to convince him, that the Apostles both knew and taught, that the final judgment of the world was not an event then near at hand ; let him, if he has concern enough for the truth to be inclined to do it, consult Hammond, Whitby, Locke, Lightfoot, Benson, and Taylor, upon the passages in ques ftion; and besides, let him consider particularly the passages referred to in the note *. And till he shall attempt at least to shew, that what these

* Hammond on A&ts ii. 17.--Lightfoot's Sermon on Pet. iii. 13. Vol. II. p. 1074. and on James v. 9. p. 1117.-Hammond on Matth. xxiv. 3, 6. and on chap. xxviii. 20.-on 2 Pet. i.. 16. and on Heb. 8. 2;. And Lightfoot on Luke xii. 20. -And Benson on James v. 7, 8.-and on 2 Pet. iij. 11. &c. and especially on 1 Theff. iv: 15.-And likewise Mede, po 652, 655, and 663, 665. on the last times.


[ocr errors]

admirable expositors have so well proved is all delusion :and mistake, which I will venture to suppose neither he, nor any one for him, will be very ready to atteinpt; I shall lay it down, as an established truth, that the interpretation which the Author would fain put upon these passages of the New Testament, is utterly groundless and unwarrantable, and his charge built upon it, against the divine inspiration of the Apostles, absolutely false.



The Author's Argument founded on what passed

between St. PETER and St. PAUL at Antioch,
NOTHËR of the Author's attacks is found-

ed on what happened between the Apostles Peter and Paul at Antioch: St. Paul's Relation of it is as follows.

When Peter was come to Antioch I withstood him to the face (i. e. openly) because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, be did eat tvith the Gentiles; but when they were come, he withdrew, and separated himself ; fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jetes dissembled likewife with him, insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. But when I saw, that they walked not uprightly, according to the truth of the Gospel; I said unto Peter before them all ; - If thou, being a few, livest in the manner of the Gentiles, and not as do che Jews; why compelleft * thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews ? &c. t.

* That is why INDUCEST thou the Gentiles, by thy example misunderstood? + Gal. ii. 11, &c. M


« AnteriorContinuar »