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"And certainly, the inconclusiveness of such a method of arguing needs no illustration.

But to give a specimen or two of the amazing absurdities, which this long and laboured attack on Peter contains." The conduct of Peter, says " the Author, was so inconsistent with divine in« Auence, that some have wondered why Christ " made choice of him to be the foundation of “ his Church, and invested him with the keys of “ the kingdom of Heaven, as it appears he pro« mised to do*. This was indeed a glorious com“ miffion, a very important trust.-Yet Peter, " the unsteady, irresolute, and fearful Peter,

gave up this commission, betrayed this impor

tant trust; and in a short time shamefully denied “ his Master, &c. 7

That is, in reality, Peter by denying his Malter gave up the commission in question some time before Jesus (who said only I will give thee, &c.'I) had actually conferred it upon him; and betrayed this important trust some time before he had it to betray.-What excuse can possibly be alleged for such extravagance of misrepresentation as this ? And for the particular, which he says some have wondered at, it may not be useless just to submit it to his thoughts; without presuming to dive too far into the counsels of the Almighty; that the more unsteady, irresolute, and' fearful the conduct of Peter was, while Jesus was yet on earth; the more manifestly did his steadiness and fortitude prove the certainty of his being inspired, when at length he became employed in preaching the Gospel.

“ What could do greater discredit to the Gofpel System, says the writer, than the denying its

+ P. 323

I See the place,

* Matth. xvi. !9. Matth. xvi.

19.

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c Author? What could injure the Character of " CHRIST more than the manner in which Peter " denied him $?--Again, if ever the gift of in

spiration was necessary, if ever the Divine Spirit “ exerted its influence, to correct the errors, and “ restrain the vices of the Apostles;” (with what amiable candour the Author mentions the Apoftles !) “we may imagine it would have been done

in this extraordinary instance of St. Peter ; when the whole credit of the Gospel System appeared " to be at stake 1l." And again, “How mean an

opinion must those have of Christ, and his religion, who heard one of his Apostles say of him, I know not the man? How could they suppose Jesus to be any thing more than a mere

Man, when one of his Disciples spoke of him in is " to contemptuous a manner t?”

To go one step further, the Author adds “ This conduct of Peter must at that time have a “ natural tendency to prevent the spreading of “ Christ's religion ; and to make it appear to the Jews a Stumbling block, and to the Greeks foolisi

ness

In the name of common sense, what could the Author here mean by-the Gospel System ; and the whole credit of the Gospel System's lying at ftake; and the religion of Christ's appearing a fumbling block to the Jews, and to the Greeks foolishness? At the time when Peter denied Jesus, neither Peter, nor any of the Apostles, nor any person upon earth, except Jesus himself, had any distinct or just idea, or apprehension of the Gospel System; so that instead of its credit's lying at stake on Peter's answer, it had, at that time, no credit, nor could well be said to have any existence in the world.

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*

S.P. 326.

| P. 329.

+ P. 331.

* Ibid.

And

And as to any effect, which Peter's Deniál could have on the Character of Jesus; evident it is, that this supposition is equally abfurd; since, in the first place, Peter was only suspected, not certainly known to be his Disciple : and in the next, the perfons before whom Peter denied him, that is, the foldiers and servants in the High Prieft's hall, could draw no other conclusion from this Denial, even if they had disbelieved him, than that he denied his Master for fear of being brought to punishment on his account.

To imagine that the soldiers and servants in the High Priests hall, when Jesus was brought there as a malefactor, should go about to form their opinions of the real Character of Jesus; and especially to determine whether he was a mere Man, or not; and above all, to determine this from the single circumstance, That one whom they suspected of having been his Disciple was afraid to own it, if he really had been so, at so dangerous a time to fuppose this, is so very extravagant an imagina, tion, that it must give a benevolent man pain, to find any one capable of advancing it.

Whatever notion the soldiers and servants at the High Priest's had of Jesus, it must have been formed, either on what they had heard and seen of his blameless life and doctrines, and his miraculous and benevolent works; or from those

prejudices they might naturally entertain against him, on account of his having been apprehended by the authority of the Sanhedrim, and brought there as a malefactor. And to no one but Them was the question they put to Peter, or his answer, moft probably known; till the Apostles themselves, after they began to preach the Gospel, related what had happened to Peter, and the manner in which Jesus had foretold iti And then, unquestionably fo

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remarkable an inftance of Jesus's prophetic knowledge could not but greatly contribute to the establisment of his Divine Character, and the spreading of 'that Gospel, which he came purpofely to preach.

SECT. XII.

The Author's Attempt to invalidate the Inspira

tion of St. Paul, founded on the ist Epistle to the Corinthians, Chap. vii.- Acts xvii. 22, &C-2 Tim. iii. 16, &c. confidered..

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ROM the attempt just considered to set aside.

the Divine Authority of Peter, the Author proceeds, as might naturally be expected, to make a fimilar attack upon Paul; and through him upon all the Apostles concerned in the Books of the New Testament.

"To make it appear, says he, that the Apostles ૮

were not always under the influence of Divine

Inspiration, even in what they preached, and “ what they wrote, let us produce the incontes“ table evidence of St. Paul himfelf. In i Cor. “ vii. 6. he candidly owns, that he was sometimes

permitted to speak his own sentiments, and " that what he delivered was not always by the « command of God. The verse runs thus:-But

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* As the Author has been pleased to affert, " That Priests * to this day claim a share in the promise made to Peter, of “ the keys of the kingdom of heaven ; and endeavour to prove

an uninterrupted succession of authority and power, from " this highly favoured Apostle ;" (p: 323.) It seems necessary to remind him, of what he cannot but know, though he has chosen to appear ignorant of it ; That Protestant Priests claim do authority or power from St. Peter, more than from any other Apostle ; and that for the truth of what they teach as the Religion of CHRIST, they appeal to the revealed word of God, and to Thar alone. 5

I speak I speak this by permißion, and not of commandment. “-And ver. 10, he fays, -- And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord; Let not the wife depart from her husband. In ver. 12, he says,

-But to the rest Speak I, not the Lord, &t. And ver. 25.---Now concerning Virgins I have no commandment from the Lord; yet I give my judgment as one that batb obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful..

Upon these passages the Author immediately observes; “ Whether any other of the Apostles “ were permitted to write their own sentiments “ in matters relative to their miniftry, and were not candid enough to own it, I cannot determine: " but this instance of St. Paul's is alone sufficient “ to prove, beyond contradiction, that God did

not effectually restrain all the writers of the New Testament from sometimes blending their own “ opinions, and doctrines, with those of Divine “ Authority *."

Of the Author's doubt whether the other Apostles were candid enough to own when they wrote their own sentiments, I shall only fay, that it is doubting whether God took care, that those whom he sent forth with an extraordinary commission to teach mankind, (for so commissioned, however inconsistently with other parts of his work, he here supposes the Apostles to have been;) should not execute their commission in such a manner as to defeat the design of it.

Whether he is sincerely of opinion, that the passages in question will justify the conclusion he draws from thein, is more than I can determine : but sure I am, that he entirely misrepresents the sense and meaning of St. Paul, and that the con

• P. 333, 334

clusion

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