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life for them that sin not ἁμαρτάνουσι μη προς πανα τον. Εςιν ἁμαρτια προς Savatov® ου περι εκεινης λεγω ένα ερωτηση.
unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not
say that he shall pray for it.
will raise him up, and so, although he hath committed sins, they shall be forgiven him; that is, although he hath committed sins which have occasioned him to be punished with a mortal disease, he shall be delivered from that punishment. In calling a miraculous recovery from a mortal disease which had been inflicted as the punishment of sins, the forgiving of sins, James hath followed his Master, who called the recovery of the sick of the palsy, the forgiving of his sins, Matt. ix. 2. 5. In like manner the Psalmist represents the bealing of all his diseases, as the forgiving of all his iniquities.
4. For those who sin not unto death. Here the relative ros, is plural, notwithstanding the antecedent adexpov, is singular. But the number of the relative is changed, to shew that the promise was not restricted to any particular person who had not sinned unto death, but extended to all of that description. See Ess. iv. 22.—For an account of the sin not unto death, See note 1. on ver. 16.
In this 16th verse the apostle, according to the Bible translation, directed any one who saw his brother sinning a sin not unto death, to ask life for him from God, at the very time he was sinning that sin; and assured him that God would at his request grant life to such a sinner. But this is evidently a great impropriety; which however will be removed by translating the clause in the past time, agreeably to the import of the word agravoF TO considered as the participle, not of the present but of the imperfect of the indicative, thus; If any one see his brother bath sinned a sin not unto death, iet him ask God, &c. According to this translation, the prayer for life to the sinner was to be made, not while he was sinning, but after he had sinned, and had repented.—I have no doubt that the translation ought to run in the past time. Yet I have not ventured to make the alteration in the new - translation.
It is now time to inform the unlearned reader, that on this 16th verse of the vth chapter of John's First Epistle, taken in conjunction with the parallel passage transcribed from the epistle of James, note 1. the Papists have built what they call the sacrament of extreme unction, which the priests of their communion dispense to dying persons, by anointing them with consecrated oil, accompanied with a prayer for the pardon of their sins, and with an authoritative declaration importing that their sins are completely pardoned. But, to shew that that rite is no sacrament, and that it by no means produceth the excellent effects attributed to it by the Papists, I submit the following arguments to the intelligent reader's consideration.
1. If the anointing with oil prescribed by James, and the prayer of the elder which accompanied that anointing, be a sacrament to which the
sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death." I do not say concerning it, that he should ask.6
punished with bodily death, because he hath repented, or is in a disposition to repent, let him pray to God, and he will grant, at his request, recovery to those who have not sinned to death. There is a sin which will be punished with death because the sinner is impenitent: I do not say concerning it, that the spiritual man shot id ask God to recover such a person by miracle.
graces of pardon and salvation are really annexed, it ought not to be confined to the sick and dying, but agreeably to the nature of a sacrament, all who profess to believe the gospel have a right to partake of it. Nevertheless, by the apostolic injunction, it is appointed only for the sick; and by the practice of the Papists, it is ministered only to such of the sick as are at the point of death. Wherefore, since those who are in health are precluded from this rite, and multitudes of them die without being in a condition to receive it, it cannot be a sacrament instituted for conferring pardon and salvation on those who die in a sick bed, since those who are cut off in health are, by the apostle's injunction, excluded from these great graces : But it must have been appointed for some such purpose as that which hath been already explained.
2. This pretended sacrament being built on the passages of scripture mentioned ver. 16. note 1. it should be dispensed as directed in these passages; and being so dispensed, it should be followed with the effects there described; that is to say, it should be dispensed only to the sick, and the sick immediately on receiving it ought to have their sins pardoned, without any regard to their character and temper of mind at the time. The reason is, to the forgiving of the sins of the sick, nothing is required in the above mentioned passages, but that they be anointed with oil in the name of the Lord, and that the elder pray over them the prayer of faith; that is, pray in the full assurance that their sins shall be forgiven them.-If the Papists reply, that to the forgiveness of the sick person's sins, his repentance is necessary, the answer is, That in so far as the pardon of sin dependeth on the repentance of the sick, the prayer of the elder and his authoritative declaration of pardon, have no influence in procuring for the sick that grace. Perhaps we shall be told, that anointing and prayer being expressly required, they are equally necessary to the pardon of the sick sinner as rerepentance, both being implied conditions. Be it so. But in that case, no person, who hath the sacrament of extreme unction in his power and neglects it, can be saved. This, however, it is to be presumed, no charitable Papist will venture to affirm.
3. If the elder's anointing the sick with oil, and his praying over them the prayer of faith, be a sacrament, the person to whom it is dispensed, must not only receive the eternal pardon of all his sins, but he must also be immediately raised up to health by the Lord; for that grace is as expressly promised, James v. 15. to follow the anointing of the sick with oil and the praying over him, as the forgiveness of the sins which he hath committed-To avoid this consequence, the Papists affirm, that the raising up of the sick to health is conditional, depending on its being expedient for the glory of God, and for the good of the sick person himself. But to this it is answered, as before, That to the raising up of the sick nothing is required but anointing and prayer.-Granting, however, for argument's sake, that expediency as well as repentance, is tacitly implied as the condition on which the sick are to be raised up to health, the Papists ought to shew how it hath come to pass, that, of the multitudes to whom their sacrament of unction and prayer hath been dispensed in their dying moments, so few have been raised up to health by the Lord. Hath this happened, because hitherto the Lord hath not seen it expedient to raise up many of them to health, notwithstanding that grace is as expressly promised to follow the anointing of the sick, and the elder's prayer for their recovery, as the forgiveness of their sins? Or, hath this happened, because of those, to whom their sacrament of extreme unction hath been dispensed, few have been sincere penitents? I suppose the Papists will affirm neither of these, as they would be a great dishonour to their church. And therefore, till they produce some satisfactory reason for God's not raising up the sick, now as anciently, according to his promise, after they have been anointed and prayed for by the priest, we must believe that these rites are not a sacrament to which the graces of pardon and salvation are annexed.
The foregoing three arguments demonstrate, that the anointing of the sick with oil and the praying for their recovery, were not appointed as a permanent office in the church, which every priest may perform, and every professing Christian who is sick may demand, as the effectual means of procuring the plenary pardon of his sins.-These rights were peculiar to the first age, being appointed, not for procuring an eternal pardon of sins to the sick, but a miraculous recovery from some mortal disease which had been inflicted on them as the temporal punishment of their sins. And no person could minister these rites with efficacy, except those who had the . gift of healing diseases miraculously. The directions therefore which the
17 All unrighteousness is sin. 1 (Kal, 205.) But there is a sin not unto death.
18 We know that whoever hath been begotten of God doth not sin, (ana, 78.) because HE who is be
17 Every unrighteous action is sin, and merits death; but there are sins which, because they are not committed presumptuously, nor continued in, will not be punished with temporal death.
18 We know that whoever hath been begotten of God, (chap. ii. 29. note.) doth not sin habitually, (chap. ii. 6. note 1.) because he who is be
apostles have given concerning these rites, were not intended for the instruction of the ministers of religion in every age, but merely to teach those who in the first age were endowed with the gift of healing diseases miraculously, in what cases and for what ends they were to exercise that gift. See the preceding note 2.
Here a saying, which Bengelius hath quoted from Whitaker, may be introduced as a fit conclusion of this important controversy. Let them, saith he, anoint with oil who can procure health for the sick, and let those, who cannot, abstain from the vain symbol.
5. There is a sin unto death. 'From the account of the sin not unto death, given in note 1. the reader will easily perceive that the sin unto death, is a sin obstinately continued in, or at least not particularly repented of, the punishment of which is therefore to end in the sinner's death. This the spiritual man knowing, by his not being inwardly moved of the Holy Ghost to pray for his recovery, the apostle in the subsequent clause forbade him, in such a case, to ask it of God.
6. I do not say concerning it, that he should ask. Doddridge, who understands this of our praying for repentance and pardon in behalf of obstinate sinners, thinks the apostle's meaning is, I do not say, that he should pray with a full assurance of being beard. But as there is neither precept nor example in scripture, authorizing us to pray for pardon to obstinate sinners, the only thing we can pray for in their behalf is, that God would grant them repentance. And if he heareth us in that request, their pardon will follow.On this subject Doddridge's reflection is both pious and benevolent. "Let "us not," saith he, "too soon pronounce the case of a sinner hopeless; but "rather subject ourselves to the trouble of some fruitless attempts to re"claim him, than omit any thing where there may be a possibility of suc❝ceeding."
Ver. 17.-1. All unrighteousness is sin. By unrighteousness, the apostle means, every thing by which our neighbour is injured: and by sin, a violation of the law of God. See chap. iii. 4.-Perhaps by making this observation here, the apostle intended to intimate to the sick sinner, that to render his repentance sincere, restitution must be made to every one whom he hath injured by his unrighteousness in which case his sin, as the apostle adds, will not be unto death.
himself, and that wicked εκ του Θεου, τηρεί ἑαυτον,
one toucheth him not.
19 And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wick
20 And we know that the Son of God is come,
and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true; and we are in him that is
true; even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal
και ὁ πονηρος ουχ άπτεται
Ver. 18.—1. And the wicked one doth not hold him, namely in subjection; for απτειν signifies to hold fast, as well as to touch. Thus John xx. 17. Μη με απτο, Hold me not ; for I do not yet ascend to my Father. Moreover, te touch signifies to hurt. John ix. 19. 2 Sam. xiv. 10. 1 Chron. xvi. 22. and even to destroy, Job i. 11.—The Syriac version of this clause is Malus non appropinquat ei.-The devil is called the evil, or wicked one, by way of eminence, because he entertains the greatest malice towards mankind, and is indefatigable in his endeavours to ruin as many of them as he can.
Ver. 19. 1. We know that we are begotten of God. In the original it is, we know that we are εκ τ8 θεό. But the expression being elliptical must be completed from ver. 18. by supplying γεγεννημενοι, as I have done in the translation. See chap. iii. 12. note 1.
2. But the whole world lieth under the wicked one. Here as in chap. ii. 16. note 1. the world signifies, not the material fabric of the world, but the wicked men of the world. Wherefore, the whole world, denotes all the idolaters, infidels, and wicked men of the world, who having made themselves the subjects of the devil, it may be said of them, that εν τῷ πονηρῷ κείται, they lie under the wicked one; they are under his dominion: just as it is said of believers in the next verse, that they are εν τῳ αληθινῳ, ἐν τῷ υἱῷ, in or under the true God by being under bis Son, See 1 Thess. i. 1. note. The power of the devil in this lower world, and over its inhabitants, is often spoken of in scripture. Thus Ephes. ii. 2. He is called the prince of the power of the air, the spirit which now inwardly worketh in the children of disobedience.-2 Corinth. iv. 4. he is called The God of this world, and is said to blind the minds of the unbelievers.-1 Pet. v. 8. He is called our adversary, and is said to be going about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may swallow up.-Far