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RefleStions on Ch R I S T'j Enquiry into PeterV Love* 639

IMPROVEMENT.

WHAT if oar .Lori J^/kj G&r//? should put the same Question toSect. 201. us, that he did to Peter, in this remarkable Passage, and should ^v*V thus repeat it again and again? Are there none of us, who should be at ^'__**'' a Loss for an Answer? None of us, to whom he might fay, J know that

you have not the Love of Christ in you? Or are there none of us,

who apprehend, that if we had ourselves been thus pressed, we could, at the very best, only have said, Lord, thou that knowest all Things, knowest that 1 cannot tell, whether T love thee, or not? Blush, and be confounded, Oh my Soul, if thou must reply with such Uncertainty, to a Question of so great Importance, and in a Case where all the Ardor of the Heart might be so justly expected!

But are there not still some of us, who thro' Divine Grace could reply with Pleasure, Lord, thou knowest all Things, thou knowest, that, not- Ver. 17. withstanding all the unallowed and lamented Infirmities of our Lives, we

do indeed love thee? And if we are thus really conscious to ourselves

of such an unfeigned Affection, let it be our daily Joy, that he who implanted this Divine Principle in our Hearts, discerns and sees it there; and knowing all Things, he perfectly knows this, however we may be suspected, however we may be censured.

Let us learn also, by what Method we are to express our Love, ac- Ver' *&• cording to our AbHity and Opportunity; even by feeding his Sheep, and promoting the Interest and Edification of his Church. Let Ministers especially do it; and let them not forget those dear Creatures, the Lambs Ver. 15. of the Flock. Jesus the compaflionate Shepherd, as we fee, did not forget them; but taught his Servants, both by his Precepts, and by his Example, to gather them in their Arms, and carry them in their Bosom.

Happy are they, who, instead of indulging a vain Curiosity in Things, Ven 21. wherein they are not at all, or but very little concerned, are spending their Lives in such faithful Services; fading the Flock of GOD; and taking the Oversight of it, not by Constraint, but willingly; not for filthy Lucre, but of a ready Mind; that when the chief Shepherd jhall appear\ they may receive an unfading Crown of Glory: (1 Pet. v. 2, 4.) A Crown,

which

pag. 630.) But it is plainly said in the Beginning of this- Verse, that it was he who tejiified end wrote these Things; and besides, that we have frequent Instances of the like Change of Numbers, (fee Rom. vii. 14. and 1 The/f. ii. 18.) it is evident from the Words, I suppose, in the next Verse, that only One Person speaks. So that no more appears to be intended here, than if he had said, "We universally allow, that what is testified by a credible Eye"Witness, and aliened by him under his Hand, must be admitted as a valid Testimony, "and pass for unexceptionable Evidence: This is the Cafe here; and therefore regard it; *'• accordingly."

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Jesus appears to Five, hundred Brethren in Galilee:

which will infinitely more than repay, not only their Labours, but their Sufferings too! - ■ -.\ \

Ver. 18. Happy Peter! who having worn out his better Years in the Service of Christ, couragioufly stretched out his aged Arms, to be bound and borne away to Tortures and Death, and shed the last flow Ebb of his Blood as a Martyr for him, who had loved him and given himself for him. And

V. 20,-23. not k^ happy the beloved Disciple, so willing to hazard his Life in the fame Cause j tho' he was not in Fact called to lay it down as a Martyr. Our gracious Lord, who fees every Purpose, and every Affection, as it rises in the Heart, favourably accepts of the willing blind, and will, thro' the Riches of his Grace, entitle them to the Reward of equal Sufferings, who have waited with a like Readiness, tho' they have not been called out to the Severity of the like TriaL .

SECT. ecu.

Christ appears to the whole Body of the Disciples, at the appointed Mountain in Galilee; and afterwards meets the Apostles several Times at Jerusalem, and discourses with them concerning the Affairs of his Kingdom. Mat. XXVIII. 16, to the End. Mark XVI. 15, 18. Luke XXIV.

44, 49- Acts l- —2, 3

1 • » 1

Mat. XXVIII. 16. Mat. XXVIII. 16.

Sect. 202 THEN, quickly after the late Interview that •'THEN the Eleven Difi^v-vJ •* Jesus had with his Disciples at Jerusalem, * cipfa wrat away into

R/Tof.K 7 V.7 r^-r-.i „ • ^ /-» ;•; Galilee, into a Mountain

XXVIII 16 Eleven Disciples went tnto Galilee, to a cer- where jesiis had app^^ "'tain Mountain not far from the Sea of Tiberias, them. where Jesus had appointed to meet them. "And "he appeared to them, and to above Five hun"dred Brethren at once, who came together "from all Parts of the Country on that impor17 "tant Occasion." And they seeing him, bow- »7 £ndw*Jj?° thf.v .sew ed down and worshipped him -, and tho' some of buTsomc'doubted?** im' the Company had doubted at first, yet they were afterwards fully convinced (a). "And the

"greater

(a) Tho' some of the Company had doubted at first, &c] There is no Room to thinJt, that this refers lo some of the Apostles, when Chriji had so lately satisfied the most incredulous among them; nor is it easy to imagine, how any of the rest of this Company could continue to doubt of the Truth of Christ's Resurreftion, when they a£t\a\ly saw him, and that in the

Presence

And after that, is seen of James, and then of all the Apostles. 64,1

"greater Part of them continued alive, as Wit- Sect. 202. "nesses of the Truth of his Resurrection for se- \^Yms^J "veral Years after (b); tho' others of them died Jfevr'n ,„

, _. N' . 1 • 1 •/- 1 AAV1U. 17.

"in a lhort Time, and went to their glorified
"and triumphant Lord in Heaven." See 1 Cor.
xv. 6. Thus did he manifest himself in Galilee
to a considerable Number of his Disciples at once;
"and after that, he appeared to James [c), and
ct then, (as we (hall fee hereafter,) to all the
"Apostles." See 1 Cor. xv. 7.

But tho' he (hewed himself thus openly to his
Disciples, " he did not publickly appear at any
"Time to all the People; nor indeed did he
"(hew himself in any other Instance, to so large
"an Assembly even of his own Disciples: But
"in the several Appearances he made, he chiefly
"conversed with the Apostles, and confined his
"Visits to those Witnesses, that were chosen be-
"fore by God to attest the Truth of his Resur-
,c rection; who had frequent Opportunities of a
"free Conversation with him, and, as we have
"seen before, (Luke xxiv. 30, 42, 43. and John -
"xxi. 12, 13.) did eat and drink with him after
"he rose from the Dead." See Acts x. 41.

Actsi. 2. [And]thro' And at these Times of his conversing with Acts I. 2.

the them (d)y he more particularly opened to them

what

Presence of so many others; a Circumstance, incomparably more convincing to each, than if he had appeared to any one of them alone. I therefore chuse to render and paraphrase the Words, 0/ S~i i£iretoa.v, as above. Those learned Criticks, Albert, (Observ. pag. 163, 164.) and Bos, (Exercit. pag. 13.) have produced many Instances, in which 0/ is put for Tivit- And all the Difficulty is removed, if we allow a small Change in the Tense, and take the Rendering of the Prussian Testament, Even they who had before doubted j or, which is • much the fame, tho' some had doubted.

(b) Several Years after.] It is generally granted, that the First Epistle to the Corinthians was written at least Twenty Years after Christ's Resurrection; and Paul there tells us, that the greater Part of these Five hundred then continued alive. And by the Way, it was a ■wife and gracious Dispensation of Divine Providence to continue their Lives so long, as each of them, wherever Providence led them, would be an authentick Witness of that important Fact, the Rejurredion of our Lord, the great Fundamental of the Christian Faith.

(c) After that, he appeared to James.] It is probable, this was James the Son of Alpheust who was still living when the Apostle Paul wrote his First Epistle to the Corinthians, whereas the other fames, the Son of Zebedee, had suffered Martyrdom some Years before. {Ads xii. 2.) But the Circumstances of this Appearance are no where recorded, nor have we any credible Account, where, or when it happened ; only we learn from the Order in which it is placed by the Apostle Paul, that it was after Christ's Appearance to the Five hundred Brethren. See Note {b) on Luke xxiv. 34. pag. 622.

{d) And at these Times of his conversing with them.] As I have inserted what is

said in the First Epistle to the Qormthians, of our Lord's Appearance to the Five hundred

Vol. II. Mm mm Brethren,

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the Holy Ghost [he gave] Commandments unto the Apostles whom he had chosen:

3 To whom also he shewed himself alive after his Passion, by many infallible Proofs, being seen of them Forty Days, and speaking of the Things pertaining to the Kingdom of Goo.

Luke XXIV. 44. And [Jesus came, and spake unto them, faying,] These are the Words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all Things must be fulfilled, which were written in the Law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms concerning me. [mat. XXVIII. 18.—].

642 He explains the Scriptures to them in his Vijits at Jerusalem;

Sect. 202. what was the Nature of their Office j [and] thro'

the Holy Spirit, which was given not by Measure

to himself, and which he had lately breathed

into them, be gave Commandments and Instructions

to the Apostles whom be had chosen, how they were
3 to act: To whom also he gave abundant Evi-
dences of his Resurrection, and shewed himself to

be alive after he had suffered Death, by many in-
fallible Tokens, being seen of them at Times for

the Space of Forty Days after his Resurrection,

andjpeaking to them of the Things which related

to the Kingdom of GOD. Luk.XXIV. And these his last Interviews with them Were 44- chiefly at Jerusalem, to which by his Command

they returned from the Mountain in Galilee; and

fefus also came thither, and made them repeated

Visits: And on one of these Occasions, he spake

unto them, faying {e), These [are] the Words which

I spake to you, and these the Intimations that I often

gave you, while I was yet dwelling among you, that

all the Things must be exactly fulfilled, which are

written in the Scriptures concerning me, both in

the Pentateuch which is called the Law of Moses,

and in the Books of the succeeding Prophets, and

in the Psalms and other Poetical Books of the

Old Testament.

45 And at the fame Time he not only in Words
expounded to them the Sense of the Sacred Wri-
ters, but also by a secret Operation on their in-
tellectual Faculties opened their Minds, that they
might understand the Scriptures in their Reference

46 to him. And in a most convincing Manner
he enlarged upon the important Subject, and

said to them, When you consider all these Things,
you must certainly perceive, that thus it was

WritBrethren, and to James; so I have thought it proper to introduce in this and the next Section, what relates to this Story in the Beginning of the Ails, {Chap. i.—2,—12.) which renders it more compleat, and finishes the Account which the Sacred IVriters give us of the Hijlory of our Lord to the Time of his Ascension,

(e) On one of these Occasions he spake &c."} I use this indeterminate Form of Expression, because I see no Mark, by which we can particularly ascertain the Time when the following Discourse was delivered ; only I think it very plain, it must be after their R/tum to Jerusalem, (Tee Lniexxiv. 49.) and consequently a very few Days before our Lord's

Ascension. 1 have thrown all that the three Evangelists fay of these Discourses into one

continued Discourse, tho' perhaps some of them might be delivered at different Times.

45 Then opened he their Understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures,

46 And said unto them,

Thus it is written, and thus

it

and tells them, that all Power was committed to kirn.

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it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the Dead the Third Day:

47 And that Repentance and Remission of Sins should be preached in his Name among all Nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

Mat. XXVIII. —1&.

All Power is given unto me in Heaven, and in Earth.

written, and thus it was necessary that the MesSe&. 202.

fiah Jhould suffer, and jhould rise again from /fc^^v-J
Dead, as I have done, on the Third Day; And Luk-XXIV-
that, in Consequence of this, and on this great
Foundation, Repentance and Forgiveness of Sins

Jhould be preached in his Name, and by his Au-
thority, to all the Nations of the Earth, beginning
first at Jerusalem itself, tho* polluted with the
Blood of the Prince of Life (f).

You know indeed, (added he,) how cruelly the Matth.
Jews have treated me, and how ungratefully they XXVIII. 18.
have rejected me; but their outragious Malice
has. now done its utmost, and my Heavenly Fa-
ther has not opjy rescued me from their Hands,
but is exalting me to all that Height of Dignity
and Glory, which the Sacred Oracles have so pa-
thetically described: For all Authority is now
given unto me, both in Heaven, and on Earth;
and in Accomplishment of what was promised to
the Messiah, I am raised to a Kingdom, which
comprehends both the upper, and lower Worlds,
and entitles me to the Homage of Angels, as well
as of Men. And yet, tho' I could so easily Luk.XXIV.
command the Ministry of those more glorious 48.
Creatures, it suits best with the Scheme of my
Gospel to make use of you j who shall accordingly
be Witnesses of all these Things, by publishing the
certain Knowledge that you have of the impor-
tant Truths of my Death and Resurrection (g);
and who are therefore to look upon it as the great

Business

(f) Beginning at "Jerusalem."] As for the Grammatical Construction of the Greek Word «p|<tju«vov, it would be foreign from the Design of these Notes, to enter into it farther, than to refer the learned Reader to Eisner, (Observ. Vol. i. pag. 288.) and Raphelius, (Annot. ex Herod, pag. 276, 277.) and to the Original of Luke xxiii. 5. xxiv. 27. and Ails x. 37.) —— It was both graciously and wisely appointed by our Lord, that the Gospel should begin to be preached at Jerusalem; graciously, as it encouraged the Repentance of the greatest Sinners, when they saw that even the Murtherers of Chrtst were not exempted from the Offers of Gospel Mercy; and wisely, as hereby Christianity was more abundantly attested, the Facts being published just on the Spot where they happened; and as the vast Concourse of People of various Nations, present there at the Feast of Pentecost, would contribute greatly to its more speedy Spread.

(g) You /hall be IVitnesses of these Things.] That this was the grand Business of the Apostles, is evident; and the ingenious Author of Miscellanea Sacra, {Essay iii. pag. 17,—23.)

has taken great Pains to (hew, how the Title of IVitnesses, and the Office of testifying, is in the Sacred Writings appropriated to the Apostles. Yet after all, tho' it was indeed essential to the Apostolick (Office, that they who bore It, should be able to testify the Facts as of their own personal Knowledge; yet it is certain, that a great many others, who were not

M m m m 2 Apostles,

Luke XXIV. 48. And ye are Witnesses of these Things.

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