Page images
PDF
EPUB

ment of the Lord; yet I give my judgment as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful. I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress; I say that it is good for a man so to be.” 1 Cor. chap. vii. 25, 26.

“For unto you it is given, in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake, having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.” Phil. chap. i. 29, 30.

“God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”

“ From henceforth let no man trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” Gal. ch. vi. 14, 17.

“ Ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost.” 1 Thess. chap. i. 6.

“We ourselves glory in you in the churches of God, for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure.” 2 Thess. chap. i. 4.

We may seem to have accumulated texts unnecessarily; but beside that the point which they are brought to prove is of great importance, there is this also to be remarked in every one of the passages cited, that the allusion is drawn from the writer by the argument or the occasion; that the notice which is taken of his sufferings, and of the suffering condition of Christianity, is perfectly incidental, and is dictated by no design of stating the facts themselves. Indeed they are not stated at all; they may rather be said to be assumed. This is a distinction upon which we

save one.

have relied a good deal in former parts of this treatise; and, where the writer's information cannot be doubted, it always, in my opinion, adds greatly to the value and credit of the testimony.

If any reader require from the apostle more direct and explicit assertions of the same thing, he will receive full satisfaction in the following quotations.

“ Are they ministers of Christ (I speak as a fool)? I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes

Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned; thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness." 2 Cor. chap. xi. 23–28.

Can it be necessary to add more? “I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death; for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men. Even unto this present hour we both hunger and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling-place; and labour, working with our own hands : being reviled, we bless ; being persecuted, we suffer it; being defamed, we entreat: we are made as the filth of the earth, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.” 1 Cor. chap. iv. 9-13. I

subjoin this passage to the former, because it extends to the other apostles of Christianity much of that which St. Paul declared concerning himself.

In the following quotations, the reference to the author's sufferings is accompanied with a specification of time and place, and with an appeal for the truth of what he declares to the knowledge of the persons whom he addresses : “Even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the Gospel of God with much contention.” 1 Thess. chap. ii. 2.

“ But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, long-suffering, persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured : but out of them all the Lord delivered me.” 2 Tim. chap. iii. 10, 11.

I apprehend that to this point, as far as the testimony of St. Paul is credited, the evidence from his letters is complete and full. It appears under every form in which it could appear, by occasional allusions and by direct assertions, by general declarations and by specific examples.

VII. St. Paul in these letters asserts, in positive and unequivocal terms, his performance of miracles strictly and properly so called.

“He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles (evegywv duvausic) among you, doth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith ?" Gal. chap. iii. 5.

“For I will not dare to speak of any of those things

[ocr errors]

which Christ hath not wrought by me", to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed, through mighty signs and wonders (εν δυναμει σημειων και τερατων), 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.” Rom. chap. xv. 18, 19.,

“ Truly the signs of an 'apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds” (εν σημειους και τερασι και δυναμεσι18). 2 Cor. chap. xii. 12.

These words, signs, wonders, and mighty deeds,

14 i. e. “ I will speak of nothing but what Christ hath wrought by me;" or, as Grotius interprets it, “ Christ hath wrought so great things by me that I will not dare to say what he hath not wrought."

" To these may be added the following indirect allusions, which, though if they had stood alone, i. e. without plainer texts in the same writings, they might have been accounted dubious ; yet, when considered in conjunction with the passages already cited, can hardly receive any other interpretation than that which we give them.

• My speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of men's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit, and of

your

faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. 1 Cor. chap. ii. 4–6.

The Gospel, whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power." Ephes. chap. iii. 7.

For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me towards the Gentiles." Gal. chap. ii. 8.

“ For our Gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance." 1 Thess. chap. i. 5.

power: that

(σημεια, και τερατα, και δυναμεις,) are the specifc appropriate terms throughout the New Testament, employed when public sensible miracles are intended to be expressed. This will appear by consulting, amongst other places, the texts referred to in the note!6; and it cannot be known that they are ever employed to express any thing else.

Secondly, these words not only denote miracles as opposed to natural effects, but they denote visible, and what may be called external, miracles, as distinguished,

First, from inspiration. If St. Paul had meant to refer only to secret illuminations of his understanding, or 'secret influences upon his will or affections, he could not, with truth, have represented them as

signs and wonders wrought by him,” or “signs and wonders and mighty deeds wrought amongst them.'

Secondly, from visions. These would not, by any means, satisfy the force of the terms, “ signs, wonders, and mighty deeds;" still less could they be said to be “ wrought by him,” or “ wrought amongst them :” nor are these terms and expressions any where applied to visions. When our author alludes to the supernatural communications which he had received, either by vision or otherwise, he uses 'expressions suited to the nature of the subject, but very different from the words which we have quoted. He calls them revelations, but never signs, wonders, or mighty deeds. “I will come,” says he, "to visions

16 Mark xvi. 20. Luke xxiii. 8. John ii. 11, 23; ii. 2; iv. 48, 54; xi. 49. Acts ii. 22; iv. 3; v. 12; vi. 8; vii. 16 ; xiv. 3; xv. 12. Heb. ii. 4.

« PreviousContinue »