« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
quently to the Roman believers, the point to · be endeavoured after by St. Paul was to reconcile the Jewish converts to the opinion, that the Gentiles were admitted by God to a parity of religious situation with themselves, and that without their being bound by the law of Moses. The Gentile converts would probably accede to this opinion very readily, In this epistle, therefore, though directed to the Roman church in general, it is in truth a Jew writing to Jews. Accordingly you will take notice, that as often as his argument leads him to say any thing derogatory from the Jewish institution, he constantly, follows it by a softening clause. Having (ii. 28, 29.) pronounced, not much perhaps to the satisfaction of the native Jews, " that he is not a Jew which is one outwardly, neither that circumcision which is outward in the flesh;" he adds immediately, “ What advantage then hath the Jew, or what profit is there in circumcision? Much every way.” Having in the third chapter, ver. 28, brought his argument, to this formal conelusion, “ that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law,” he presently subjoins, ver. 31, “ Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid ! Yea, we establish the law.” In the seventh chapter, when in the sixth verse he had advanced the bold assertion, “ that now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held;" in the very next verse he comes in with this healing question, “ What shall we say then ? Is the law sin? God forbid ! Nay, I had not known sin but by the law.”. Haying in the following words insinuated, or rather more than insinuated, the inefficacy of the Jewish law, viii. 3. “ for what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh;" after a digression in deed, but that sort of a digression which he could never resist, a rapturous contemplation of his Christian hope, and which occupies the latter part of this chapter; we find him in the next, as if sensible that he had said something which would give offence, returning to his Jewish brethren in terms of the warmest affection and respect. “I say, the truth in Christ Jesus; I lie not; my conscience .also bearing me witness, in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart: for I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ, for my brethrén, my kinsmen" according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom pertain-' eth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises ; ' whose. are the fathers; and of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came.”. When, in the thirty-first and thirty-second verses of this ninth chapter he represented to the Jews. the error of even the best of their nation, by telling them that: “ Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, had not attained to the law of righteousness, because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law, for they stumbled at that stumbling-stone,” he takes care to annex to this declaration these conciliating expressions : : “ Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they · might be saved: for I bear them record that
they have a zeal of God, but not according ito knowledge. Lastly, having, ch, x. 20, 21, by the application of a passage in Isaiah insinuated the most ungrateful of all propobitions to a Jewish ear, the rejection of the Jewish nation, as God's peculiar people ; he hastens, as it were, to qualify, the intelligence of their fall by this interesting expos
tulation : “ I say, then, hath God cast away his people (i. e. wholly and entirely)? God forbid ! for I also am an Israelite of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin, God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew;" and follows this thought, throughout the whole of the eleventh chapter, in a series of reflections' calculated to sooth the Jewish converts, as well as to procure from their Gentile brethren respect to the Jewish institution. Now all this is perfectly natural. In, a 'real St. Paul writing to real converts, it is what anxiety to bring them over to his persuasion would naturally produce; but there is an earnestness and a personality, if I may so call it, in the manner, which a cold forgery, I apprehend, would neither have conceived nor supported...
THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS,
No. I. BEFORE we proceed to compare this epis stle with the history, or with any other epistle, we will employ one number in stating certain remarks applicable to our argument, which arises from a perusal of the epistle itself.
By an expression in the first verse of the seventh chapter, “ now concerning the things 5 whereof ye wrote unto me,” it appears, that this letter to the Corinthians was written by St. Paul in answer to one which he had received from them; and that the seventh, and some of the following chapters, are taken up in resolving certain doubts, and regulating certain points of order, concerning which the Corinthians had in their letter consulted him. This alone is a circumstance considerably in favour of the authenticity of the epistle; for it must have been a farfetched contrivance in a forgery, first to have feigned the receipt of a letter from the