« AnteriorContinua »
327. '1251, In like manner. Iliad, B. line 474. M. line 278.
328. '1256, That. 1 Cor. v. l. '1256, That one should have", &c.
329. '1251, denoting the end for which a thing is done. Rom. vii. 6. '1256, That we should serve in newness of spirit*.
330. '9262, causal, for. 2 Cor. v. 17. '255, For if any man de*, &c.
331, '25€, illative, Wherefore. Rom. vii. 4. 'S258, Where: fore my brethren*.-Ver. 12. '1256, Wherefore the law is holy*. - Cor. x. 12. '125€, Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth*.-Cor. xi. 27. '1251, Wherefore whosoever shall eat*.. 2 Cor. v. 16. '25, Wherefore henceforth we know no man after the flesh.
Conclusion. From the numerous passages of scripture produced in this essay, it appears,—That the Greek particles, as used by the writers of the New Testament, have a great variety of significations: that no translation, especially of the apostolisal epistles, in which the Greek particles have only a few of their significations given, will rightly express the meaning of these writings : and that the rectifying of the translation of the particles, though it be only by substituting one monosyllable for another, will often change the sense of a passage entirely, and render it a chain of strict logical reasoning : whereas, by a wrong translation, it becomes quite incoherent, if not incon sequent.
ST.PAUL'S EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS.
Of the Time when the Christian Religion was introduced at Rome. The scriptures do not inform us at what time, or by whom, the gospel was first preached in Rome. But from the following circumstances, it is probable that the church there was one of the first planted Gentile churches, and that it soon became very numerous.
When St. Paul wrote his epistle to the Romans, A. D. 57. their faith was spoken of throughout the whole world, Rom. i. 8. and many of them possessed spiritual gifts, Rom. xii. 6. and their obedience was known to all men, Rom. xvi. 19.-Farther, the fame of the church at Rome had reached the apostle long before he wrote this letter. For he told them, he had a desire for many years to come to them, Rom. xv. 23. The gospel therefore was introduced in Rome very early, perhaps by some of the disciples who were scattered abroad after Stephen's death, in the end of the reign of Tiberius. Or the founding of the Roman church may have happened even before that period : for among the persons who heard Peter preach on the day of pentecost, and who were converted by him, strangers of Rome are mentioned, Acts ü. 10. 41. These Roman Jews, on their return home, no doubt preached Christ to their countrymen in the city, and probably converted some of them : so that the church at Rome, like most of the Gentile churches, began in the Jews. But it was soon enlarged by converts from among the religious proselytes; and in
VOL, I, 21
process of time, was increased by the flowing in of the idolatrous Gentiles, who gave themselves to Christ in such numbers, that at the time St. Paul wrote his epistle to the Romans, their conversion was much spoken of.
These facts merit attention ; because the opposers of our religion represent the first Christians as below the notice of the heathen magistrates, on account of the paucity of their numbers, and the obscurity with which they practised their religious rites. But if the faith of the Roman brethren was spoken of throughout the whole empire, at the time this letter was written, the disciples of Christ in Rome must have been numerous, and must have professed their religion openly : for the turning of a few obscure individuals in the city from the worship of idols, and their worshipping the true God clandestinely, could not be the subject of discourse in the provinces.-Farther, that there were many Christians in Rome when St. Paul wrote this epistle, may be inferred from the tumults occasioned by the contests which the Jews had with them about the law, and which gave rise to Claudius's decree, banishing the whole of them from Rome, Acts xviii. 2. See page 151, sect. 3, at the beginning:- The salutations likewise in the end of this epistle, show how numerous the brethren in Rome were at that time, some of whom were of long standing in the faith, as Andronicus and Junias, who were converted before Paul himself; others of them were teachers, as Urbanus ; others were deacons and deaconesses, as Mary, Try. phena, Tryphosa, and Persis, all of whom were active in spreading the gospel; others were persons of station, such as the mem. bers of the family of Narcissus, if, as is commonly supposed, he was the emperor's favourite of that name. But although this should not be admitted, the saints in Cæsar's household, whose salutation, some years after this, the apostle sent to the Philippians, may have been persons of considerable note.
SECTION II. Of the State of the Christian Church, at the Time St. Paul wrote his Epistle
to the Romans. The gospel being offered to the world as a revelation from God, the Jews justly expected, that it would agree in all things with the former revelations, of which they were the keepers. And therefore, when they perceived, that many of the doctrines taught by the apostles were contrary to the received tenets, which the scribes pretended to derive from the writings of Moses and the prophets, the bulk of the nation rejected the gospel, and argued against it with the greatest vehemence of passion, in the persuasion that it was an impious heresy, inconsistent with the ancient revelations, and destructive of piety.
To remove this specious cavil, the apostles, besides preaching the doctrines of the gospel as matters revealed to themselves, were at pains to shew that these doctrines were contained in the writings of Moses and the prophets; and that none of the tenets contrary to the gospel, which the Jewish doctors pretended to deduce from their own sacred writings, had
foundation there. Of these tenets, the most pernicious was, their misinterpretation of the promise to Abraham ; that in his seed all the nations of the earth should be blessed. For the Jews, considering the moral precepts of the law of Moses as a perfect rule of duty, and its sacrifices and purifications as real atonements for sin, and believing that no man could be saved out of their church, affirmed that the blessing of the nations in Abraham's seed, consisted in the conversion of the nations to Judaism by the Jews. Hence the Jewish believers, strongly impressed with these notions, taught the Gentiles, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved, Acts xv. 1. But this doctrine, though obstinately maintained, was a gross error.
The law of Moses was no rule of justification. It was a political institution, established for governing the Jews as the subjects of God's temporal kingdom in Canaan. And therefore the apostles, elders, and brethren, assembled in the council of Jerusalem, justly decreed, that the yoke of the law was not to be imposed on the Gentiles, as necessary to their salvation.
A decision, so deliberately and solemnly pronounced, by such an assembly, ought, among the disciples of Christ, to have silenced all disputations on the subject. Nevertheless, the converted Jews, having been accustomed to glory in their relation to God as his people, and in the privileges which they had so long enjoyed, were extremely offended, when, according to the new doctrine, they found the Gentiles under the gospel, raised to an equality with them in all religious privileges. Wherefore, disregarding the decrees which were ordained of the apostles and elders, they exhorted the Gentiles every where to become Jews, if they wished to be saved. And this exhortation made the stronger impression on the Gentiles, as the Jewish worship by sacrifices, purifications, and holidays, was, in many respects, similar to their former worship. Besides, as the Jews were