Imatges de pÓgina

Gentlemen, if you will, of a generous Education, who have a greater Sense of Honour than these poor Men could be supposed to have, and set Death before you on one side, and the Recantation of an idle Story on the other, and think, if you could think fit to die to carry on the Banter, and would not chuse rather to be laughed at, than to be a Martyr for a foolij, Tale. Now if Men of Honour would 'do a thing, which would be such a Mortification to them, rather than lose their Lives; what unheard-of Spark of Honour can you suppose to find in the Breasts of those plain Fisher-men, that should make them rather die, than to say any Thing contrary to what they had preached? Phil

. Good Sir, you run on a little too fast in behalf of the Apostles ; for give me leave to tell you, that their Preaching was not so void of Gain, nor so full of Hazard, as you pretend. If they got nothing by their new Doctrine, they had nothing to lofe. And it was an ample Reward to poor Fisher-men, to be look'd on as inspired Men, and to have all their Followers submit them selves to them. * Peter, 'tis true, left his torn Nets, his leaky Boat, and simple Companions; but by being an Apostle, his Words were admired as Oracles, and he fat at the Helm in religious Matters. And to be sure, where-ever the Apostles went, there was good Chear provided for them. Belides, there were Gatherings in the new-planted Churches, 2 Cor. viii. and there is no Doubt to be made, but the Apostles had their Share in these ; and St. Paul seems to put in plainly for it, alleging that Passage of the Law, Thou faalt not muzzle the Mouth of the Ox that treadeth out the Corn. Nay, there must be considerable Sums of Money at the Apostles disposing ; for in the Acts of the Apostles it is said, Thas the Believers sold all that they had, and laid the Price a the Apostles Feet. Now all this was Honour and Profit enough for such Men as these : It was no great Riches indeed, but it was a comfortable Maintenance. And how many Men are there, that venture their Necks every Day for as little : Besides, I don't see what great Danger they in.

• Judæus apud Limb. p. 133, & 134.


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Curred, by their Preaching. The greatel Danger was from
the Jovs

, who had Laws against fuch. Impostures, and
rherefore they very wisely turned to the Gentiles. And
among them there was little Danger, as they ordered Mat-
ters; for they only preached Jelus Christ to be the Son of
God, and that there was a Resurrection, and the like, which
were Things that might go down well enough with the
Heathen World ; but I don't find them any where in the
New Tiftament preaching against Idolatry, which if they
had done, the zealous Heathens would have immediately
crucified them. And 'twas upon this Account, that the
Apostles inveigh so much against the false Brerbren, who
were those that betray'd them to the Hearhens

, that they run down Idolatry in private. Besides, it does not appear, but that they did avoid Suffering as much as they could; for when St. Paul was called in question for teaching contrary to the Law of Mofes, he with a great Deal of Dexterity avoids the Charge, pretending only thar for the Resurrection of the Dead, and for seeing a Vifion he was called in question, which, though they were not the Points he was charged with, yet they served to set the Pharisees and Sadducees a quarrelling, and so freed him from Danger, that Time, by that ingenious Prevarication.

Cred. I will speak in order to the Objections you have Apostles here raised. You say the Apostles had nothing to lose, and ventured therefore they might venture upon the Preaching the Gospel. Their Lives What though they had no Riches to venture, they had

ties. the Reputation of honest Men, which few People will care to lose for the lake of an Impofture; for an honest Nian, if ever so poor, would not care to be counted a Cheat. And if they had no Reputation, they had their Liberty and Lives to lose, and no one, of any Sense, would care to venture these, upon no better a Prospect than you can suppose the Apostles to have had, for Goals and Gallows.

But you say, They gat Vi{tuals by it, and the Honour of And did nos þeing the Heads of a religious Parry, and the D.[post-il of the vain Glory People's Alms.' And, indeed, wondrous Marie are all or Applause. these, to make Men venture their Necis for them. It does not appear, but that they lived as well

their Trade,


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Trade, as this comes to. But fupposing they preached only for a Livelihood, yet, was it worth While, for them to undergo fo much Pains and Danger, for a little Vituals? See the great Comforts of the Apostleship, which did, as you say, invite Men to it upon Account of Gain. They endured Tribulation, Distress, Persecution, Famine and Nakedness, Peril and Sword, Rom. viii. 35. They were made a Spectacle to the World, to Angels and Men, and were Fools for Christ's sake; they were Hungry and Thirsty, Naked and Buffeted, and had no certain Davelling-place. St. Paul was five Times whipped by the Jews, three Times beaten with Rods, once stoned, and frequent in Prisons, &c. 2 Cor. xi. and got his own Livelihood by his own Hands, though he had a more liberal Education. But fuppose, they had got their Vi&tuals gratis, what Proportion do all these Troubles and Torments bear, to such a small Conveni


Had no

But it is an uncharitable Falsity to say, The Apostles thing by gained any Thing by the Collections which were made. the Col

The Contributions, which were first made, were laid lections.

down before the Apostles ; but what Advantage did they make of them, but only to relieve the Poor? If the Apostles indirectly had reaped any Profit from these, they would have kept them still in their own Hands; but they instituted the Office of Deacons to discharge that Truft

, which they would never have done, if they had preached the Gospel for the Sake of the Advantage they made by such Contributions. And the Collections mention'd by St. Paul, 2 Cor. viii. were only for Relieving the Poor at Hirufalem in a great Famine, which were entirely sent thither without the Apostles participating of any Part of them. And St. Paul was so far from asking any Share of them, that he declares that he was burthensome to none; that he got bis Living by his own Hands; and that he preached the Gospel gratis, though, if he pleased, he might in Justice demand a Livelihood for it. They that wait at the Altar, are Partakers with the Altar ; even so hath the Lord ordiined, that they which preach the Gospel, should Liveç the Gospel. But I have used none of these things. Neither fent with

bas: towards

well as

have I written these Things that it should be so done unto me: For it were better for me to die, than that any Man should make my Glorying void. And so again, What is my Reward then? Verily that when I preach the Gospel, I may make the Gospel of Christ without Charge, that I abuse not my Power in the Gospel, i Cor. ix. 14. And again, When I was pre


and wanted, I was chargeable to no Man, 2 Cor. xi. 9. And Acts vii. 14. Te your felves know, that these Hands have ministred unto my Necessities.

Neither is it true what you say, that they were in no Perfecuted 2 Danger by Preaching to the Genuiles. The Reason, why by Gertiles, so many of the Apostles left the Jews to preach to the

by Jews. Gentiles, was not to avoid Perfecution, but not to lose = their Time and Preaching among the stubborn and hard

ned Jews, who undervalued their Doctrine, and trampled - upon the holy Things. Nay, the Apostles were so far

from being willing, upon this Account, to go to preach among the Gentiles, that they were brought with great Reluctancy to leave the perfecuting Jews, to preach to the Heathens. And as for Persecution, they had as large Share of it in the Hearhen Countries, as in Judaa it self. The Epistles which the Apostles wrote to comfort the Gentile Believers under their Persecutions, and to exhort them courageously to undergo their Sufferings, do clearly demonstrate, that they were perfecuted, as well by those of their own Country, as by the Jews. For St. Paul writes to the Thessalonians, Te have also suffered like Things of your own Countrymen, as they have of the Jews, avho killed the Lord Jesus, í Theff. ii. 14. And, in the other Epistles to the Gentile Converts, there are many Exhortations to Constancy in their Tribulations, which they underwent from the Heathens in those Places, where the Jews could not hurt them.

But I see no Reason in the World, why you should Preached say, That the Apostles did not preach against the Heathen against the

Heathen Idolatry; for their bare Teaching the Principles of the

Idolatry. Christian Religion, is a manifest Confutation of the Worship of Idols. This was the first Step, which was made


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towards Christianity, as the Apostle says, 1 Theff. i. 3. That you being turned from Idols, might serve the living God. Paul and Barbabas at Lystra, tell the People, That boy preach unto thors, that they should turn from Vanities, or Idols, unto the living God, Acts xiv. 15. St. Paul at Athens Thews them the Vanity of Idol-worship, from a Saying of the Poet Araries. · And 'twas his Preaching against this, that made Demetrius the Silversmith, and the luperstitious Multitude at Ephefis, in fuch a Rage with him, Aits xix. To whichi, if you add all the many Exhortations against Idolatry, in every Page of the Apoftolick Epistles

, a Man can hardly be thought to have look'd into the New Testament, who does deny this

Truth. False Breo And ’tis a great Sign you are not fufficiently conveto

fant in your Bible, that you take the falfé Brethrrent Informers.

sometimes spoken of, for Informers against the Christians, upon Account of their condemning idolatry. For the false Brethren were those, who would persuade the Gentiles to take upon them the troublesome Ceremonies of the Mofaical Law; and those, who would pretend to be Fews to avoid Perfecution, which lay only upon the Christians ; and this you will be sufficiently satisfied of, if you rcad the ad and 4th Chapters of the Epistle to

the Galatians. what St. As for the Evafion and Prevarication, which you tax Paul said to St. Paul with ; the Charge is very unjuft. For St. Pase! lees no Pre- did nothing blame-worthy in this. If he had denied himvarication. self to be a Christian, it had been something. But he

only said he was judged for the Resurrection of the Dead, which was the most principal Doctrine of the Christiwi Religion. And indeed I do not fee, what more proper Argument he could use, to convince the Pharisees of their Fault in persecuring the Christians, than to shew, That they themselves did hold one of the prime Doctrines of their Faith. You cannot think, that St. Paul by this fhould make himself no Christian; he was too well known among them, for his deserting their Interest, to make

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