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the quotations of the Old Testament found in the New ; some of which quotations, it is said, are applied in a sense, and to events, apparently different from that which they bear, and from those to which they belong, in the original. It is probable to my apprehension, that many of those quotations were intended by the writers of the New Testa, ment as nothing more than accommodatians, They quoted passages of their fçripture, which suited, and fell in with, the occasion before them, without always undertaking to affert, that the occasion was in the view of the author of the words. Such accommodations of passages from old authors, from books especially which are in every

one's hands, are common with writers of all coun, tries; but in none, perhaps, were more to be expected, than in the writings of the Jews, whose literature was almost entirely confined to their scriptures. Those prophecies which are alledged with more folemnity, and which are accompanied with a precise declaration, that they originally respected the event then related, are,

I think, truly alledged. But

were

were it otherwise; is the judgement of the writers of the New Testament, in interpreta ing passages of the Old, or sometimes, pere haps, in receiving established interpretations, so connected either with their veracity, or with their means of information concerning what was passing in their own times, as that a critical mistake, even were it clearly made put, should overthrow their historical cre, dit1--Does it diminish it? Has it any thing to do with it?

Another error imputed to the first Chrif tians, was the expected approach of the day of judgement. I would introduce this objecţion by à remark upon what appears to me a fomewhat similar example. Our Saviour, speaking to Peter of John, said, “If I will thąt he tarry till I come, what is that to thee*%" These words, we find, had been so misconstrued, as that "a report” from thence ff went abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not dię.”

Suppose that this

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had come down to us amongst the prevail-
ing opinions of the early Christians, and that
the particular circumstance, from which the
mistake fprung, had been loft (which hu-
manly speaking was most likely to have been
the case,) fome, at this day, would have been
ready to regard and quote the error, as an
impeachment of the whole Christian system.
Yet with how little justice such a conclusion
would have been drawn, or rather such a
presumption taken up, the information
which we happen to possess enables us now
to perceive. To those who think that the
fcriptures lead us to believe, that the early
Christians, and even the Apostles, expected
the approach of the day of judgement in their
own times, the same reflection will occur,
as that which we have made with respect to
the more partial perhaps and temporary, but
Atill no less ancient, error concerning the
duration of St. John's life. It was an error,
it
may

be likewise said, which would effectually hinder those who entertained it from acting the part of impostors, .

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The difficulty, which attends the subject of the present chapter, is contained in this question: If we once admit the fallibility of the apostolic judgement, where are we to stop, or in what can we rely upon it? To which question, as arguing with unbelievers, and as arguing for the substantial truth of the Christian history, and for that alone, it is competent to the advocate of Chriftianity to reply, Give me the apostle's testimony, and I do not stand in need of their judgement; give me the facts, and I have complete security for every conclusion I want.

csophy But, although I think that it:is competent to the Christian apologist to return this answer; I do not think that it is the only answer which the objection is capable of receiving. The two following cautions, founded, I apprehend, in the most reasonable diftinctions, will exclude all uncertainty upon this head which can be attended tvith danger.

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First, to feparate what was the object of the apostolic miffion, and declared by them

to

to be fo, from whiat was extraneous to its of only incidentally connected with it. Of points clearly extraneous to the religion; nothing need be faid. Of poitits incidentally connected with it, something may be added: Demoniacal poffeffion is one of these points : concerning the reality of whichi, as this place will not admit the examination, or even the production of the arguments on either side of the question; it would be afrogance in te to deliver any judgements And it is unnecessary. For what I am concerned to observe is; that even they who think that it was a general, but erróneous, opinioni of those times, and that the writers of the New Testament, in commoti with other Jewilh writer's of that age, fell into the manner of speaking and of thinking opon the fubject, which thert utiversally prevailed ; need not be alarmed by the conceffioti, as though they had atry thing to fear from its for the truth of Christianity. The do&rine was not what Chrift brought into the world. It appears in the Chriftian records, incidents tally and accidentally, as being the fubfiftitng

opinion

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