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Julian Pe- openly uncondemned, being Romans, and have cast us Philippi.
into prison: and now do they thrust us out privily? nay
38 And the serjeants told these words unto the magis-
38 And they came and besought them, and brought them out, and desired them to depart out of the city.
ACTs xvii. 1-10.
2 And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath-days reasoned with them out of the Scriptures'.
3 Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.
4 And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul
» This passage is generally quoted as one of those which prove the identity of the service of the primitive Church with That of the synagogue. In the instance of reading the Scriptures in both, the parallel certainly exists. This subject, bowever, having been already in some measure considered, I shall merely observe, in this place, that we never read that any one of the primitive Churches had such an officer as the Archisynagogus, or were governed by the ten, the twenty-three, &c. neither were the primitive Churches built by the side of rivers ; and many other points of dissimilarity might be shewd.
Some writers indeed have gone to the opposite extreme, and derived the principal customs which prevailed among the early Christians to the Heathen institutions established among them. The fact seems to be, that as the Jewish synagogues were necessarily the first places of Worship, very many useful customs were derived from the Jewish synagogue-service: and, as the number of the Gentile converts increased from the Heathen worship, some customs might be derived from them also. The Churches, in things indifferent, were left to their own discre. tion : there was, however, a general similarity of worship, as well as an unity of faith, among all the primitive Churches. As at the Reformation, our Church-service was not formed upon the model of the service of the Romish Church ; yet our reformers wisely retained whatever was useful; so were many customs of the synagogues preserved. The worship of God was placed upon a right fouudation : there was neither a servile deference paid to antiquity, neither was there any capricious, or useless, or jealous removal of ancient customs, merely because they were established.
Juliao Pe. and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, Thessaloriod, 4762. and of the chief women not a few.
nica. Vulgar Æra. 51.
5 But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people.
6 And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down, are come hither also :
7 Whom Jason hath received : and these all do contrary to the decrees of Cesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus.
8 And they troubled the people, and the rulers of the city, when they heard these things.
9 And when they had taken security of Jason, and of
Christ, and not their imperfect obedience to the Ceremo-
§ 1. Gal. i. 1–5.
1 Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but
Julian Pe- by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him Thessaloriad 4762.
nica. from the dead ;) Valgar Æra,
same in all ages, and in all countries. However his customs and
Here it is tbat we are presented with a picture of the heart
The errors which distracted the Church in the apostolic age, are the same in principle as those which have always flourished, and which are abundantly prevalent in our own day. Even now the advocates of natural religion, and tbe asserters of the power of human reason, like the Goostics of the apostolic age, embarrass themselves and their readers with vain philosophy, and crude speculations on the existence of God, the nature of the soul, the origin of the world, or the eternity of matter. Anticbristian metaphysicians still deserve the censure of “ profape and vaio babblings.” The Greek, tbe Oriental, and Jewish
Julian Pe- 2 And all the brethren which are with me, unto the Thessaloriod, 4762. churches of Galatia :
- nica. Vulgar Æra, 51.
philosophy, united all their jargon to oppose a system of spiri-
Among the various errors of the apostolic age which are cen-
If we turn to those subjects in which man may imaginc himself
The distant throne, the sapphire blaze
Julian Pe. : 3 Grace be to you, and peace, from God the Father, Thessalo. riod, 4762. and from our Lord Jesus Christ,
In them we are confirmed in the belief of our own resurrection in the assurance that this corruptible must put on incor. ruption. They corroborate the events related in the Gospels, and are the most decisive evidences we can possess of the rapid increase of Christianity. In them we hear, as it were, the angel of God declare, that i time shall be no more.” We see the Saviour of the world resign his mediatorial kingdom to bis Fatber, that God may be all in all-the harvest of the Church gathered in-the eternity that is past united to the eternity that is to come, and man made partaker of a heavenly and glorious immortality,
With respect to the crime of dividing or disturbing the Churches, the apostolic Epistles every where abound with the most explicit injunctions on this point_“I beseech you, breturen, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be ao divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind, and in the same judgment: for it hath been declared unto me, of you, my brethren, that there are contentions among you. Submit' to those that have the rule over you, for they watch for your souls, as those that must give an account ;" with many other passages to the same purpose.
Still farther ; there are various portions of the Epistles, which incontrovertibly relate to our own times, and to times yet to arrive : those portions, namely, which are predictive. of this description are the Epistle of St. Jude; a part of the second Epistle of St. Peter ; of St. Paul's second Epistle to the Thessalonians, and of both his Epistles to Timothy; and of the Epistles of St. John. It is needless to name other passages, or to enlarge on those prophecies which have been specified; for who will deny them to pertain to the faith and the practice of the present age?
We must not, however, regard the Epistles as communications of religious doctrines not disclosed before: as displaying the perfection of a system, of which merely the rude elements had been indicated in the writings of the four Evangelists. The object of the Gospels seems supposed to be almost exclusively this : to prove, by a genuine narrative of miraculous facts, that Jesus Christ was the promised Redeemer; and thus to lay ground for the belief of the doctrinal truths, which he should afterwards reveal by the Holy Ghost in the Epistles.
Is this opinion, says a learned modern (a), consistent with antecedent probability? Does it appear a natural expectation, that our blessed Redeemer, « in whom dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily," to whom the “ Holy Ghost was given without measure," should restrict within such scanty limits his personal communications of divine truths to his disciples : that he should thus restrict such communications to his apostles during the whole period of his public ministry, before his crucitixion and after his resurrection? Is this opinion easily reconcileable with the declarations of the inspired writers, that, while our Lord“ dwelt among them, they beheld his glory, as the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth," (John i. 14.)and that “after his passion he was seen of them forty days, speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God?" (Acts i. 3.)
To bring the point in debate to the specdiest issue, we will inquire, what are the new articles, wbat is the new article, of