Page images

to leave those who are so reduced, upon such a precarious foundation for subsistence. But I suppose not that it was ever the design of the law to make such provision for all that are in want, as to leave no room for Christian charity.

2. This objection is built upon another supposition, which is equally false, viz. That there are in fact none wbo are proper objects of charity, but those that are relieved by the town. Let the design of the law be what it will, yet if there are in fact persons who are so in want, as to stand in need of our charity, then that law doth not free us from obligation to relieve them by our charity. For as we have just now shewn, in answer to the last objection, if it more properly belong to others to relieve them than us; yet if they do it not, we are not free. So that if it be true, that it belongs to the town to relieve all who are proper objects of charity; yet if the town in fact do it not, we are not excused.

If one of our neighbours suffers through the fault of a particular person, of a thief or robber, or of a town, it alters not the case: but if he suffer and be without relief, it is an act of Christian charity in us to relieve bim. Now it is too obvious to be denied, that there are in fact persons so in want, that it would be a charitable act in us to belp them, notwith.. standing all that is done by the town. A man must hide his mental eyes, to think otherwise.

[ocr errors]







[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]



1 CORINTHIANS, Xv. 25, 26.

For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet,

The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

The apostle in this chapter particularly opposes some among the Christian Corinthians, who denied the resurrection of the dead, and infested the church with their doctrine. There were two sorts of persons in that age, who were especially great opposers of the doctrine of the resurrection; one among the Jews, and the other among the Heathen. Among the Jews were the Sadducees, of whom we read, Acts xxiii. 8. “ For the Sadducees say, that there is no resurrection, neither angel nor spirit :” and we have the same account in other places. Among the Heathen, that were the chief opposers of this doctrine, were their philosophers. The doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, was not consistent with their philosophy, by the principles of which, it was impossible that one who was deprived of the habit of life, should ever receive it ·again. And therefore they ridiculed the doctrine when the apostle preached it among them at Athens.* Probably the church at Corinth received this corruption from the philosophers, and not the Sadducees. For Corinth was near to Athens, the place of the chief resort of the philosophers of Greece.

The apostle, in opposing this error, first insists on Christ's resurrection from the dead; and next on the resurrection of all the saints at the end of the world. And in the verses next

+ Acts wvii,

« PreviousContinue »