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m Angel declares, even before he was conceiv'd, that no razor should tome upon JudSibis heady - for he Jhould be a Nazarice unto God from the -womb. Then the 'woman came and told her husband, faying, A man of God said unto me, Behold, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son: and noit> drink no wine nor strong drink, neither eat any unclean thing; for the child shall be a Nazarite to God, from the womb to the day of his death. Upon this Condition, he was to deliver Israel. And therefore when, afterwards, his Hair was cut off by DalU lab, his great Strength immediately left him.
We have another Instance in Samuels whose Mother vowed a -vow, and said, O 1 &r IL o R D of Hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and give unto thine handmaid a man-child, then I will give him unto the Lor i>, all tht days of his life-, and there Jhall no razot come upon his head.
Of the temporary Vow of Nazaritifm, we have something occurs in two Places in the New testament: And, both, * I
* Hammond thinks thefirst relates tv Aquija, St. Paul'* Companion.
X z think,
think, relating to St. Paul. In the firs, Actsxviii. js t0 nave jhorn his head in Cen
chrea; for he had a vow. Not, that the Term, for which he had vow'd, was expir'd; but because he had been polluted by some accidental Impediment, and was to purify himself, and so proceed in his Separation. In the second, we find him at 'Jerusalem; where, because he had given Offence to some Judaizing Christians, in admitting the Gentiles without obliging them to be circumcis'd, St. James, (who, probably, knew of his Vow) advises him to clear himself from all such censorious Aspersions, by a favourable Opportunity; ib. xxi. j)0 this therefore, fays he, that we fay to thee; we have four men which have a vow on them: them take, and purify thy self with them, and be at charges with them (be at the Expence of procuring Offerings for them, for they are poor) that they may shave their heads: and all may know, that those things whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thy self, walkest also orderly and keepesl the law.
And, accordingly, this good-natur'd Apostle, (who was all things to all Men, in
all indifferent Matters, especially if thereby he might gain some) readily complied with the Proposal of St. James; and took the men; and the next day, purifying himself with them, entred into the temple, to signify the accomplishment of the days of purification, until that an offering Jhould be offered for every one of them. And when the seven days were almost ended, &c. It was reckon'd a very meritorious Act in any Person of Ability to be at Charges with any poor Nazarite, in providing the best Offerings for him, when the Days - of his Separation were fulfill'd; and Ihew'd that they were zealous of the Law.
This Opportunity therefore St. Paul takes, for the Preservation of Peace and Charity, among the froward infant Members of the Primitive Church j though his own private Opinion, was on the other side of the Question: And which, we find,
f he communicated privately to them which were Gal. H. 2. of reputation; (the other Apostles, James and Peter and John) to whom, great as they were, he gave place by fubjeSlion, no, — S»
!' not fir an hour; that the truth of the Gof
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pel might continue with the Gentiles, And Galyii. afterwards, when Peter was came so An
tioch, he tells us, he withstood him to the face, upon this very Account.
In short, the whole Point in Question was; whether, that Liberty, which, by the Gospel ot our Lor D Jesus Christ, accrued to the Professors of Christianity, particularly the Gentile Proselytes, was to be asserted then, immediately, in all Places.; or forborn and dissembled, for a while, to avoid the Fury and Persecution of the enraged yews: Stephen having been condemned to be stoned to Death, upon that very Account.
Those of the Apostles, whose Province lay in Jerusalem and the Parts adjacent, being Men of like Passions with others, and consequently subject to human Frailties, were inclin'd to temporize in the Matter; for Fear of hazarding not only their own Lives but the Loss *of many Acts xxi thousands of Jews, who, [at that Time,were 20. "Converts to Christianity, and yet zealous of the haw.
On the other side, St. Paul, whose Preaching had been altogether among the 4 Gentiles,, Gentiles, was quite bold and open in asserting that the ceremonial Law had, by C H R. i s T's| Coming, received its full Completion and final Determination: and therefore the Word, with him, was j Stand Gal. v. t, fast in the liberty •wherewith Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again •with the yoke of bondage. Behold, J Paul fay unto you, that, if ye be circumcised, Christ Jhall profit you nothing.
That this was really the Opinion of all the Apostles, we may fee from the Resolution of St. fames, at a Great Council Held at Jerusalem long before, upon this very Question; My sentence, is, that we Acts xv. trouble not them, (to keep the Ceremonial l9> Law) which from among the Gentiles are turned to God. To this, the rest of the Council assent j and a Decree is sent away to the Cities of the Gentiles accordingly; in which are these Words j It seemed good, Acts Xv, to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you z8> 29» no greater burden than these necessary things j that ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication-, from which, if ye keep your selves, ye Jhall do well,
X 4 And,