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fpecies of worldly religion, however fpecious, contributes, by holding out falfe views of the divine character, to encourage our natural depravity; Christians have been formed anew, by receiving in fome measure the image of the true God. Listening to the testimony of the Scripture, they believe him not merely to be Lord of inanimate nature, but master alfo of the turbulent motions of the human heart; they therefore commit themselves into his hands, to work in them both to will and to do, of his good pleasure. They have learned that God would be perfectly juft in condemning them to eternal mifery for their tranfgreffion of his law, and have therefore unlearned all arrogant conceits of their own dignity and goodnefs. They have feen the preventing grace of JEHOVAH, how it fought out them when they were wandering without God in the world; and brought to them pardon and peace, whilst madly running the career of fin, and indulging their native enmity againft God. This view has foftened their hearts with a kindred compaffion for others, and animates them boldly to make known that Gofpel, which they know to be the power of God unto falvation. And if in their affectionate zeal for the true happiness of finners, they are flandered or perfecuted by the ungodly haters of the truth; the example of the long-fuffering goodness of their God, encourages them to bear their oppofition with meekness, and feek by gentleness and kindnefs to convert their enmity into love.
2 PETER iii. 15, 16.
Even as our beloved brother Paul alfo, according to the wifdom given unto him, hath written unto you; as alfo in all his epiftles, Speaking in them of thefe things; in which are fome things hard to be underflood, which they that are unlearned and unftable wreft, as they do alfo the other Scriptures, unto their own deftruction.
THE Apostle Peter in the preceding parts of
this chapter, had spoken fully respecting the coming of our Lord Jefus Christ, and had alfo given a fufficient warning of the oppofition which fhould be made to this Chriftian expectation, by men of corrupt minds, walking after their own lufts. He then tells thofe to whom he writes, that Paul in his epiftles had also treated of these fame things, viz. the coming of Christ Jefus, and the refurrection of the dead; doctrines which were partly difficult to be understood; the accounts of which, unlearned men (not knowing the Scriptures), and unftable (not built on the only foundation), perverted or tortured from their true and original import, just as such characters wrested the other Scriptures,' (all the other scripture doctrines) from their proper view; and this to their own deftruction, fince they were ignorant of the testimony to Jesus which the writings of the Old Teftament bore, and to which HE himself exprefsly and unequivocally appealed, John v. 39.
This we are perfuaded is the genuine scope of the paffage, but it is frequently otherwife applied, viz. to prove the obfcurity of the writings of both Old and New Teftaments, and thofe of Paul in particular; for the great Apostle of the Gentiles is remarkably obnoxious on account of his unqualified affertions of the doctrines of fovereign grace, which are erroneously supposed to be peculiar to him, because he has had occafion to treat of them more fyftematically, and at large, than the other New Teftament writers. Few profeffing Chriftians will avow this totidem verbis, but the oppofition and exception fo generally made, fufficiently evince the truth of the pofition. Now although we will not pretend to fay that all parts of his epiftles are equally plain, or that fome do not need more explanation than others; yet we are bold to affert, that no proof of obscurity in his writings can justly be derived from the paffage briefly paraphrafed above. For
lft. We are not referred by the relative "which" to "epiftles," but to "these things" (the coming of Chrift to judgment, &c.);-a very moderate acquaintance with the original muft fatisfy any one of this; for in the Greek the words rendered "epiftles" and "which" are of different genders, whereas "these things" and "which" in this refpect agree.
2. The writings of the New Teftament, now complete, are no where by the infpired penmen ftyled Scriptures; for when this term occurs in the New Teftament, the Old is uniformly denoted by it. A few references may fuffice to prove this. John v. 39. Acts xvii. 11. Rom. xv. 4. 2 Tim. iii. 15, 16. 2 Peter i. 20, 21. Now the contrary muft follow, if we fuppofed that Paul's epiftles are fpoken of as hard to be underN 2
food, &c.; as the expreffion, OTHER Scriptures, would then evidently annex the appellation of Scriptures to them. But,
3. Independently of thefe conclufions, no charge of obfcurity derived hence, can lie against any part of the word of God. For the perfons who are faid not merely to be ignorant of, but to wreft the Scriptures, are fuch as our Lord Jesus once thus addreffed: Why do ye not understand my Speech? becaufe ye cannot hear my word. He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear not, becaufe ye are not of God. It is "the things of the Spirit" that are undifcerned by the natural man not his words that are unintelligible to him; and while he charges the infpired penmen with difficulty and obfcurity, he evinces his hatred of their doctrines, by rejecting the obvious import of the terms in which they are conveyed. To one of Chrift's plaineft declarations, it was objected by unbelieving difciples; This is an hard faying; who can hear it? And fuch is at this day the fentiment, if not the language, of many religious profeffors. But fhall the unbelief of fome make the word of God of none effect? Far be it. Wisdom fhall be juftified of all her children. With those unbelievers must be claffed all who, under pretence of authority from St. Peter's declaration, would difparage the writings of one, who had the Spirit of God, who was not inferior to the chief of the apostles, and who was a chofen inftrument to bear the name of the Lord unto the Gentiles.
WE have received from a Correspondent the following
REMARKS on HEB. ii. 6.
THIS verfe is ufed as the motto to a pamphlet, entitled, "Human Nature Vindicated." As the author evidently confiders it applicable to the nature he has undertaken to vindicate; I fhall endeavour to fhew to whom it applies, by explaining it in connection with the reft of the paffage : and, if poffible, contribute to its deliverance from a very general abuse.
The words are part of a quotation from the 8th Pfalm. Concerning the man of whom the queftions are afked, the apostle declares in the words of the Pfalm, ver. 7, &c. Thou madeft him a little. lower than the angels; thou crownedft him with glory and honor, and didft fet him over the works of thy hands. Thou haft put all things in Subjection under his feet.
A few obfervations on this declaration, will teach us that the nature alluded to in it, is as fuperior to the nature that writer attempts to vindicate, as the truth of God is to the principles his pamphlet contains.
1. Thou madeft him a little lower than the angels. This is declared of the man of whom the enquiry is made in the preceding verfe; and when taken in connection with what is faid in ver. 9 afferts the incarnation of the Son of God.
Dignified as man is, and though formed capable of knowing and enjoying God, he is inferior in the scale of intelligent beings to thofe fons of God