Imágenes de páginas

when addressing Jesus, was not the posture of prayer, which he actually employed immediately after when praying to God.-I consider this noble martyr, then, as addressing his glorified Lord, under the impression, and probably with the manifestation, of his actual personal presence with him; and regard his words as of this import; I am dying in thy cause, but thou art the resurrection and the life, and from thee I shall again receive my life: with full confidence in thy declarations I resign it into thy hands; Lord Jesus, receive my departing breath. Can any one suppose that this case, if really in opposition, which it is not, to the precepts and example of Jesus on this important point, justifies the neglect of them?

50] 2 Cor. xii. 8, 9. The Apostle had said that in order to prevent his being too highly exalted on account of the frequency of supernatural communications, he was visited with some painful dispensation, usually supposed to have been a paralytic affection, which probably rendered his bodily presence weak and his speech contemptible,' (see ch. x. 10. and Gal. iv. 13); and he appears to have considered this affliction as likely to impede the success of his apostolical labours. Concerning this,' he continues, I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me : and he said to me, My gracious aid is sufficient for thee, for my power, Suvaus, is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power, duvais, of Christ may rest upon me.'-It appears to me clear that the Apostle addressed his request to Christ; the question is, as before, whe

ther this affords a sufficient precedent for prayer him, in opposition to his own precepts and example, and the precepts of the Old Testament. Plainly not, for the following reasons taken together. 1. The 9th verse implies, what we know was occasionally the fact, that our Lord was sensibly present with Paul, when Paul spoke to him. 2. Our Lord had received from the Father the promise of the spirit, and imparted it to his disciples; if therefore he had thought it right, he could certainly have miraculously cured the Apostle. 3. The reply of our Lord appears obviously to refer to the miraculous powers by which the preachings of the Apostles were rendered effectual. And as it was of the utmost importance, that the Gospel should be known to have a divine origin, the insufficiency of the merely human means and instruments was requisite, in order to show that it was the power of God, and not the wisdom of man, which caused its extensive and rapid diffusion.

51.] Rev. xxii. 20. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.'- quote this because some have thought that this is an example of prayer; but I apprehend that no candid reasoner, who reads the whole of the verse, can lay any stress upon it. It appears to me obviously to be an address to Jesus, sensibly manifested to his Apostle.

52.] Acts ix. 14. And here he hath authority to bind all that call on thy name.' Vs. 21. Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem?'

The original phrase may be rendered call on thy



name, or, are called by thy name. If the former rendering be preferred, it remains to be shown that it denotes that the first Christians invoked Jesus in prayer; for the only cases in which we know that they invoked the name of Jesus, were such as these, saying, In the name of Jesus Christ,' when they worked a miracle, (Acts iii. 6. iv. 10. 30, &c.) baptizing in the name of Jesus Christ,' (Acts ii. 38. viii. 16, &c.) or teaching in the name of Jesus,' (Acts iv. 17, 18.) Against the common interpretation of the common rendering, which supposes prayer to Jesus to be a usual characteristic of the first Christians, the following, as I think, insupe rable objection rests. We have no facts to prove that the Christians did, in any case, much less commonly, make supplication to Jesus, when not under


I adinit that the Septuagint use of the phrase sinäisita To ovopa, to call on the name, or, to be called by the name, decidedly favours the former or common rendering. We find indeed several phrases very nearly resembling it, (such as Gen. xlviii. 16. my name shall be called upon them." 2 Chron, vii. 14, " upon whom my name is called;' and Is. xliii. 7, ' as many as have been called by my name, avouars,' where the original is almost exactly in point, and where the phrase, as in several other places in the Old Testament, denotes those who owned the authority of God); but no instance appears in the O. T. in which precisely this form of expression is used in the latter sense. On the other hand, the verb in its doubtful form is used seven times in the writings of Luke with a passive force, (viz. Luke xxii. 3. Acts x. 5. 18. 32. xi. 13. xii. 12. XV. 22;) and his common use of the verb differs from the common use of it in the Septuagint: there is perhaps scarcely an instance in the latter, corresponding to Acts x. 18, Simon who was called Peter.' And I cannot suppose that any one who understands the Greek language will deny, that the second rendering, are called by thy name, is fully justified by the original.

the impression that he was sensibly present; in other words, to prove that they commonly offered prayer to Jesus. At the period to which the above passages refer, the Gentiles had not received the Gospel now no Jew would offer up prayer to Jesus without an express command; and the command, as well as the example of our Lord, is directly contrary to such a practice. As therefore the N. T. history furnishes no fact to countenance the idea that the first Christians did not follow their Lord's precepts on this point, we must reject an interpretation which necessarily involves so unjustified a supposition.



The second rendering perfectly accords with the connexion, and with the matter of fact. Saul, full of persecuting rage against the disciples of the Lord, (vs. 1,) obtained letters from the high-priest to the synagogues at Damascus, that (vs. 2.) if he found any of this way' or religion, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Ananias, when directed by Jesus in a vision to go and inquire for Saul, spoke of his conduct towards the saints in Jerusalem,' (vs. 13,) and added (vs. 14,) and here he hath authority from the chief priests, to bind all who are called by thy name.' The first three expres sions in Italics at once appear to be synonymous, or at least explanatory of each other; and the last seems to be of the same import: but if we consider the phrase in question as signifying all who pray to thee,' to say the least, it has nothing to do with the case. If Saul knew no more of the disciples than what we must infer from the preceding chapters of the Acts, he could not himself designate

them as persons who prayed to Christ; nor could it, unless the history is exceedingly defective, be their common designation at that time, since no mention is made of any one's praying to Christ.-But these are the words of Ananias, it may be said. Granted; but if it could be admitted that a disciple used the phrase with this meaning as a designation of Christians, we cannot suppose that the Jews of Damascus used it with this meaning (vs. 21:) they must surely be understood to say, 'Is not this he who destroyed those who are called by this name?' or who are of this way?' and not who invoke this name in prayer?-But, it may be urged, the disciples were not yet called by this name; it is probable that they were not yet called Cbristians, but surely they were called disciples of Christ, disciples of Jesus, disciples of the Lord, &c.

53.] Acts xxii. 16. Arise and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling, makecauevos, on the name of the Lord.' Griesbach rejects rou xugiou, of the Lord, for avrov, of him; and this leaves it doubtful whether the Just one, or the God of our Fathers, be referred to in the last clause, since vs. 15 is obviously parenthetical. If it refer to God, (who saith Ananias vs. 14, hath appointed thee to know his will,) one is naturally led to the quotation before made in ch. ii. 21. from Joel ii. 32, Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.' On the other hand, considering that Saul was actually a religious man, and that Ananias had (as we have seen No. 52,) before used a similar expression to denote those who owned the authority of Christ, it seems somewhat more probable that he used it


« AnteriorContinuar »