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where Paul made a long discourse “Now, when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews, and religious,” or worshipping “proselytes, followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.” Afterwards, at Iconium, “they went both into the synagogue, and so spake, that a great multitude of the Jews, and also of the Greeks, believed,” Acts xiv. 1. And in like manner at other places. And particularly at Thessalonica, Acts xvii. 1; and at Berea, ver. 10; at Athens, ver. 17; at Corinth, xviii. 4; at Ephesus, xviii. 19, and 26. When Paul came to Rome, he was a prisoner. He therefore could not go to any Jewish synagogue. But being “suffered to dwell by himself, with a soldier that kept him, he called the chief of the Jews together And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law and the prophets, from morning to evening. And some believed, and some believed not,” Acts xxviii. 16—24. As for the Jews at Jerusalem, we know, from the history of the council, held there in the year of Christ 50, about the terms upon which the Gentiles should be received, that the believers were then numerous there, and greatly concerned for the establishment and propagation of the gospel, Acts xv. And when St. Paul came thither again, at the Pentecost of the year 58, as we compute, the believers there were still steady and numerous. And St. James, the apostle who presided there, and the elders, reminded him, saying; “Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are that believe,” Acts xxi. 20. By which I suppose to be intended chiefly the church at Jerusalem; though some others may be included, who were come up thither upon occasion of the feast. And about four years after this, near the end of his imprisonment at Rome, or soon after it, Paul wrote his epistle to the Hebrews, or the believers at Jerusalem and in Judea, not excluding such as lived elsewhere, to confirm and strengthen them, and fortify them against discouragements. Indeed, it should be particularly observed by us, that there were societies of believers in other parts of Judea, beside Jerusalem. For in the account of things about the year of Christ 40, it is said, (Acts is. 31,) “Then had the churches rest throughout all Judea, and Galilee, and Samaria, and were edified; and, walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.” And St. Paul, in his epistle to the Galatians, speaks of his being “unknown by face unto the churches of Judea, which are in Christ,” Gal. i. 22. See likewise 1 Thess. ii. 14. Nor were all these men of the lowest rank and condition. For, in the general account of the early progress of the gospel, we are told, Acts vi. 7, “And the word of God increased, and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly : and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.” . And we can reckon up some by name, who, upon several accounts, were men of eminence, Nicolas, a proselyte of Antioch, then residing at Jerusalem, who generously undertook a share in providing for the poor of the church : a man of substance undoubtedly, and probably a man of good understanding, and great probity. Barnabas, a Levite, a native of Cyprus, where he had an estate in land, which he sold for the relief of those believers in Jesus who were poor and indigent. Paul, a Pharisee, son of a Pharisee, a native of Tarsus in Cilicia, educated in Jewish learning at Jerusalem under “Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, and had in reputation among all the people,” Acts iv. v. and xxii. and not unacquainted with Greek literature, and a person of uncommon acuteness; who of a violent persecutor, became a sincere convert to the faith, and a zealous preacher of the gospel. In which service he laboured as fervently, and as successfully, as any other of the apostles; showing therein great sidelity and self-denial : whose disinterestedness had been so conspicuous, that he could openly appeal to the world, and say; “Though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant to all, that I might gain the more,” I Cor. ix. 19. The character of this person is so extraordinary, that I must enlarge somewhat in his history: notwithstanding the brevity which I have prescribed to myself in this article. By the special choice and designation of Jesus Christ, after his resurrection from the dead, he was added to the other twelve apostles, “that he might bear his name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:” Acts is. and xxvi. though it was foreseen, that he would “suffer many things” in that service. In the course of his ministry he preached and asserted the christian doctrine to the Jewish people in general, and before the Jewish council at Jerusalem. He pleaded also, and preached the doctrine of Christ before Felix and Festus, Roman governors of Judea, and before king Agrippa, and his sisters Drusilla and Ber
nice, who were Jews by religion; and in the presence of many other personages of great distinction at Caesarea, the residence of the Roman governor. Acts xxii.-xxvi. He also pleaded" before the emperor Nero at Rome; by whom was signed the order of his confinement in that city, which was a kind of free custody: where he “ dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence,” and with great success, “no man forbidding him,” Acts xxviii. 30, 31. At the end of which period he was discharged, and set at liberty by the same too, by which he had been confined. And then he went abroad again, preaching the gospel, as he had done before, and visiting and confirming the christian churches in several places. Afterwards, as we have reason to believe, he came to Rome again. And there, in the year 64 or 65, in the persecution of the christians, ordered by the same emperor, he suffered martyrdom, being beheaded, as a Roman citizen; so bearing his final testimony to the truth of that doctrine, which he had long preached with great zeal and diligence. I now proceed. The chamberlain and treasurer of “Candace, queen of the Ethiopians,” a Jewish proselyte, “who had come up to Jerusalem to worship,” Acts viii. 27. His high station, and the great trust reposed in him, are arguments of his ability and fidelity. His journey to Jerusalem indicates his zeal for the religion which he had embraced: and his reading the Jewish sacred scriptures, as he was returning in his chariot, shows his studiousness to understand them. His discourse with Philip, a disciple of Jesus, who drew near to him, manifests inquisitiveness and openness to conviction, which are laudable dispositions. And his conversion to the faith of Jesus is therefore a testimony to the truth of the christian religion, which cannot be slighted. “Judas and Silas, chief men among the brethren” at Jerusalem; Acts xv.–xviii. and the latter of them, as it seems, a Roman citizen. Aquila and Priscilla, Jews of Pontus, persons of good understanding, and uncommon piety. Timothy, a young man of good understanding at Lystra, who from his childhood had been instructed in the scriptures of the Old Testament, being the son of a Jewess, 2 Tim. i. His mother Eunice, and his grandmother Lois, also were believers, Acts xii. 12. John Mark, an evangelist,
* See the second Vol. (in the fifth of this edition) of “The Supplement to the Credibility,' &c.
son of Mary, a woman of great zeal and courage in the profession of the christian religion, an inhabitant of Jerusalem, and nephew to Barnabas, Col. iv. 10. Luke, another evangelist, by some thought to be the same as Lucius of Cyrene; Acts xiii. 1. If so, he was a Jew by birth. If he was not that Lucius, yet very probably he was a Jewish proselyte before he became a christian. With that Lucius of Cyrene is mentioned, in the place just referred to, “Manaen, who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch.” A " person, undoubtedly, of a liberal education. Apollos, a Jew of Alexandria, an eloquent or learned man, and “mighty in the scriptures " of the Old Testament, Acts xviii. Crispus and Sosthenes, rulers in the Jewish synagogue at Corinth, I Cor. 1; and Zenas, a Jewish lawyer, Tit. iii. 18. All these I have reckoned up briefly and imperfectly “ among the Jewish believers; designedly omitting converts from among the Gentiles. All these Jews, by their faith and profession, bore a testimony to Jesus, well deserving our regard. For they must have acted under as great discouragements as can be conceived. They underwent the keenest reproaches from the unbelieving Jews, their neighbours, for receiving a person as the Messiah, who, instead of working out a great deliverance for their nation, as was generally expected and earnestly desired, had himself undergone an ignominious death. For my own part, I always think of these early Jewish believers with peculiar respect. I am not able to celebrate all the virtues of their willing and steady faith under the many difficulties which they met with. But I am persuaded that when the Lord Jesus shall come again, he will bestow marks of distinction upon those who extricated themselves out of the snares, in
° Mavanvrs ‘How88 re rerpapys ovvrpopoc. ‘Herodis tetrarchae collectaneus.' Vulg. “At vocabulum ovvrpops latius patet, significatdue “eum, qui a primâ astate cum altero educatus est.' Grot. in loc.
* I say “imperfectly.” For I have not rehearsed all the Jewish believers, who are expressly mentioned, and by name. I have omitted several : as Jason, who was so friendly to St. Paul at Thessalonica, as related, Acts xvii. 5—9; Sopater of Berea, Acts xx. 4. These two seem to be the same who are mentioned again, Rom. xvi. 21, where they appear to have been the apostle's kinsmen, and therefore must have been Jews. Aristarchus, a Thessalonian, Acts xx. 4, who is mentioned again in the epistle to the Colossians, iv. 10, 11, written during the apostle's imprisonment at Rome, or near the end of it, in the year 62. Where St. Paul calls him “his fellow-prisoner;” and reckons him among those “ of the circumcision, who had been his fellowworkers unto the kingdom of God.” “Mnason of Cyprus, an old disciple;” Acts xxi. 16. And there are divers others, who may be observed by attentive readers of the Acts, and St. Paul's epistles.
which their close connections with others had involved them. And as “they were not ashamed of him, and his words, but confessed his name in the midst of an adulterous and sinful generation, he will not be ashamed of them, but will confess them,” and own them for his, “when he shall come in the glory of his Father, with the holy angels,” Mark viii. 38; Mat. x. 32. For certain, I apprehend, that the faith of the Jewish believers is of greater importance than the unbelief of other Jews in the time of Jesus and his apostles. II. What has been hitherto alleged we know from the books of the New Testament. It will be worth while to attend also to the informations of ecclesiastical history. There is good reason to believe, that no christians were involved in the miseries of the last siege of Jerusalem. They are supposed to have left it before the siege began. Some went to Pella, as mentioned by Eusebius," a city on the other side of Jordan. Others might go elsewhere, into" Asia, or f other remote countries, where they could get a settlement. St. John, as I suppose, left Judea, and went to Ephesus in the year 66, or thereabout, a short time before the war commenced. Some Jews of Jerusalem, and other parts of Judea, might go with him, or follow him afterwards. And, under his direction and assistance, they might procure a comfortable settlement in some places not far from him. After the war was over in Judea, it is supposed, that the believers, who had retired into the country beyond Jordan, returned to Jerusalem, and formed a church there. James, the Lord's brother, who had presided in the church of Jerusalem, died, as we suppose, in the year of Christ 62; who was succeeded by Simeon. In his Ecclesiastical History" Eusebius placeth his election after the destruction of Jerusalem; but in his Chronicle' it is so expressed, as if it had been done immediately after the death of James. That is no very material circumstance: nor are we able to determine which is right, for want of sufficient
* H. E. l. 3. cap. 5. p. 75. A. Vid. et Epiph. H. 29. vii. H. 30. n. ii.
* See The Supplement, in this Vol. ch. ix. sect. iii. and ch. xx. sect. vi.
* Credibile est, Judaeae christianos, non tantum Pellae, ad ortum Jordanis, commoratos esse, Sed et per vicinas, immo et remotiores Romani imperii provincias, in quibus tutiores esse poterant, sparsos esse, &c. Cleric. H. E. ann. 71. num, i. & See The Supplement to the Credib. in this Vol. chap. ix. Sect. iv. * H. E. L. 3. cap. xi.
| Jacobus, frater Domini, quem omnes Justum appellabant, a Judaeis lapidibus opprimitur; in cujus thronum Simeon, quiet Simon, Secundus assumitur. Chr. p. 161.