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no more than that the Churches of Galatia, from a prudent necessary Regard to their own Welfare and Safety, would exclude such as had created them so much Trouble, and aimed so essentially to injure them, from their Soicety, in order to make them thoroughly ashamed of their ill Conduct, and to bring them to the Exercise of that Repentance, which would make them good Christians, and fit for Readmission ; Something similar to what he wished in Regard to the Fornicator in the Church of Corinth. In all he said and did with Respect to him, he clearly displayed the purest Charity and the most enlarged Benevolence. I. Cor. v. 5.
There is indeed a Sentence, which the Apostle made Use of in Referrence to him, that has a more horridly tremendous Sound, and which seems to express greater Malignancy of Spirit, than the Words we have been here considering; I mean that, in which he threatens to deliver him unto Satan. In the two first Verses of the Chapter, the Apostle reproves the Corinthian Christians, for not having properly resented his Crime, and from a Regard to their own Credit and Safety, removed him out of the Church; and in Case they did not very speedily expel him, he proceeds to inform them, that he should
take the Affair into his own Hands, and in a full Assembly of the Church, i. e. when they were gathered together, and the Offender him. self with them, by Virtue of the Authority and Power he had received from Christ, make a public Example of him, by delivering him immediately to Satan. This the Corinthians themselves could not do; such Power having never been given to any Christian Community. None but the Apostles could deliver a Man to Satan; or put in Execution what the Apostle Paul here threatens. “ Verily I have judged (or determined) as present in Spirit, though absent in Body, in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and with his power to deliver [the Offender] to Satan.” Now for what Purpose was this to be done ? or what could the Apostle really intend? That the Devil should come and fetch him, and take him with him to Hell ? No! His Intentionwas perfectly kind and benevolent
" to deliver him unto Satan for the Destruction of the Flesh, that the Spirit might be saved in the Day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The Sound of the former Part of the Verse is not more dreadful, than the later is strange and marvellous ! Is it likely, that, to preserve the Purity of a Christian Church, reform a hei
nous Tranfgreffor, and finally save him, the Apostle, in the Name, and by the Direction of Cliris, should apply for the Devil's Affiftance ! Was the Devil a Sinner from the Beginning, whole Works Christ came into the World on Purpose to destroy, the only fit Person to be employed, when a professing Christian had arrived to a certain Height of Iniquity, or become desperately wicked, in order to discipline him to Virtuc, and finally to present him holy and without Blame to the great Lord of Christians ? The Idea is absurd beyond all the Powers of Description !
Through all the Gloom which covers the fora mer, and the Air of Ridicule and Absurdity, which invelopes the later Part of the Text, the Apostle's Benevolence and Charity shine in Meridian Glory; as he wilhed, at all Events, and by any Means, though it were a diabolical Intera position, that the Offender should be finally saved,
But I believe it will soon be made sufficiently elear, that no Asistance from the Devil' either was, or could be desired. It is most certain that the Apostle had no Defire or Intention, that the Devil fhould be any Way employed; nor is he here meant or even mentioned, any more than he was by our Saviour, when he gave the Name
of Satan to the Apostle Peter.'; The proper Sig. mification of the Word Satan is an Adversary. And such, doubtless, is its Meaning, as used by our Saviour with Respect to Peter, and also by the Apostle Paul concerning the Corinthian Offender.
Peter, though not a Devil, yet, was an. Adversary to Christ, fo, far as he endeavoured to dissuade him from’undergoing thofe Şufferings, which God had appointed for him, and through which he was to finish the Work that God had given him to do. So Satan, as used by the Apostle, has no Reference to the Devil, and means only fome bodily Diftemper, a direct Adversary to corporeal Health and Ease; agreeably to the manifest Signification of the same Word as used by our Saviour in Luke xiii. 16..“ Ought not this Woman, whom Satan hath bound these eighteen Years, bę loofed from her Band ??? i. e, is it not right and fit that her :Diftemper hould be removed, with which she has been fo long, and so grievously afflicted. So that to deliver a Man to Satan, was, at the worst, only to subject him to fome grievous bodily Disease. And this was all that the Apostle threatened to do, and which, had not the prudent Measures pursued by the Corinthians, terminating in the
Reformation of the Offender prevented, he would have done, though with the utmost Reluctance, and with the most benevolent Design imaginable. · He threatened, under the Direction, and by the Power of Christ, to visit him with some grievous Distemper, to pain and macerate his Flesh, that being thereby humbled, and brought to Repentance, his Spirit might be saved in the Day of the Lord t.
Thus, I hope, this difficult and very remarkable Text' has been set in a clear and satisfactory Light. I was the more willing to take Notice of it, and some others of a similar Kind, as they have been the Occasion of a World of Ini. quity among Christian Professors of various Denominations.
It was by attending to the Sound, without due Enquiry after the true Meaning of these, and perhaps some others of a similar Kind, that so much Countenance has been derived to that accursed Spirit of Bigotry and Uncharitableness, which hath brought such immense Difgrace upon the Christian World; filled it with Confufion and every evil Work; every Species of Villany, Violence and Cruelty, and even
# Vid. Dr. Taylor's Narrative of T. Rawson's Cakes,