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Jolim Pe- 13 And when they were come in, they went up into Jerusalem. | riod, 4742. an Falgar Era, 2. an upper room, where abode both Peter and James,
attachment to the government; and the gross infraction of any
moral or social duty was deemed a proof of civism, and a vic-
tory over prejudice. All distinctions of right and wrong were
confounded. Tbe grossest debauchery triumphed. Then pro-
scription followed upon proscription, tragedy followed after
tragedy, in almost breathless succession, on the theatre of
France; the whole nation seemed to be converted into a horde of
assassins. Democracy and atheism, band in hand, desolated
the country, and converted it into one vast field of rapine and
of blood. The moral and social ties were unloosed, or rather
torn asunder. For a man to accuse his own father was declared
to be an act of civism, worthy of a true republican ; and to
neglect it was pronounced a crime, that should be punished
with death. Accordingly women denounced their husbands, and
mothers their sons, as bad citizens and traitors. While many
women-not of the dress of the common people, nor of infa
mous reputation, but respectable in character and appearanco
- seized with savage ferocity between their teeth tho mangled
limbs of their murdered countrymen. The miseries suffered by
that single nation, have changed all the histories of the preced-
ing sufferings of mankind into idle tales. The kingdom ap.
peared to be changed into one great prison; the inhabitants
converted into felons; and the common doom of man com.
muted for the violence of the sword and the bayonet, the suck-
ing boat and the guillotine. To contemplative men it seemed,
for a season, as if the knell of the whole nation was tolled, and
the world summoned to its execution and its funeral. Within the
short space of ten years not less than three millions of human
beings are supposed to have perished in that single country, by
the influence of atheism, and the legislature of infidelity. Í
well know it will be thought by many, that this part of the sub-
ject has been exhausted. But in one sense, it can never be
exhausted. The fearful warnings of that dreadful revolution
ought to be indelibly impressed upon society, so long as a Sove-
reign, or a State, remain in the civilized world.
Thus it appears that man has never yet been able, by the mere
light of nature, to attain to a competent knowledge of religious
truth. Let us now take a different view of the subject, and
endeavour to shew, by arguments of another kind, how impos-
sible it is for him to lay any foundation for such knowledge,
other than that which is already laid in the revealed will of
From a consideration of the powers and faculties of the human understanding, it is demonstrable that it cannot attain to knowledge of any kind without some external communication. It cannot perceive, unless the impression be made on the organs of perception: it cannot form ideas without perceptions: it cannot judge without a comparison of ideas : it canpot form a proposition without this exercise of its judgment: it cannot reason, argue, or syllogize, without this previous formation of propositions to be examined and compared. Such is the procedure of the human understanding in the work of ratiocioation; whence it clearly follows that it can, in the first instance, do nothing of itself: that is, it cannot begin its ope. rations till it be supplied with materials to work upon, which materials must come from without: and that the mind unfurnished with these, is incapable of attaining even to the lowest degree of knowledge.
Julian Pe- and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholo- Jerusalem. riod, 4742. mew, and Matthew, James the son of Alpheus, and Simon Vulgar Æra,
Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James.
Without Revelation, therefore, it is certain that man never could bave discovered the mind or will of God, or have obtained any knowledge of spiritual things. That he never did attain to it, appears from a fair and impartial statement of the condition of the Heathen world before the preaching of Christianity, and of the condition of barbarous and uncivilized countries at the present moment. That he could never attain to it, is proved, by shewing that human reason, unenlightened by Revelation, has no foundation on which to construct a solid system of religion ; that all human knowledge is derived from external communications, and conveyed either through the medium of the senses, or immediately by divine inspiration; that those ideas which are formed in the mind through the medium of the senses can communicate no knowledge of spiritual things; and that, consequently, for this knowledge he must be indebted wholly to Divine Revelation (9).
If, then we find, from the very nature of man, as well as
from the records of all history, that he has never been able to
invent for himself a consistent scheme of religion; if his human
reason is utterly incapable of arriving at any satisfactory con-
clusions respecting God and his Providence, the nature of the
soul, or his own destiny in another state-if all his ideas on
these subjects are clearly traceable to Revelation, and as soon as
be steps over this boundary he launches at once into the chaos of
conjecture and uncertainty; we have the most undoubled evi-
dence in our favour, to prove that Revelation was necessary to
man, and that he is unable of himself to discover those interest-
ing and important truths which relate both to his present and
future existence; and the decided superiority of Revelation
over every other system which tbe ingenuity or sagacity of man
have either invented or proposed, is the hallowed and ratifying
seal of its divine origin. Who then will yet refuse to enter
this holy temple of Christianity? who will still reject the reli-
gion of Christ, for infidel philosophy and metaphysical uncer.
tainty-for endless and useless theories-for premises without
conclusions-death without hope—and a God, without other
proofs of his mercy than he has bestowed alike upon the beasts
of the field and the fowls of the air !
(a) Jones' (of Nayland's) Works, vol. vii. p. 294. (6) That which
the modern speculators call natural religion, is the offspring of culti-
vated minds, thoroughly imbued with an early and extensive knowledge
of religion, and endeavouring, by subtle distinctions, to separate the
doctrives and duties which could only have been known by revelation,
from those which they suppose to be discoverable by the power of hn-
man reason only. After all the reasonings of Wollaston, Clarke, and
others, on this subject, the only point of real importance has been dis-
regarded. The question is, whether there has ever been fonnd
tion who have been governed by natural religion; or, whether this
natural religion has made any discoveries concerning God, or the soul
of man, or the nature of the future world, or on any of these sublimer
subjects, which are at all comparable to those which are given to us in
revelation. Natural religion, says Faber,) denotes that religion which
man might frame to himself by the nnassisted exercise of his intellec-
tual powers, if he were placed in the world by his Creator, without any
communication being made to bim relative to that Creator's will and at-
tributes.–Faber on the Three Dispensations, vol. i. p. 74. (c) See
Stilling fleet's Origines Sacra-Faber's Origin of Pagan Idolatry-Gale's
Court of the Gentiles-Young on Idolatry, and many other treatises, ·
faza Pe 14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and Jerusalem. End, 47 12.
ra, supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of
Jesus, and with his brethren.
Matthias by lot appointed to the Apostleship, in the place
Acts i. v. 15. to the end.
15 And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of
the disciples, and said, (the number of the names together
were about an hundred and twenty.)
which fully prove the truth of this position. (d) See Gale's Court of
the Gentiles, Enfield's Origin of Philosophy, and the note in the
second volame of the Arrangement of the Old Testament, on this sub-
ject. (e) Bishop Porteus's Charge, Tracts 266, 267. Horne's Crit.
Introd. vol. i. p. 32. (f) Horne, vol. i. p. 31–35. (9) Bishop Van
Mildert's Boyle's Lectures, vol. ii. p. 68. This is one of the most
valuable books ever given to the world. See also Dr. Dwight's ex-
cellent Discourses on Infidelity.
3“ From this event many have inferred the right of popular
interference in the election of ministers. He indeed must be a
superficial reader who draws this conclusion, which an accurate
consideration of the history directly invalidates. The election
was made under peculiar circumstances, wbich can never recur.
before the platform of the Church was decisively established
before the apostles bad received power from on high; and when
their number was confessedly incomplete. If the number of
names, which were together about an hundred and twenty, had
been designed to comprehend the whole Church of that period,
and the women, who followed Cbrist from Galilee, (and for whose
exclusion on this occasion there is no satisfactory reason,) are in-
cluded in the number, the eleven apostles and the seventy disci.
ples, who would not separate before Pentecost, will form a very
considerable part of the congregation. But in the interval be-
tween the resurrection and the ascension of our Lord the Church
was so numerous, that above five hundred brethren (1 Cor. xv. 6.)
could be collected at one time and place to see him; and the
circumstances of his appearance to bis disciples were not
such as to afford an opportunity of assembling them for a par-
ticular purpose, nor would they at this crisis be forward in de-
claring themselves, nor is it probable that any of them would
return to bis home, before the feast, which he came to celebrate
at Jerusalem. St. Peter, however, standing up in the midst of
the hundred and twenty disciples, tbat is, of less than a fourth
part of the brethren, addressed himself only to the men and
brethren, an exclusive salutation of the apostolic college, as
some have supposed, but which appears to be an indiscriminate
manner of addressing an audience, whether of ministerial per.
sons specifically, of disciples generally, or even of Jews and
Heathens. Its precise application must be determined from
other relative expressions in the apostle's discourse. Now the
repeated use of the pronoun US, (Acts i. 17. 21, 22.) in speak.
ing of Judas, who was numbered with us; of the men, who
have companied with us; of the Lord Jesus going in and out
among us, and of his being taken from us; and of the new can-
didate's being a witness with us of his resurrection, scems to
imply in the speaker a peculiar connection and identity of
Julian Pe- 16 Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have Jerusalem. riod, 4742. been fulfilled which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of 29. 1. David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide
to them that took Jesus.
office with the persons whom he was addressing; and indeed
the allusion to the ascension exclusively confines his meaning
to the apostles. It is also worthy of remark, that in the ad-
dress of the apostles to the multitude of the disciples on the
day of Pentecost, this particularity of persons is actually ob-
served; Look YE out seven men, whom WE may appoint over
this business, (Acts vi. 3.) Again, the apostle speaks of Judas,
as baving obtained part of this ministry, of this ministry with
which you and I are entrusted, and which in the subjoined
prayer is described as the ministry and apostleship, or ministry
of the apostleship, (Acts i. 17. 21.) He speaks likewise in a
demonstrative manner of certain persons, who were present,
(ver. 21.) and out of whom tbe election was to be made, as dis-
tinguished from those whom he was addressing, and who were
to make the election, and whom he supposes to be acquainted
with the circumstances which rendered it necessary to supply
the place of Judas from among those wbo had been their con-
stant companions from the beginning (Acts i. 22.) To be a .
witness of the resurrection is an expression frequently appro-
priated in the Scriptures to the apostles, and to thom alone;
and to be made a witness of the resurrection with us, is to be
raised to the apostolate with us. It may also be supposed, that
the electors were possessed of equal authority with St. Peter,
and placed the same reliance on their own judgment as on his
recommendation ; be maintained the necessity of substituting
one for Judas, they nominated two candidates, and left the
ultimate choice to the Searcher of Hearts; while in the elec-
tion of the deacons seven men were required by the apostles,
and seven men were accordingly elected. Hence it may be con-
cluded, that the persons whom St. Peter addressed, and who
were to elect the candidates, were the apostles themselves.
The choice of the electors was however limited; they were not to
elect any new and inexperienced convert, but one of those who
had companied with them all the time that the Lord Jesus had
gone in and out among them, a description highly appropriate
to the Seventy; and if the application to them be admitted,
and if it be maintained, in opposition to the preceding argu-
ment, tbat St. Peter's discourse was addressed to them in cop-
pection with the apostles, the natural conclusion will be, that
the Seventy nominated, and the apostles approved, and Bar-
sabas and Matthias must both be included in the number of
the Seventy. But whatever was the capacity of the elec-
tors, whether apostles or the Seventy, or both acting in
concert, they appointed two; they did not presume to sup-
ply the vacancy by the nomination of an individual successor ;
they did not before the effusion of the Spirit esteem themselves
competent to judge of the respective merits of the candidates,
whom they proposed; they commended their case in earnest
prayer to God, and left the matter to his arbitration and decision;
and with this diffidence in their own judgment, 'and this refer-
ence of the whole affair to the divine pleasure, it is most in-
consistent to suppose, that they would appeal to the opinion of
an indiscriminate multitude. The election was concluded by
lots, and the lot fell upon Matthias, and in devout acquiescence.
in the divine preference, without any imposition of hands,
wbicb on other occasions was the form of ministerial ordina-
wa Pe 17 For he was numbered with us, and had obtained Jerusalem. ind, 4742. part of this ministry Füzura,
18 Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.
(19 And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldamna, that is to say, The field of blood )
tion, he was numbered with the eleven apostles. The infer.
ences from this history must be drawn with care and delibera-
tion; the circumstances of the Church were peculiar : St.
Peter's discourse was not addressed indiscriminately to the
people; the powers of the electors were limited, and they were
exercised in dependance on the divine will; the persons elected
were persons of experience in the service of the Lord; tho
choice was decided by God, who may have ruled tbe votes of
the electors pot less than the fall of the lots. Matthias there-
fore became an apostle by the will not of man, but of God; he
was translated from an inferior condition, which was therefore
distinct from the superior one to which he was admitted ; he
was oumbered with the eleven by virtue of the divine prefer-
ence: and every trace of popular election, and of ministerial
ordination is excluded (a.)
Mosheim (b), concludes, from the mode of expression here
adopted by St. Luke, that the successor of Judas was not
chosen by lot, as is generally supposed, but by the suffrages of
the people. St. Luke says, kai dwkay kinpoc avrwv; but Mo.
sbeim thinks, that if the Evangelist wished to say they cast
Iots, he would have written και έβαλον κλήρον, or κληρες. But as
it is impossible to reason from wbat the Evangelist ought to
have written, rather than from what he has written, we cannot
place much confidence in his remarks, particularly when we
consider the magner in which the Jews usually express this
idea. Their pbrase being (see Levit. xvi. 8.) Sy ing. which
corresponds to the Greek word klñpos, used by the apostle;
they gave, or cast forth the lot. As the foundation of Mo-
sheim's argument is thus removed, it cannot be vecessary to
examine his inferences. The correct interpretation of a pas.
sage of Scripture destroys a whole legion of errors. It was but
one blow of the axe that chased away the spectres and phan-
ioms in the enchanted grove of Tasso (c.)
(a) Morgan's Platform of the Christian Church, p. 29, &c. (6) Vi. dal's Translation of Mosheim, note, p. 136, vol. i.' (c) See Kuinoel, sect. 2. lib. N. T. Histor. Com. in loci and Schleusner iv voc. alñpog.
s This passage, Acts i. 19. ought to be in a parenthesis, as being spoken by St. Luke. Esse hunc vebum pro additamento Lucæ habendum satis dilucide verba ipsa docent. Quorsum enim Petrus Apostolis dixisset, Judæ triste fatum omnibus Hierosolymitanis innotuisse? quam absone fuisset etiam voces Akeldama, omnibus præsentibus satis notæ, interpretatio ! Accedit etiam quod ager ille haud dubio hoc nomen successu demum temporis accepit. Est igitur hic versus parentheseos bota a reliquis sejungendus, ukedaud Syr. Chald. 8727 bpn ager cædis, scil. cruentus a ypos aipatos, Matt. xxvii. 8 (a).
(a)Kuinoel Comment. in lib. Hist. N. T. vol.iv, p. 18. See also Pfeiffer Dubía vexata Cent. 4. on the word Aceldama. "Doddridge also, with other critics, places this verso in a parenthesis.