Page images
PDF
EPUB

throughout this Epistle seems to be, to draw the reader to this spiritual mode of reflection in as easy and familiar a way as the nature of the subject will admit of; for this is the point of view in which its topics are chiefly considered. p. ix.

The Exposition before us has, in many particulars, been conducted on the peculiar apprehensions of the Author respecting the commission and circumstances of the Apostle Paul, to whom he represents the doctrine of salvation by faith in a crucified Redeemer as having been confided for delivery in an original and singular manner, and from whom the other Apostles received the full knowledge of it; and he describes him as failing, in consequence of his appointment to the Apostleship being altogether unconnected with that of the Twelve, to receive from them such countenance and support as would give personal consequence to his ministry. For these : views, Mr. Tolley refers us to some of his former publications, which have escaped our notice, and on the statements and reasonings of which, therefore, we are not prepared to pronounce an opinion. But to us it seems a most unwarrantable hypothesis, to consider any deficiency in respect to Christian knowledge as existing in the other Apostles, which was to be supplied by communications from the last appointed of the extraordinary ministers of Christ. To us it appears that the promise of the Redeemer assured to the Apostles the full measure of all Christian truth; and in the fulfilment of that promise, which respected the perfection of their qualifications as religious instructors, they must have been furnished with the most clear and entire knowledge of the principles which gave the gospel to which their ministry was dedicated, its distinction, as exhibiting the doctrine of salvation through faith in a crucified Saviour. The conversion and Apostolic mission of St. Paul, however necessary they might be in other respects, could not be indispensable towards the completion of the endowments of the other Apostles. For those events they never appear to have waited, as if previously to their occurrence they could be exercising only a partially enlightened and inefficient ministry. No intimation is conveyed in the New Testament of his being appointed their instructor : their ministry would seem to be in every respect independent of his call and designation. That the Apostle did not always receive the deference which was due to his high character and office, the contents of his epistles sufficiently attest; but the neglect and opposition which they detail, or which may be included in any of their references, do not appear to be chargeable to the account of the other Apostles, all, or most of whom, were the objects of similar hostility, and were partakers of the same kind of

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

1

treatment. In what manner Mr. Tolley has attempted to establish the positions in question in his former publications, we have not the opportunity of learning; but unless his reasonings be of less questionable charac!er than the following specimen in the work before us, they cannot be of much force.

• 1 Corinth. iv. 9. “Us, the last apostles,”-that is, Paul and his company. He was literally the last apostle. But I think there is an allusion to his having been appointed subsequently to the twelve, and then only by a private communication to himself and Ananias, with. out any notice to the heads of the church, or explanation to them of the reason of this unlooked for increase of their number (Acts ix. 1-30). This circumstance, in the mode of his appointment, was a great obstacle to the proper influence of his authority, as will be evident to those who attentively consider his history. In fact, it set upon him, in the public opinion, a mark of inferiority to the twelve, which was increased by the want of that cordial support from them, which their not immediately perceiving the true nature of his doctrine, prevented them from giving him (see my sermon, “ St. Paul's Thorn in the Flesh explained"). And, therefore, what he says in this verse, and in some other passages, in this and other Epistles, in derogation of his apostleship, is with reference to those things.'

Note. p. 184. The Greek construction is clearly against this explanation of the passage, and requires the rendering of the Public Version, 'God hath set forth us the apostles last.'-- TOUS OTTOOTOROUS ισχατους, is the reading, not τους αποστολους τους ισχατους, which would be necessary to justify the version approved by Mr. Tolley. We have not in detail the history of the other apostles, but there is no reason for doubting that their circumstances and sufferings were similar to those of St. Paul. The predictive address of their Lord had intimated to them the sufferings which were in reserve for them— Ye shall be • hated of all men ;' and we cannot therefore suppose that the Apostle Paul would describe hinuself as forming in this respect an example singular and unprecedented.

The subjoined extract, comprising the text of a part of the Epistle in the translation of the Public Version, with Mr. Tolley's Paraphrase, contains the passage to which he refers in his preface, and which we have already quoted, from which his mode of interpreting Scripture is professedly derived.

" CHAPTER II. * 1. And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.

[ocr errors]

* 2. For I determined not to know any thing, among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

• 3. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.

4. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.

5. That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

16. Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect : yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:

7. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory.

.8. Which none of the princes of this world knew : for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

69. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God bath prepared for them that love him.

• 10. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit ; for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

11. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him ? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

* 12. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

• 13. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacher, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth ; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

• 14. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can be know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

• 15. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.

• 16. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he way instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

PARAPHRASE. 1. • And accordingly, brethren, when I came to you in the dis

charge of my apostolical commission, I came not declaring to you the testimony which Christ sent me to give respecting the dealings of God with mankind, with the supposed excellence of arguing in support of my preaching on the principles of human

reasoning, or of delivering a system planned according to human 2. wisdom. For I did not think that even among you who are dis

tinguished for intellectual acquirements, there was need of knowing any thing as a principle for regulating the conduct, except

that Jesus is the Messiah, and that he was as such crucified. 3. And, accordingly, I addressed you on these considerations, ment of those who are perfect as to the disposition of their minds, and thereby qualified to appreciate it : yet not a system of wisdom derived from our present state of existence, nor from those who,

[ocr errors]

which in a worldly sense are weak, with a scrupulous regard to

my instructions, and much anxiety lest I should fail in a due adhe4. rence to them; and as also the enforcement of my doctrine was

not by urging the topics which human wisdom employs for persua

sion, but by an exhibition of the power of the Holy Spirit in its 5. support. Which things were so appointed in order that your re

ligious dependence might be placed, not on human wisdom, but on

the power of Almighty God. 6. • But nevertheless we publish a system of wisdom in the judgesince to be rightly apprehended it must be spiritually considered in reference to a spiritual state of existence; and therefore, to

for a time, had the lead in religious knowledge through the dispen7. sation adapted to our present existence ; but, in opposition to those

notions, we publish a system of wisdom, emanating from God, undiscoverable by human reason, and partially revealed by types and prophecies, which system, it is thence evident, God had, previously

to his temporary dispensatious, determined to introduce into the 8. world, for the purpose of promoting us to a state of glory ; which

system, however, none of those who have the lead in religious knowledge through the dispensation adapted to our present existence have understood, though it was thus revealed in that dispensation ; for had they understood it, they would not have crucified

the dispenser of this glory. But neither is it discoverable by 9. natural reason, nor intelligible to the worldly minded, as appears

from what is said by Isaiah in Chap. Ixiv. v. 4. of his prophecy, where, in allusion to the Christian dispensation, it is written, “ the things which human eye hath never seen, and human ear hath never heard of, and which it haih never entered into the human

mind to conceive, these are the things which God hath prepared 10. to be revealed to them that love him.” To us his apostles, how

ever, God hath revealed these things through the agency af his Spirit, who is fully able to reveal them, for the Spirit of God can

trace all his counsels, even those which have been kept most secret 11. from mankind. And to be convinced that it is only by the Spirit

of God that they could be revealed to us, judge from analogy with human affairs, for what human being is conscious of a man's designs except his own mind within bim? In like manner, also, no

being is conscious of the designs of God, except the Spirit of God. 12. But, then, conformably to this medium of communication, we have

received, not a worldly disposition of mind, but a spiritual one derived from God, as the means for enabling us to understand the

revelations which have been graciously bestowed upon us by God. 13. And which we publish in terins taught us, not by human wisdom,

but by the Holy Spirit, combining with them under his direction 14. spiritual knowledge for the spiritually-minded. (And we thus

act, because he who considers things with a view to this life only, which is the natural condition of every man, is not disposed to receive the knowledge which proceeds peculiarly from the Spirit of God, for to him it seems foolishness, neither can he apprehend it,

him, and so to men in general, spiritual knowledge could not be 15. openly addressed; but he, who by divine influence is become

spiritually-minded, considers all the truths of the gospel, thus delivered under these mudes of speech, in their appropriate spiritual point of view, and is, therefore, able to apprehend them rightly:

and at the same time, his results do not require to be considered 16. by any one in any other point of view.) And by the Holy Spirit

only could we be taught how to publish them; for what man has ever known by human wisdom the design of God in the gospel dispensation, and shall therefore instruct him in the mode in which the divine revelations respecting it are to be published, and without which knowledge they could not be rightly published ? but we thus have through the Holy Spirit a knowledge of the design imparted to us from Christ, and are, therefore, enabled under the guidance of the Holy Spirit to publish them rightly.' Mr. y's paraphrase of the passage which comprises the Apostolic formula respecting the Lord's supper, Chap. xi. 23, &c., may be quoted as a fair example of the principle on which his interpretations are constructed; and will very strikingly shew the manner in which he presents to the Christian reader of the Scriptures, the knowledge which he supposes to be intended by the sacred writers, and the perception of which in their writings he reckons of the greatest importance in respect to a general agreement in the profession of Christian doctrine.

. I told you that the Lord Jesus on the night in which he was betrayed (by permitting which God declared bis mission to be 24. ended) took bread : and having given thanks to the Father for

the support which he had received throughout his earthly life, he broke the bread into parts, and distributing them to his apostles, said to them, Take, eat; this bread, thus broken into parts, is an emblem of the religious and moral qualities united in me under a bodily constitution, but divided on your account, and separately distributed among you as Christians. Eat bread with this typical

reference from time to time, so as to be a personal memorial of 25. me in my bodily constitution. The cup also, he in like manner

gave them separately, after they had together eaten the bread, saying to them, This cup thus filled with wine, is an emblem of the new covenant respecting the souls of mankind, which I have established with God by means of the shedding of my blood. Drink wine with this typical reference from time to time in such

a manner, that as often as you do it, you may make it a personal 26. memorial of me as the mediator of that covenant. I cannot

therefore praise the spirit in which you perform the rite ; for it is clear from the above account, that as often as you eat bread and drink wine according to this institution, you, professedly, publish

« PreviousContinue »