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The Editor of the work now presented to the public has only 
had to continue the labour bestowed on Cave's Lives of the 
Fathers of the First Four Centuries; which, as he stated in the 
Advertisement prefixed to that work, has consisted in a careful 
revision of the text, *nd collation and examination of passages 
quoted and referred to. 


Ambrosius, Par. 1686-90. 

Ammianus Marcellinus, Lttgd. Bat. 1693. 

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Athanasius, Par. ] 698. 

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MartyroL Aniv. 1589. 

Basilius Magnus, Par. 1721. 

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Burton, comm. on Antoninus's Itinerary, 

Land. 1658. 
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Chemnitius, Exam. Genev. 1634. 

Chronicon Alexandrin. seu Paschale, per du 

. Fresne, Par. 1688. 

Chrysostomus, Par. 1718. 

Clemens Alexandrinus, Oxon. 1715. 

ClemensRomanus, inter Patrks Apostolicos. 

Cyp nanus, Oxon. 1682. 

Cyril, Alexandrinus, Lutet. 1638. 

Cyril, HierosoL Oxon. 1703. 

Dexter, Chronicon. Lugd. 1627. 

Dionysius, Areopag. Aniv. 1634. 

Dorotheus, Synopa. in voL ii. bibl. patrum 

Epiphanius, Colon. 1682. 
Eusebius, Hist Eccl. Cantab. 1720. 
De vita Constantini, ibid. 

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Eusebius, Chronicon, Amst. 1658. 

De locis Hebraicis. Par. 1631. 

Demonstr. Eyang. Par. 1628. 

Praepar. Evang. Par. 1628. 

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et Par. 3623. 

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Idatius, Fasti consulares, inter opera Sir- 

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Julianus, Lips. 1696. 
Julius Firmicus, Par. 1668. 
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Libanius, Lips. etLutet. 1616-27. 
Nicephorus, Hist. EccL Par. 1630. 
Oecumenius, Par. 1631, 
Origen, Par, 1733. 

Orosius, Lugd. Bat. 1738. 
Patres Apostolici, per Cotelerium, 1724. 
Philo Judaeus, Ltd. Par. 1640. 
Philostorgius cum Eusebu Hist EccL 
Photius, Myriabiblion sive Bibliotheca, 

Epistt. Lond. 1651. 

Polycarpus, inter Patres Apostolicos. 
Pontius Diac. vit. Cypriani, cum Cypriano. 
Procopius, Par. 1 662. 
Socrates, Hist Eccl. cum Eusebii Hist. 

Sozomen, Hist. Eccl. cum Eusebu Hist 

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Sulpicius Severus, Verona, 1754. 

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Zosimus, Lips. 1784, 

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My Lord, 

Nothing but a great experience of your Lordship's 
candour could warrant the laying what concernment I have in 
these papers at your Lordship's feet. Not but that the subject 
is in itself great and venerable, and a considerable part of it built 
upon that authority that needs no patronage to defend it ; but 
to prefix your Lordship's name to a subject so thinly and meanly 
managed, may, perhaps, deserve a bigger apology than I can 
make. I have only brought some few scattered handfuls of 
primitive story, contenting myself to glean where I could not 
reap. And I am well assured, that your Lordship's wisdom and 
love to truth would neither allow me to make my materials, nor 
to trade in legends and fabulous reports. And yet, alas ! how 
little solid foundation is left to build upon in these matters ! So 
fatally mischievous was the carelessness of those who ought to 
have been the guardians of books and learning in their several 
ages, in suffering the records of the ancient church to perish. 
Unfaithful trustees, to look no better after such divine and 

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inestimable treasures committed to them. Not to mention those 
infinite devastations that, in all ages, have been made by wars 
and flames, which certainly have proved the most severe and 
merciless plagues and enemies to books. 

By such unhappy accidents as these, we have been robbed of 
the treasures of the wiser and better ages of the world, and 
especially the records of the first times of Christianity, whereof 
scarce any footsteps do remain. So that in this inquiry I have 
been forced to traverse remote and desert paths, ways that 
afford but little fruit to the weary passenger : but the considera- 
tion that it was primitive and apostolical, sweetened my journey, 
and rendered it pleasant and delightful. Our inbred thirst after 
knowledge naturally obliges us to pursue the notices of former 
times, which are recommended to us with this peculiar advantage, 
that the stream must needs be purer and clearer, the nearer it 
comes to the fountain : for the ancients (as Plato speaks 11 ) were 
KpelrToves rjfi&Vy seal iyyvrepa Oe&v oi/coOvres, " better than we, 
and dwelt nearer to the gods." And though, it is true, the state 
of those times is v.ery obscure and dark, and truth oft covered 
over with heaps of idle and improbable traditions, yet may it be 
worth our labour to seek for a few jewels, though under a whole 
heap of rubbish. " Is not the gleanings of the ancients (say the 
Jews) better than the vintage of latter times? 1 ' The very frag- 
ments of antiquity are venerable, and at once instruct our minds 
and gratify our curiosity. Besides, I was somewhat the more 
inclinable to retire again into these studies, that I might get as 
far as I could from the crowd and the noise of a quarrelsome 
and contentious age. 

» In Phileb. 



My Lprd — We live in times wherein religion is almost wholly 
disputed into talk and clamour ; men wrangle eternally about 
useless and insignificant notions, and which have no tendency to 
make a man either wiser or better : and in these quarrels the 
laws of charity are violated, and men persecute one another with 
hard names and characters of reproach, and, after all, consecrate 
their fierceness with the honourable title of zeal for truth. And 
what is yet a much sorer evil, the peace and order of an excellent 
church, incomparably the best that ever was since the first ages 
of the gospel, is broken down, her holy offices derided, her 
solemn assemblies deserted, her laws and constitutions slighted, 
the guides and ministers of religion despised, and reduced to 
their primitive character, " the scum and ofiscouring of the 
world." How much these evils have contributed to the atheism 
and impiety of the present age, I shall not take upon me to 
determine ; sure I am, the thing itself is too sadly visible ; men 
are not content to be modest and retired atheists, and, with the 
fool, to say only in their hearts, " there is no God but impiety 
appears with an open forehead, and disputes its place in every 
company ; and without any regard to the voice of nature, the 
dictates of conscience, and the common sense of mankind, men 
peremptorily determine against a Supreme Being, account it a 
pleasant divertisement to droll upon religion, and a piece of wit 
to plead for atheism. To avoid the press and troublesome im- 
portunity of such uncomfortable reflections, I find no better way, 
than to retire into those primitive and better times, those first 
purest ages of the gospel, when men really were what they pre- 
tended to be, when a solid piety and devotion, a strict tem- 
perance and sobriety, a catholic and unbounded charity, an ex- 
emplary honesty and integrity, a great reverence for every thing 



that was divine and sacred, rendered Christianity venerable to 
the world, and led not only the rude and the barbarous, but the 
learned and politer part of mankind in triumph after it. 

But, my Lord, I must remlmber that the minutes of great 
men are sacred, and not to be invaded by every tedious imperti- 
nent address. I have done, when I have begged leave to ac- 
quaint your Lordship, that had it not been more through other 
men's fault than my own, these papers had many months since 
waited upon you in the number of those public congratulations 
which gave you joy of that great place which you worthily 
sustain in the church. Which , that you may long and pros- 
perously enjoy, happily adorn, and successfully discharge, to 
the honour of God, the benefit of the church, and the endearing 
your Lordship's memory to posterity, is the hearty prayer of, 

My Lord, 

Your Lordship's faithfully devoted servant, 


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The design of the following Apparatus is only to present the 
reader with a short scheme of the state of things in the preceding 
periods of the church, to let him see by what degrees and 
measures the evangelical state was introduced, and what methods 
God in all ages made use of to conduct mankind in the paths of 
piety and virtue. In the infancy of the world he taught men 
by the dictates of nature, and the common notices of good and 
evil, (to irpeafivTaTov vofiijiov, as Philo calls them, a " the most 
ancient law,"), by lively oracles, and great examples of piety. 
He set forth the holy patriarchs (as Chrysostom observes b ) as 
tutors to the rest of mankind ; who by their religious lives might 
train up others to the practice of virtue, and, as physicians, be 
able to cure the minds of those who were infected and overrun 
with vice. Afterwards, (says he,) having sufficiently testified 
his care of their welfare and happiness by many instances of a 
wise and benign providence towards them, both in the land of 
Canaan and in Egypt, he gave them prophets, and by them 
wrought signs and wonders, together with innumerable other 
expressions of his bounty. At last, finding that none of these 
methods did succeed, not patriarchs, not prophets, not miracles, 
not daily warnings and chastisements brought upon the world, 
he gave the last and highest instance of his love and goodness 
to mankind : he sent his only begotten Son out of his own bosom, 

* Lib. de Abrah. p. 350. b HomiL xxvii. in Genes, s. 1. vol. iv. p. 256. 


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t&v yfrv^cov zeal t&v o-wfjLaTwv iarpbv, " the great physician both 
of soul and body who taking upon him the form of a servant, 
and being born of a virgin, conversed in the world, and bore our 
sorrows and infirmities, that by rescuing human nature from 
under the weight and burden of sin, he might exalt it to eternal 
life. A brief account of these things is the main intent of the 
following discourse ; wherein the reader will easily see, that I 
considered not what might, but what was fit to be said, with 
respect to the end I designed it for. It was drawn up under 
some more disadvantageous circumstances than a matter of this 
nature did require ; which, were it worth the while to represent 
to the reader, might possibly plead for a softer censure. How- 
ever, such as it is, it is submitted to the reader's ingenuity and 

w. a 

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An Apparatus, or Discourse Introductory to the whole Work, concerning the three 

great Dispensations of the Church, Patriarchal, Mosaical, and Evangelical. 

Section I. — Of the Patriarchal Dispensation I 

Section II. — Of the Mosaical Dispensation 42 

Section III. — Of the Evangelical Dispensation 86 

Introduction to the Lives of the Apostles - 107 

The Life of St Peter. 

Section I.— Of St. Peter, from his Birth till his first coming to Christ - - 135 
Section II. — Of St. Peter, from his first coming to Christ till his being called 

to be a Disciple - - 144 

Section III. — Of St. Peter, from his Election to the Apostolate till the Conr 

fession which he made of Christ 148 

Section IV. — Of St Peter, from the Time of his Confession till our Lord's 

last Passover - - -154 

Section V.— Of St. Peter, from the last Passover till the Death of Christ - 163 
Section VI. — Of St. Peter, from Christ's Resurrection till his Ascension - 170 
Section VII. — St. Peter's Acts, from our Lord's Ascension till the Dispersion 

of the Church - 176 

Section VIII. — Of St Peter's Acts, from the Dispersion of the Church at 

Jerusalem till his Contest with St Paul at Antioch 189 

Section IX. — Of St Peter's Acts, from the end of the sacred Story till his 

Martyrdom 199 

Section X. — The Character of his Person and Temper, and an Account of his 

Writings - 207 

Section XI. — An Inquiry into St. Peter's going to Rome - - - - 216 
An Appendix to the preceding Section, containing a Vindication of St. Peter's being 
at Rome - - - - - - - - - - - * * 223 

The Life of St. Paul. 

Section 1.— Of St. Paul, from his Birth till his Conversion - - - - 233 
Section II. — Of St. Paul, from his Conversion till the Council of Jerusalem - 242 
Section III. — Of St. Paul, from the Time of the Synod at Jerusalem till his 

% Departure from Athens - - - -251 

Section IV. — Of St. Paul's Acts at Corinth and Ephesus - 263 

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The Life of St. Paul. 

Section V. — St. Paul's Acts, from his Departure till his Arraignment before 

Felix 273 

Section VI. — Of St Paul, from his first Trial before Felix till his coming to 

Rome 283 

Section VII. — St. Paul's Acts, from his coming to Rome till his Martyrdom - 292 
Section VIII. — The Description of his Person and Temper, together with an 

Account of his Writings - 303 

Section IX. — The principal Controversies that exercised the Church in his 

Time - 315 

The Life of St. Andrew 339 

The Life of St. James the Great 348 

The Life of St. John 360 

The Life of St Philip - - - • 381 

The Life of St Bartholomew - - 387 

The Life of St Matthew 393 

The Life of St Thomas 403 

The Life of St James the Less 411 

The Life of St Simon the Zealot - - - - 422 

The Life of St Jude 426 

The Life of St Matthias 433 

The Life of St Mark the Evangelist 439 

The Life of St Luke the Evangelist 448 

Dyptycha Apostolica : or, a brief Enumeration and Account of the Apostles and 
their Successors, for the first three hundred Years in the five great Churches, 
said to have been founded by them, thence called by the Ancients, Apostolical 
Churches, vis.. Antioch, Rome, Jerusalem, Byzantium or Constantinople, and 
Alexandria 455 

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The tradition of Elias. The three great periods of the church. The patriarchal age. 
The laws then in force natural or positive. Natural laws, what, evinced from the 
testimony of natural conscience. The seven precepts of the sons of Noah. Their 
respect to the law of nature. Positive laws under that dispensation. Eating blood 
why prohibited. The mystery and signification of it. Circumcision, when commanded, 
and why. The laws concerning religion. Their public worship, what Sacrifices, in 
what sense natural, and how far instituted. The manner of God's testifying his accept- 
ance. What the place of their public worship. Altars and groves, whence. Abraham's 
Oak, its long continuance, and destruction by Constantine. The original of the Druids. 
The times of their religious assemblies. " In process of time,*' Genes, iv. what meant by 
it The seventh day, whether kept from the beginning. The ministers of religion, 
who. The priesthood of the first-born. In what cases exercised by younger sons. 
The state of religion successively under the several patriarchs. The condition of it in 
Adam's family. The sacrifices of Cain and Abel, and their different success, whence. 
Seth, his great learning and piety. The foce of the church in the time of Enos. What 
meant by M Then began men to call upon the name of the Lord." No idolatry before 
the flood. The sons of God, who. The great corruption of religion in the time of 
Jared. Enoch's piety, and walking with God. His translation, what The incom- 
parable sanctity of Noah, and his strictness in an evil age. The character of the men 
of that time. His preservation from the deluge. God's covenant with him. Shem or 
Japhet, whether the elder brother. The confusion of languages, when, and why. 
Abraham's idolatry and conversion. His eminency for religion noted in the several 
instances of it God's covenant with him concerning the Messiah. The piety of 
Isaac and Jacob. Jacob's blessing the twelve tribes, and foretelling the 'Messiah. 
✓ B 

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Patriarchs extraordinary under this dispensation, Melchisedek, who : wherein a type 
of Christ. Job, his name, country, kindred, quality, religion, sufferings ; when he 
lived. A reflection upon the religion of the old world, and its agreement with 

" God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time 
past to the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken 
nnto us by his Son."* For having created man for the noblest 
purposes, to love, serve, and enjoy his Maker, he was careful in 
all ages, by various revelations of his will, to acquaint him with 
the notices of his duty, and to 44 shew him what was good, and 
what the Lord did require of him till all other methods proving 
weak and ineffectual for the recovery and the happiness of human 
nature, God was pleased to crown all the former dispensations 
with the revelation of his Son. There is among the Jews an 
ancient tradition of the house of Elias, b that the world should 
last six thousand years, which they thus compute, Cd*Ak w nnfron 
nw oe&h w» rmn w inn, 44 two thousand years empty, 

(little being recorded of those first ages of the world,) two thou- 
sand years the Law, and two thousand the days of the Messiah 
a tradition which, if it minister to no other purposes, does yet 
afford us a very convenient division of the several ages and 
periods of the church, which may be considered under a three- 
fold economy, the Patriarchal, Mosaical, and Evangelical dis- 
pensation. A short view of the two former will give us great 
advantage to survey the latter, that new and better dispensation 
which God has made to the world. 

II. The Patriarchal age, inn ny, as the Jews call it, 44 the days 
of emptiness," commenced from the beginning of the world, and 
lasted till the delivery of the law upon mount Sinai. And under 
this state the laws which God gave for the exercise of religion 
and the government of his church, were either natural or positive. 
Natural laws are those innate notions and principles, whether 
speculative or practical, with which every man is born into the 
world, those common sentiments of virtue and religion, those 
prvncipia justi et decori, principles of fit and right, that naturally 
are upon the minds of men, and are obvious to their reason at first 
sight, commanding what is just and honest, and forbidding what 

• Heb. i. 1, 2. 

b Talm. Tract Sanhedr. cap. Halec et alibi. Vide Manass. Ben. Isr. de Resurect L iii. 
c 3. et Concil. Quaest 30. in Genes. 


is evil and uncomely ; and that not only in the general, that what 
is good is to be embraced, and what is evil to be avoided ; but in 
the particular instances of duty^ according to their conformity or 
repugnancy to natural light, being conversant about those things 
that do not derive their value and authority from any arbitrary 
constitutions, but from the moral and intrinsic nature of the 
things themselves. These laws, as being the results and dictates 
of right reason, are, especially as to their first and more imme- 
diate emanations, the same in all men in the world, and in all 
times and places, rmron moiw htt iDDianam, as the Jews call 
them, " precepts that are evident among all nations indeed they 
are interwoven into men^s nature, inserted into the texture 
and constitution of their minds, and do discover themselves as 
soon as ever they arrive to the free use and exercise of their 
reason. That there are such laws and principles naturally planted 
in men's breasts, is evident from the consent of mankind, and the 
common experience of the world. Whence else comes it to pass, 
that all wicked men, even among the heathens themselves, after 
the commission of gross sins, such as do more sensibly rouse and 
awaken conscience, are filled with horrors and fears of punish- 
ment ? but because they are conscious to themselves of having 
violated some law and rule of duty. Now what law can this 
be ? Not the written and revealed law, for this the heathens 
never had ; it must be, therefore, the inbred law of nature that is 
born with them, and fixed in their minds antecedently to any 
external revelation. " For when the Gentiles, which have not 
the law, do by nature 11 c (by the light and evidence, by the force 
and tendency of their natural notions and dictates) " the things 
contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto 
themselves, which shew the work of the law written in their 
hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts, 11 
\oyi<rfiol, the reasonings of their minds, " in the meanwhile 11 
(fieragv aXX^Xwv, by turns) " accusing or else excusing one 
another; 11 that is, although they had not a written law, as the 
Jews had of old, and we Christians have at this day, yet by the 
help of their natural principles they performed the same actions, 
and discharged the same duties that are contained in and com-^ 
manded by the written and external law, shewing by their 
practices that they had a law (some common notions of good and 
evil) written in their hearts. And to this their very consciences 

0 Rom. ii. 14, 15. 

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bear witness, for according as they either observe or break these 
natural laws, their consciences do either acquit or condemn them. 
Hence we find God, in the very infancy of the world, appealing 
to Cain for the truth of this, as a thing sufficiently plain and 
obvious, " Why art thou wrath, and why is thy countenance 
fallen : d if thou doest well shalt thou not be accepted," J1*W?* 
" be lift up r able to walk with a pleased and cheerful coun- 
tenance, the great indication of a mind satisfied in the conscience 
of its duty : " but if thou doest not well, sin lies at the door ;" 
the punishments of sin will be ready to follow thee, and con- 
science, as a minister of vengeance, will perpetually pursue 
and haunt thee. By these laws mankind was principally 
governed in the first ages of the world, there being for near two 
thousand years no other fixed and standing rule of duty than the 
dictates of this law of nature ; those principles of vice and 
virtue, of justice and honesty, that are written in the heart of 
every man. 

HI, The Jews very frequently tell us of some particular com- 
mands to the number of seven, which they call m mvn, e 
" the precepts of the sons of Noah," six whereof were given to 
Adam and his children, and the seventh given to Noah, which 
they thus reckon up. The first was mi rmsy Sy, " concerning 
strange worship," that they should not give divine honour to 
idols, or the gods of the heathens, answerable to the two first 
commands of the decalogue, " Thou shalt have no other gods 
but me ; thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, nor 
the likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or in the earth 
beneath, or in the water under the earth ; thou shalt not bow 
down thyself to them, or serve them: for," &c. From the vio- 
lation of this law it was that Job, one of the patriarchs that lived 
under this dispensation, solemnly purges himself, when speaking 
concerning the worship of the celestial lights, the great, if not 
only, idolatry of those early ages, says he, f " If I beheld the 
sun when it shined, or the moon walking in her brightness, and 
my heart hath been secretly enticed, or my mouth hath kissed my 
hand, this also were iniquity to be punished by the judge, for I 
should have denied the God that is above." The second, town 

d Gen. iv. 6, 7. 

• Gem. Babyl. Tit Sanhedr. c. vii. foL 56. Maimon. Tr. Melak. c. ix. et alibi passim 
apud Judaeos. Vid. Selden. de Jur. nat et gent Lie 10. et de Synedr. vol. i. c 2. 
' Job xxxi. 26, 27, 28. 

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I-DIS hy, " concerning blessing," or worshipping, that they should 
not blaspheme the name of God. This law Job also had respect 
to, when he was careful to sanctify his children, and to propitiate 
the Divine Majesty for them every morning, " for it may be 
(said he 8 ) that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their 
hearts." The third was cdw rvoiBttf hy, " concerning the shed- 
ding of blood," forbidding manslaughter ; a law expressly renewed 
to Noah after the flood, and which possibly Job aimed at when 
he vindicates himself,* 1 that " he had not rejoiced at the destruc- 
tion of him that hated him, or lift up himself when evil found 
him." Nor was all effusion of human blood forbidden by this 
law, capital punishments being in some cases necessary for the 
preservation of human society, but only that no man should shed 
the blood of an innocent person, or pursue a private revenge 
without the warrant of public authority. The fourth was w *bi 
by, " concerning the disclosing of uncleanness," against filthiness 
and adultery, unlawful marriages and incestuous mixtures : " If 
mine heart (says Job in his apology 1 ) hath been deceived by a 
woman, or if I have laid wait at my neighbour's door; then let my 
wife grind, &c: for this is an heinous crime, yea it is an iniquity 
to be punished by the judges." The fifth was bnn by, " concern- 
ing theft" and rapine, the invading another man's right and 
property, the violation of bargains and compacts, the falsifying 
a man's word and promise, the deceiving of another by fraud, 
lying, or any evil arts. From all which Job justifies himself,* 
that " he had not walked with vanity, nor had his foot hasted 
to deceit ; that his step had not turned out of the way, nor his 
heart walked after his eyes, nor any blot cleaved to his hands." 
And elsewhere he bewails it as the great iniquity of the times, 1 
that " there were 'some that removed the land-marks ; that 
violently took away the flocks, and fed thereof ; that drove away 
the ass of the fatherless, and took the widow's ox for a pledge ; 
that turned the needy out of the way, and made the poor of the 
earth hide themselves together," &c. The sixth was tDWi hy, 
" concerning judgments," or the administration of justice, that 
judges and magistrates should be appointed in every place for 
the order and government of civil societies, the determination of 
causes, and executing of justice between man and man. And 

« Job i. 6. * Ibid, xxxl 29. 1 Ibid. 0, 10, 1 1, 

k Ibid. 5. 7. 1 Ibid. xxiv. 2, 3, 4, &c. 

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that such there then were, seems evident from the >W>s p#, which 
Job twice speaks of in one chapter,™ " the judged iniquity," 
which the Jews expound, and we truly render, " an iniquity to 
be punished by the judges." The seventh, Tin po inn h>, " con- 
cerning the member of any live creature ;" that is, as God ex- 
presses it in the precept to Noah, n they might not " eat the 
blood, or the flesh with the life thereof." Whether these pre- 
cepts were by any solemn and external promulgation particularly 
delivered to the antediluvian patriarchs, (as the Jews seem to 
contend,) I will not say : for my part, I cannot but look upon 
them (the last only excepted) as a considerable part of nature's 
statute-law, as comprising the great strokes and lineaments of 
those natural dictates that are imprinted upon the souls of men. 
For what more comely and reasonable, and more agreeable to 
the first notions of our minds, than that we should worship and 
adore God alone, as the author of our beings, and the fountain 
of our happiness, and not derive the lustre of his incommunicable 
perfections upon any creature ; that we should entertain great 
and honourable thoughts of God, and such as become the 
grandeur and majesty of his being ; that we should abstain from 
doing any wrong or injury to another, from invading his right, 
violating his privileges, and much more from making any 
attempt upon his life, the dearest blessing in this world ; that 
we should be just and fair in our transactions, and " do to all 
men as we would they should do to us ;" that we should live 
chastely and temperately, and not by wild and extravagant 
lusts and sensualities offend against the natural modesty of our 
minds ; that order and government should be maintained in the 
world, justice advanced, and every man secured in his just 
possessions I " And so suitable did these laws seem to the reason 
and understandings of men, that the Jews, though the most 
zealous people under heaven of their legal institutions, received 
those Gentiles who observed them as proselytes into their 
church, though they did not oblige themselves to circumcision, 
and the rest of the Mosaic rites. Nay, in the first age of Chris- 
tianity, when the great controversy arose between the Jewish 
and Gentile converts about the obligation of the law of Moses 
as necessary to salvation, the observation only of these precepts, 
at least a great part of them, was imposed upon the Gentile 

«" Chap. xxxi. 11. 28. 

n Gen. ix. 4. 


converts, as the best expedient to end the difference, by the 
apostolical synod at Jerusalem. 

IV. But though the law of nature was the common law by 
which God then principally governed the world, yet was not he 
wanting, by methods extraordinary, to supply, as occasion was, 
the exigencies and necessities of his church, communicating his 
mind to them by dreams and visions, and other ways of revela- 
tion, which we shall more particularly remark when we come to 
the Mosaical economy. Hence arose those positive laws which 
we meet with in this period of the church, some whereof are more 
expressly recorded, others more obscurely intimated. Among 
those that are more plain and obvious, two are especially con- 
siderable, the prohibition for not eating blood, and the precept 
of circumcision; the one given to Noah, the other to Abraham. 
The prohibition concerning blood is thus recorded : " Every 
moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you : but flesh with 
the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat."° 
The blood is the vehiculum to carry the spirits, as the veins are 
the channels to convey the blood ; now the animal spirits give 
vital heat and activity to every part, and being let out, the 
blood presently cools, and the creature dies. " Not flesh with 
the blood, which is the life thereof that is, not flesh while it is 
alive, while the blood and the spirits are yet in it. The mystery 
and signification whereof was no other than this! that God would 
not have men trained to arts of cruelty, or whatever did but 
carry the colour and aspect of a merciless and a savage temper, 
lest severity towards beasts should degenerate into fierceness 
towards men. It is good to defend the out-guards, and to Stop 
the remotest ways that lead towards sin, especially considering 
the violent propensions of human nature to passion and revenge. 
Men commence bloody and inhuman by degrees, and little ap- 
proaches in time render a thing, in itself abhorrent, not only 
familiar, but delightful. The Romans, who at first entertained 
the people in the amphitheatre only with wild beasts killing one 
another, came afterwards wantonly to sport away the lives of 
the gladiators, yea, to cast persons to be devoured by bears and 
lions, for no other end than the divertisement and pleasure of 
the people. He who can please himself in tearing and eating 
the parts of a living creature, may in short time make no scruple 

° Gen. ix. 3. 4* 


to do violence to the life of man. p Besides, eating blood 
naturally begets a savage temper, makes the spirits rank and 
fiery, and apt to be easily inflamed and blown up into choler 
and fierceness. And that hereby God did design to bar out 
ferity, and to secure mercy and gentleness, is evident from what 
follows after : q " And surely your blood of your lives will I 
require ; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at 
the hand of man ; at the hand of every man's brother will I 
require the life of man : whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man 
shall his blood be shed." The life of a beast might not be wan- 
tonly sacrificed to men's humours, therefore not man's ; the life 
of man being so sacred and dear to God, that if killed by a 
beast, the beast itself was to die for it ; if by man, that man's 
life was to go for retaliation, " by man shall his blood be shed ;" 
where, by "man," we must necessarily understand the ordinary 
judge and magistrate, or tno hw xn rrn, as the Jews call it, 
"the lower judicature," with respect to that divine and superior 
court, the immediate judgment of God himself: by which means 
God admirably provided for the safety and security of man's 
life, and for the order and welfare of human society : and it was 
no more than necessary, the remembrance of the violence and 
oppression of the Nephilim, or giants, before the flood, being yet * 
fresh in memory, and there was no doubt but such " mighty 
hunters," men of robust bodies, of barbarous and inhuman tempers, 
would afterwards arise. This law against eating blood was af- 
terwards renewed under the Mosaic institution, but with this 
peculiar signification/ " For the life of the flesh is in the blood, 
and I have given it to you upon the altar, to make an atonement 
for yonr souls ; for it is the blood that maketh an atonement 
for the soul :" that is, the blood might not be eaten, not only 
for the former reason, but because God had designed it for par- 
ticular purposes, to be the great instrument of expiation, and an 
eminent type of the blood of the Son of God, who was to die 
as the great expiatory sacrifice for the world: nay, it was re- 
established by the apostles in the infancy of Christianity, and 
observed by the primitive Christians for several ages, as we have 
elsewhere observed. 

V. The other precept was concerning circumcision, given to 
Abraham at the time of God's entering into covenant with him. 

P Vid, Porphyr. de Abetin, lib. i. s. 47. * Gen. ix. 5, 6. r Levit xrii 11. 

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" God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant, &c. 
This is my covenant which ye shall keep between me and you, 
and thy seed after thee ; every man-child among you shall be 
circumcised : and ye shall circumcise the flesh of your fore-skin, 
and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you." * 
God had now made a covenant with Abraham to take his pos- 
terity for his peculiar people, and that out of them should arise 
the promised Messiah : and as all federal compacts have some 
solemn and external rites of ratification, so God was pleased to 
add circumcision as the sign and seal of this covenant, partly as 
it had a peculiar fitness in it to denote the promised seed, partly 
that it might be a discriminating badge of Abraham's children 
(that part whom God had especially chosen out of the rest of 
mankind) from all other people. On Abraham's part, it was a 
sufficient argument of his hearty compliance with the terms of 
this covenant, that he would so cheerfully submit to so unpleasing 
and difficult a sign as was imposed upon him. For circumcision 
could not but be both painful and dangerous in one of his years, 
as it was afterwards to be to all new-born infants: whence 
Zipporah complained of Moses commanding her to circumcise 
her son, that he was t=>w fnn, " an husband of blood," a cruel and 
inhuman husband. And this, the Jews tell us,* was the reason 
why circumcision was omitted during their forty years' journey 
in the wilderness, it was wmiwi fc-m&m town, " by reason of the 
trouble and inconvenience of the way," God mercifully dispensing 
with the want of it, lest it should hinder their travelling, the 
soreness and weakness of the circumcised person not comporting 
with hard and continual journies. It was to be administered 
the eighth day ; u not sooner, the tenderness of the infant not 
well till then complying with it, besides that the mother of a 
male child was reckoned legally impure till the seventh day : 
not later, probably because the longer it was deferred, the more 
unwilling would parents be to put their children to pain, of 
which they would every day become more sensible, not to say 
the satisfaction it would be to them to see their children 
solemnly entered into covenant. Circumcision was afterwards 
incorporated into the body of the Jewish law, and entertained 
with a mighty veneration, as their great and standing privilege, 

» Gen. xvil 9, 10, 11. « Talm. Tract. Job. c. 8, 

u Vicl Maimon. Mor. Nevoch. par. iii. c. 49. 


relied on as the main basis and foundation of their confidence, 
and hopes of acceptance with heaven, and accounted in a 
manner equivalent to all the other rites of the Mosaic law. 

VI. But besides these two, we find other positive precepts, 
which, though not so clearly expressed, are yet sufficiently in- 
timated to us. Thus there seems to have been a law, that none 
of the holy line, none of the posterity of Seth, should marry with 
infidels, or those corrupt and idolatrous nations which God had 
rejected, as appears in that it is charged as a great part of the 
sin of the old world, w that the sons of God matched with the 
daughters of men, as also from the great care which Abraham 
took that his son Isaac should not take a wife of the daughters 
of the Oanaanites among whom he dwelt. There was also 
trD* mvD, Jus Leviratus, whereby the next brother to him who 
died without issue was obliged to marry the widow of the de- 
ceased, and " to raise up seed unto his brother," the contempt 
whereof cost Onan his life : together with many more particular 
laws which the story of those times might suggest to us. But 
what is of most use and importance to us, is to observe what 
laws God gave for the administration of his worship, which will 
be best known by considering what worship generally prevailed 
in those early times; wherein we shall especially remark the 
nature of their public worship, the places where, the times 
when, and the persons by whom it was administered. 

VII. It cannot be doubted, but that the holy patriarchs of those 
days were careful to instruct their children, and all that were 
under their charge, (their families being then very vast and 
numerous,) in the duties of religion, to explain and improve the 
natural laws written upon their minds, and acquaint them with 
those divine traditions and positive revelations which they them- 
selves had received from God : this being part of that great 
character which God gave of Abraham,* " I know him, that he 
will command his children and his household after him; and 
they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment." 
To this they joined prayer and invocation, than which no duty 
is more natural and necessary ; more natural, because it fitly 
expresses that great reverence and veneration which we have for 
the Divine Majesty, and that propensity that is in mankind 
to make known their wants : none more necessary, because our 

w Gen. vi. 2, 3. * Gen. xviii. 19. 

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whole dependence being upon the continuance and constant re- 
turns of the divine power and goodness, it is most reasonable 
that we should make our daily addresses to him, " in whom we 
live, move, and have our being." Nor were they wanting in 
returns of praise and solemn celebrations of the goodness of 
heaven, both by entertaining high and venerable thoughts of 
God, and by actions suitable to those honourable sentiments 
which they had of him. In these acts of worship they were 
careful to use gestures of the greatest reverence and submission, 
which commonly was prostration. " Abraham bowed himself 
towards the ground and when God sent the Israelites the 
happy news of their deliverance out of Egypt, " they bowed 
their heads and worshipped :" z a posture which hath ever been 
the usual mode of adoration in those Eastern countries unto this 
day. But the greatest instance of the public worship in those 
times was sacrifices: a very early piece of devotion, in all 
probability taking its rise from Adam's fall. They were either 
eucharistical, expressions of thankfulness for blessings received, 
or expiatory, offered for the remission of sin. Whether these 
sacrifices were first taken up at men's arbitrary pleasure, or 
positively instituted and commanded by God, might admit of a 
very large inquiry. But to me the case seems plainly this:* 
that as to eucharistical sacrifices, such as first-fruits, and the 
like oblations, men's own reason might suggest and persuade 
tnem, that it was fit to present them as the most natural signifi- 
cations of a thankful mind. And thus far there might be sacri- 
fices in the state of innocence : for man being created under 
duch excellent circumstances as he was in Paradise, could not 
but know that he owed to God all possible gratitude and subjec- 
tion ; obedience he owed him as his supreme Lord and Master, 
gratitude, as his great Patron and Benefactor, and was therefore 
obliged to pay to him some eucharistical sacrifices, as a testimony 
of his grateful acknowledgment, that he had both his being and 
preservation from him. But when sin had changed the scene, 
and mankind was sunk under a state of guilt, he was then to 
seek for a way how to pacify God's anger : and this was done 
by bloody and expiatory sacrifices, which God accepted in the 
sinner's stead. And as to these, it seems reasonable to suppose 

y Gen. xviii. 2. 1 Exod. iv. 31. 

a Vid. Chrysost Horn, xviii. in Gen. s. 4. vol. iv. p. 156. 


that they should be founded upon a positive institution, because 
pardon of sin being a matter of pure grace and favour, whatever 
was a means to signify and convey that, must be appointed by 
God himself, first revealed to Adam, and by him communicated 
to' his children. The Deity, propitiated by these atonements, 
was wont to testify his acceptance of them by some external 
and visible sign : thus Cain sensibly perceived that God had 
respect to AbeFs sacrifice, and not to his ; though what this sign 
was, it is not easy to determine. Most probably it was fire 
from heaven coming down upon the oblation, and consuming it : 
for so it frequently was in the sacrifices of the Mosaic dispensa- 
tion, and so we find it was in that famous sacrifice of Abraham, 1 * 
" a lamp of fire passed between the parts of the sacrifice.'" Thus 
when it is said, " God had respect to Abel and to his offering," 
Theodotion renders it iveirvpiaev^ " he burnt it ;" and to this 
custom the psalmist alludes in that petition, 0 " Remember all 
thy offerings, and accept thy burnt sacrifice," in^un ruurv, " let 
thy burnt-offering be reduced into ashes." 

VIII. Where it was that this public worship was performed, 
is next to be inquired into. That they had fixed and determinate 
places for the discharge of their religious duties, those especially 
that were done in common, is greatly probable ; nature and the 
reason of things would put them upon it. And this most think 
is intended in that phrase, where it is said of Cain and Abel, 
that "they brought their oblations," that is, (as Aben Ezra d 
and others expound it,) irfenb fypm CDipD S«, 44 to the place set 
apart for divine worship.*" And this probably was the reason 
why Cain, though vexed to the heart to see his brother preferred 
before him, did not presently set upon him, the solemnity ^and 
religion of the place, and the sensible appearances of the Divine 
Majesty having struck an awe into him, but deferred his mur- 
derous intentions till they came into the field, and there fell 
upon him. For their sacrifices they had altars, whereon they 
offered them, contemporary no doubt with sacrifices themselves, 
though we read not of them till after the flood, when Noah built 
an altar unto the Lord, 6 and offered burnt-offerings upon it : so 
Abraham/ immediately after his being called to the worship of 
the true God, in Sichem built an altar unto the Lord, who ap- 

b Gen. xv. 17. c Psalm xx. 3. d Apud. P. Fag. in Gen. iv. 

e Gen. viii. 20. 1 Gen. xii. 7, 8. vide cap. xiii. 4. 18. 

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peared unto him ; and removing thence to a mountain eastward, 
he built another altar, and called on the name of the Lord, as 
indeed he did almost in every place where he came. Thus also 
when he dwelt at Beersheba in the plains of Mamre, g he 
" planted a grove there, and called on the name of the Lord, 
the everlasting God." This no doubt was the common chapel 
or oratory, whither Abraham and his numerous family, and pro- 
bably those whom he gained to be proselytes to his religion, were 
wont to retire for their public adorations, as a place infinitely 
advantageous for such religious purposes. And indeed the 
ancient devotion of the world much delighted in groves, in 
woods, and mountains, partly for the convenience of such places, 
as better composing the thoughts for divine contemplations, and 
resounding their joint-praises of God to the best advantage, 
partly because the silence and retiredness of the place was apt 
to beget a kind of sacred dread and horror in the mind of the 
worshipper. Hence we find in Ophrah, h where Gideon's father 
dwelt, an altar to Baal, and a grove that was by it ; and how 
common the Superstitions and idolatries of the heathen world 
were in groves and high places, no man can fie ignorant, that is 
never so little conversant either in profane or sacred stories. 
For this reason, that they were so much abused to idolatry, God 
commanded the Israelites to " destroy their altars, break down 
their images, and cut down their groves:"* and that "they 
should not plant a grove of any trees near unto the altar of the 
Lord," j lest he should seem to countenance what was so uni- 
versally prostituted to false worship and idolatry. But to re- 
turn to Abraham. He " planted a grove," Sum, " a tree," which 
the ancients generally make to have been a large spreading 
oak ; and some foundation there is for it in the sacred text ; 
for the place where Abraham planted it is called " the plain of 
Mamre ;" k or, as in the Hebrew, he dwelt kidd uhe, " among 
the oaks of Mamre; 1 and so the Syriac renders it, "the house of 
the oak:" the name whereof, Josephus tells us, m was Ogyges; 
and it is not a conjecture to be despised," that Noah might pro- 
s' Gen. xxi. 33. h Judg. vi. 25. 1 Exod. xxxiv. 13. 
J Deut xvi. 21. k Gen. xiii. 18. 

1 Tlapk tV tybv t^V Map&frij. LXX. Ita Vers. Samaritana : nec aliter Arabs in 
Genes, xviii. 1. 

m Antiq. Jud. L i. c. 11. 

n Vid. Dick. Delph. Phcwiic c. 12. p. 137. et Append, p. 38. 

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bably inhabit in this place, and either give the name to it, or at 
least derive his from it, Ogyges being the name by which he is 
usually described in foreign writers. This very oak, St. Jerome 
assures us, 0 and Eusebius intimates as much, p was yet standing 
till the time of Oonstantine, and worshipped with great super- 
stition. And Sozomen tells us more particularly, 0 - that there 
was a famous mart held there every summer, and a feast cele- 
brated by a general confluence of the neighbouring countries, 
and persons of all religions, both Christians, Jews, and Gentiles, 
7Tpo<r<f>6p<o<i Bk rals Ofyqaiceiais rifi&ai tovtov tov %g>/>ov, every 
one doing honour to this place according to the different prin- 
ciples of their religion but that Constantine, being offended that 
the place should be profaned with the superstitions of the Jews 
and the idolatry of the Gentiles, wrote with some severity to 
Macarius the bishop of Jerusalem, and the bishops of Palestine, 
that they should destroy the altars and images, and deface all 
monuments of idolatry, and restore the place to its ancient 
sanctity : which was accordingly done, and a church erected in 
the place, where God was purely and sincerely worshipped. 
From this oak, th*e ordinary place of Abraham's worship and 
devotion, the religion of the Gentiles doubtless derived its oaks 
and groves ; and particularly the Druids, the great and almost 
only masters and directors of all learning and religion among the 
ancient Britons, hence borrowed their original ; who are so no- 
toriously known to have lived wholly under oaks and in groves, 
and there to have delivered their doctrines and precepts, and to 
have exercised their religious and mysterious rites, that hence 
they fetched their denomination, either from Apvs, (as the an- 
cients generally thought,) or, more probably, from the old Celtic 
word Deru, both signifying " an oak," and which the Welch, the 
descendants of the ancient Britons, still call Derw at this day. 
But of this enough. 

IX. From the place where, we proceed to the times when 
they usually paid their devotions. And seeing order is neces- 
sary in all undertakings, and much more in the actions of reli- 
gion, we cannot think that mankind was left at a roving uncer- 
tainty in a matter of so great importance, but that they had 
their stated and solemn times of worship : especially when we 

° De loc Hebr. in voce Arboch. p Euseb. xep, tottik. dvofu in voc. 'A/w<£. 

«• Hist. EccL 1. ii. c. 4. 

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find among all nations, even the most rude and unpolished 
heathens, times peculiarly set apart for the honour of their gods, * 
and the public solemnities of religion. And so, no question, it 
was in the more early ages of the world ; they had fixed and ap- 
propriate seasons, when they met together to do homage unto 
God, and to offer up their joint acknowledgments to heaven. 
Thus we read of Cain, that he brought his oblation " in process 
of time," r fpD w, "at the end of days," at one of those fixed 
and periodical returns, when they used to meet in the religious 
assemblies, the word fp denoting not simply an end, but a 
determinate and an appointed end. I know many with great 
zeal and eagerness contend, that the sabbath, or seventh day 
from the creation, was set apart, and universally observed as the 
time of public worship, and that from the beginning of the world. 
But, alas, the foundation upon which this opinion is built, is very 
weak and sandy, having nothing to rely on, but one place, where 
it is said, that " God resting the seventh day from all his works, 
blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it :" 4 which words are rea- 
sonably thought to have been set down by Moses by way of pro- 
lepsis, as it was in his time, if they relate at all to the sabbath, and 
are not rather to be understood of God's blessing and sanctifying 
the seventh day, as having then completed all his works in the 
creating of man, and in whom, as in the crown and glory of the 
creation, he would sanctify himself. For that it should be meant 
of a weekly sabbath, hath* as little countenance from this text, 
as it hath from the practice of those ^imes, there being no foot- 
steps or shadow of any such sabbath kept through all the pa- 
triarchal periods of the church, till the times of Moses, which, 
besides the evidence of the story, is universally owned by the an- 
cient Jews, and very many of the fathers do expressly assert it. 

X. The last circumstance concerns the persons by whom the 
public worship was administered. Impossible it is that any so- 
ciety should be regularly managed, where there are not some 
peculiar persons to superintend, direct, and govern the affairs of 
it. And God, who in all other things is a God of order, is much 
more so in matters of religion ; and therefore, no doubt, from the 
beginning appointed those, whose care and business it should be 
to discharge the public parts of piety and devotion in the name 
of the rest. Now the priesthood in those times was vested in 

r Gen. iv. 3. 

8 Gen. ii. 3. 


the heads of tribes, and in the first-born of every family. To 
* the patriarch, or head of every tribe, it belonged to bless the 
family, to offer sacrifice, to intercede for them by prayer, and to 
minister in other solemn acts of religion. And this office he- 
reditarily descended to the first-born, who had power to dis- 
charge it during the life of his father ; for it was not necessary 
that he who was priest by virtue of his primogeniture, should 
be also the eldest of the house. Jacob, who succeeded in his 
brother's right, offered sacrifices in the life of his father Isaac ; 
and Abraham was a priest, though Shem, the head of the family, 
and ten degrees removed from him in a direct line, was then 
alive, yea survived Abraham (as some learned men think) near 
forty years. Every first-born had three great prerogatives : a 
double portion of the paternal inheritance ; a lordship and prin- 
cipality over his brethren ; and a right to the priesthood, to in- 
struct them in the knowledge of divine things, and to manage 
the common offices of religion. So that in those times there 
was a particular priesthood in every family, the administration 
whereof was usually appropriate to the first-born. Thus Noah, 
Abraham, and Isaac offered sacrifices; and Job, (who lived 
about that time, or not long after,) both for his children and his 
friends. Thus Esau was a priest by his primogeniture ; and that 
goodly raiment of her son Esau, which Rebekah put upon Jacob 
when he went in to his father, is by many not improbably under- 
stood of the sacerdotal vestments, wherein, as first-born, he was 
wont to execute his office.* Of these priests we are to under- 
stand that place, " Let the priests, which come near to the Lord, 
sanctify themselves.'" 4 This could not be meant of the Levitical 
priests, (the Aaronical order not being yet instituted,) and there- 
fore must be understood of the priesthood of the first-born, and 
so Solomon Jarchfs gloss expounds it. Thus when Moses had 
built an altar at the foot of the mountain, he sent " young men 
of the children of Israel, which offered burnt-offerings, and sacri- 
ficed peace-offerings unto the Lord."" Where, for "young men," 
the Ohaldee Paraphrase and the Jerusalem Targum have Iwttp 
>:q *D"D, " the first-born of the children of Israel so has that of 
Jonathan, who expressly adds this reason, " for unto that very 
hour the worship remained among the first-born, the tabernacle 
of the covenant not being yet made, nor the Aaronical priest- 
1 Exod. xix. 22. u Exod. xxiv. 5. 

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hood set up." So when Jacob bequeathed his blessing to Reuben, 
" Reuben, thou art my first-born, my might, and the beginning 
of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency 
of power," w the same Jewish paraphrasts tell us, that there 
were three things in this blessing conveyed and confirmed to 
Reuben, the birthright, the kingdom, and the priesthood, but 
that for his enormous and unnatural sin they were transferred 
to others ; the primogeniture to Joseph, the kingdom to Judah, 
and the priesthood to Levi. But though the sacerdotal function 
ordinarily belonged to the first-born, yet was it not so wholly 
invested in them, but that it might in some cases be exercised 
by younger brothers, especially when passing into other families, 
and themselves becoming heads of tribes and families. Abraham 
we know was not a first-born, and it is highly probable that 
Shem himself was not Noah's eldest son. Moses was a priest, 
yea, D^ron fra, as the Jews call him, " the priest of priests," and 
yet was but Amram^s second son, and Aaron's younger brother. 
So that the case, in short, seemed to lie thus ; the patriarch, or 
surviving head of every tribe, was a kind of high-priest over 
all the families that were descended from him ; the first-born in 
every family was the ordinary priest, who might officiate in his 
father's stead, and who, after his decease, succeeded in his room ; 
the younger brethren, when leaving their father's house, and 
themselves becoming heads of families, and their seats removed 
too far distant to make use of the ordinary priesthood, did 
themselves take the office upon them, and exercise it over all 
those that were under them, and sprung from them, though the 
main honour and dignity was reserved for the priesthood of the 
first-born. Thus Abraham, though but a second sod, yet when 
become the jiead of a great family, and removed int& another 
country, became a priest, and that not only during the life of 
his father, but of Shem himself, the grand surviving patriarch 
of that time. I observe no more concerning this, than that this 
right of the first-born was a prime honour and privilege ; and 
therefore the reason (say the Jews x ) why Jacob was so greatly 
desirous ^of the birthright was because, in those days, the priest- 
hood was entailed upon it. And for this chiefly, no doubt, it 
was that Esau is called /3i/3rjkos,' "a profane person," for selling 

w Gen. xlix. 3. 

* Beresch. Rab. fol. 17. coL 1. ap. Selden. de success, ad leg. Ebr. c 5. * Heb. xii. 16. 


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his birthright for a mess of pottage, because thereby he made so 
light of the sacred honour of the priesthood, the venerable office 
of ministering before God. 

II. Having thus seen what were the laws, what the worship 
of those times, it remains briefly to consider what was the face 
of the church, and the state of religion under the several 
patriarchs of this economy. Not to meddle with the story 
either of the creation or apostacy of Adam, no sooner was he 
fallen from that innocent and happy state wherein God had 
placed him, but conscience began to stir, and he was sensible 
that God was angry, and saw it necessary to propitiate the of- 
fended Deity by prayer and invocation, by sorrow and repent- 
ance, and, probably, by offering sacrifice ; a conjecture that hath 
at least some countenance from those " coats of skins" 2 where- 
with God clothed our first parents, which seem likely to have 
been the skins of beasts slain for sacrifice ; for that they were 
not killed for food is evident, because flesh was not the ordinary 
diet (if it was at all) of those first ages of the world. And God 
might purposely make choice of this sort of covering, to put our 
first parents in mind of their great degeneracy, how deep they 
were sunk into the animal life, and, by gratifying brutish and 
sensual appetites at so dear a rate, how like they were become 
to the beasts that perish. And if this were so, it possibly might 
give birth to that law of Moses, a that every priest that offered 
any man's burnt-offering should have to himself the skin of the 
burnt-offering which he had offered. But however this was, it 
is certain that Adam was careful to instruct his children in the 
knowledge of divine things, and to maintain religion and the 
worship of God in his family. For we find Cain and Abel 
bringing their oblations, and that at a certain time, though they 
had a different success. I omit the traditions of the East, that 
the cause of the difference between Cain and Abel was about 
a wife, and that they sought to decide the case by sacrifice ; and 
that when Abel's sacrifice was accepted, Cain, out of envy and 
indignation, fell upon his brother, struck his head with a stone, 
and slew him. The present they brought was according to their 
different ways and institutions of life : Cain, as an husbandman, 
" brought of the fruit of the ground Abel, as a shepherd, 
46 brought of the firstlings of his flock, and of the fat thereof but 

* Gen. iii. 21. 

a Levit. vii. 8. 


the one was accepted, and the other rejected. The cause whereof 
certainly was, not that the one was little and inconsiderable, the 
other large and noble ; the one only a dry oblation, the other a 
burnt-offering; or that Cain had entertained a conceived pre- 
judice against his brother ; the true cause lay in the different 
temper and disposition of their minds. b Abel had great and 
honourable thoughts of God, and therefore brought of the best 
that he had ; Cain, mean and unworthy apprehensions, and ac- 
cordingly took what came first to hand: Abel came with a 
grateful sense of the goodness of heaven, with a mind piously 
and heartily devoted to the divine majesty, and an humble re- 
liance upon the divine acceptance ; Cain brought his oblation, 
indeed, but looked no farther, was not careful to offer up himself 
" a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God," as being " the 
most reasonable service," too confidently bearing up himself, as 
we may suppose, upon the prerogative of primogeniture. By 
which means, Abel " offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice 
than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, 
God testifying of his gifts." c For " he had respect unto Abel 
and to his offering ; but unto Cain and to his offering he had 
not respect." 4 And if in that fire by which God testified his 
respect by consuming one oblation and not the other, there 
was (as the Jews say) seen the face of a lion, it doubtless pre- 
figured the late promised Messiah, " the Lion of the tribe of 
Judah," e our great expiatory sacrifice, of whom all other sacri- 
fices were but types and shadows, and in whom all our oblations 
are rendered grateful unto God, " the odour of a sweet smell, 
a sacrifice acceptable and well pleasing unto God " f 

XII. Abel being taken away by his envious and enraged 
brother, God was pleased to repair the loss by giving his parents 
another son whom they called Seth, and he accordingly proved 
a very virtuous and religious man. He was (if we may believe 
the ancients) a great scholar ; the first inventor of letters and 
writing, an accurate astronomer, and taught his childien the 
knowledge of the stars ; who having heard from their grand- 
father Adam, that the world was ta be twice destroyed, once by 
fire, and again by water, (if the story be true which Josephus 
without any great warrant reports, g ) wrote their experiments 

b Chrys. Horn, xviii. in Genes, s. 5. vol. iv. p. 157. c Heb. xi. 4. 

d Gen. iv. 4, 5. < Rev. v. 5. f Phil. iv. 18. « Antiq. Jnd. 1. i. c 3. 



and the principles of their art upon two pillars, one of brick, the 
other of stone, that if the one perished, the other might remain 
and convey their notions to posterity; one of which pillars, 
Josephns adds, was said to be standing in Syria in his time. 
But that which rendered Seth most renowned, was his piety and 
devotion ; a good man he was, one who asserted and propagated 
religion and the true worship of God, as he had received it from 
his father Adam, notwithstanding the declensions and degeneracy, 
and possibly oppositions of his brother Cain and his party. The 
Eastern writers, both Jews and Arabians, 11 confidently assure us 
that Seth and his retinue withdrew from Cain, who dwelt in the 
valley where he had killed his brother Abel, into a very high 
mountain, (on the top whereof their father Adam was buried,) so 
high, if we could believe them, that they could hear the angels 
singing anthems, and did daily join in with that heavenly choir. 
Here they wholly devoted themselves to the daily worship of 
God, and obtained a mighty name and veneration for the holiness 
and purity of their lives. When Seth came to lie upon his death- 
bed, he summoned his children, their wives and families together, 
blessed them, and as his last will commanded them to worship 
God, adjuring them, by the blood of Abel, (their usual and solemn 
oath,) that they should not descend from the holy mount to hold 
any correspondence or commerce with Cain or his wicked faction ; 
and then breathed his last. A command, say my authors, which 
they observed for seven generations, and then came in the pro- 
miscuous mixtures. 

XIII. To Seth succeeded his son Enos, who kept up the glory 
and purity of. religion and the honour of the holy line. Of his 
time it is particularly recorded,* " then began men to call upon 
the name of the Lord." The ambiguity of the word Smn, 
signifying sometimes to profane, sometimes to begin, hath begotten 
various apprehensions among learned men concerning this place, 
and led them not only into different, but quite contrary senses. 
The words are by some rendered thus, " then men profaned in 
calling upon the name of the Lord," which they thus explain : that 
at that time, when Enos was born, the true worship and service 
of God began to sink and fail, corruption and idolatry mightily 
prevailing by- reason of Cain's wicked and apostate family; and 

h Vid. testimonia eorura citat ap. Hotting. Smeg. Orient c. 8. p. 226. et seq. 
1 Gen. iv. 26. 

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that, as a sad memorial of this corrupt and degenerate age, holy 
Seth called his son's name Enos, which not only simply signifies 
a man, but a poor, calamitous, miserable man. And this way 
go many of the Jews, and some Christian writers of great name 
and note. Nay, Maimonides, one of the wisest and soberest of 
all the Jewish writers, begins his tract about idolatry, k urtiK ^do, 
" from the times of Enos," referring to this very passage ; he tells 
us, that men did then grievously err, and that the minds of the 
wise men of those days were grown gross and stupid ; yea, that 
Enos himself was CD^ton p, " among those that erred and that 
their idolatry consisted in this, that they worshipped the stars 
and the host of heaven. Others there are who expressly assert,' 
that Enos was the first that invented " images, to excite the spirit 
of the creatures, omyvDH} mhxb ibb&nntt, that by their mediation 
men might invocate and call upon God." But how infirm a 
foundation this text is to build all this upon is evident : for 
besides what some have observed," 1 that the Hebrew phrase is 
not tolerably reconcileable with such a sense, if it were, yet 
ion ipWi, as one of the Rabbins has well noted," that there wants 
a foundation for any such exposition ; no mention being made in 
Moses's story of any such false gods as were then worshipped, 
no footsteps of idolatry appearing in the world till after the flood. 
Nor, indeed, is it reasonable to suppose, that the creation of the 
world being yet fresh in memory, and divine traditions so lately 
received from Adam, and God frequently communicating himself 
to men, that the case being thus, men could in so short a time 
be fallen under so great an apostacy as wholly to forget and 
renounce the true God, and give divine honours to senseless and 
inanimate creatures ; I can hardly think that the Cainites them- 
selves should be guilty of this, much less Enos and his children. 
The meaning of the words then is plainly this: that in Enos's 
time, the holy line being greatly multiplied, they applied them- 
selves to the worship of God in a more public and remarkable 
manner, either by framing themselves into more distinct societies 
for the exercise of public worship, or by meeting at more fixed 
and stated times, or by invocating God under more solemn and 
peculiar rites than they had done before. And this probably 

k De Idol. c. 1. s. 1. 1 Vid. ap. Hotting. Smeg. Orient c. 8. p. 230. 

m Dionys. Voss. not in Maimon. p. 4. Heideg. de Hist Patr. exerc. vi. p. 223. 
n R. Eliez. Maas. Beret, c. 22. 

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they did the rather, to obviate that torrent of profaneness and 
impiety which by means of the sons of Cain they saw flowing 1 
in upon the world. This will be farther confirmed, if we take 
the words, as by some they are rendered, " then men began to be 
called by the name of the Lord ;" that is, the difference and 
separation that was between the children of Seth and Cain every 
day ripening into a wider distance, the posterity of Seth began 
to take to themselves a distinctive title, that the world might the 
better distinguish between those who kept to the service of God, 
and those who threw off religion, and let loose the reins to dis- 
order and impiety. And hereof we meet with clear intimation 
in the story of those times, when we read of crrm " the sons 
of God," (who doubtless were the pions and devont posterity of 
Seth, calling themselves after the name of the Lord, whom they 
- constantly and sincerely worshipped, notwithstanding the fancy 
of Josephus and the fathers that they were angels, or that of 
the Jewish paraphrasts that they were wr&\ " the sons of 
great men and princes ;") in opposition to the tD-&* m, " the sons 
of men," the impure and debauched posterity of Cain, who made 
light of religion, and were wholly governed by earthly and 
sensual inclinations. And the matching of these " sons of God " 
with the " daughters of men," that is, those of the family of 
Cain, and the fatal consequences of those unhappy marriages, 
was that which provoked God to destroy the world. I have no 
more to add concerning Enos, than that we are told, that dying 
he gave the same commands to his children which he had received 
of his father, that they should make religion their great care and 
business, and keep themselves pure from society and converse 
with the line of Cain. 

XIV. After Enos was his son Kenan, who, as the Arabian his- 
torian informs us, p ruled the people committed to him by a wise 
and excellent government, and gave the same charge at his death 
that had been given to him. Next Kenan comes Mahalaleel,' 1 
who carries devotion and piety in his very name, signifying, 
" one that praises God," of whom they say, that he trained up 
the people in ways of justice and piety, blessed his children at 
his death, and, having charged them to separate from the Cainites, 
appointed his son Jared to be his successor; whose name denotes 

° (Jen. vi. 2. P Elmacin. ap. Hotting. Smeg. Orient, c. 8. p. 233. 

'J Id. ibid. p. 234. 

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a " descent," probably either because of the notable decrease and 
declension of piety in his time, or because in his days some of 
the Sethites descended from the holy mountain to mix with the 
posterity of Cain. For so the Oriental writers inform us/ that a 
great noise and shout coming up from the valley, an hundred of 
the holy mountaineers agreed to go down to the sons of Cain, 
whom Jared endeavoured to hinder by all the arts of counsel and 
persuasion. But what can stop a mind bent upon an evil course ? 
down they went, and being ravished with the beauty of the 
Cainite women, promiscuously committed folly and lewdness 
with them ; from whence sprang a race of giants, men of vast 
and robust bodies, but of more vicious and ungovernable tempers, 
who made their will their law, and might the standard and rule 
of equity. Attempting to return back to the holy mount, heaven 
had shut up their way, the stones of the mountain burning like 
fire when they came upon them ; which whether the reader will 
have faith enough to believe, I know not. Jared being near his 
death, advised his children to be wise by the folly of their 
brethren, and to have nothing to do with that profane generation. 
His son Enoch followed in his steps, a man of admirable strict- 
ness and piety, and peculiarly exemplary for his innocent and 
holy conversation, it being particularly noted of him, that tc he 
walked with God." 8 He set the divine majesty before him, as 
the guide and pattern, the spectator and rewarder of his actions ; 
in all his ways endeavoured to approve himself to his all-seeing 
e ye, by doing nothing but what was grateful and acceptable to 
him ; he was the great instance of virtue and goodness in an evil 
age, and by the even tenor and constancy of a holy and religious 
life, shewed his firm belief and expectation of a future state, and 
his hearty dependence upon the divine goodness for the rewards 
of a better life. And God, who is never behindhand with his 
servants, crowned his extraordinary obedience with an uncommon 
reward. " By faith Enoch was translated, that he should not 
see death, and was not found, because God had translated him : 
for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased 
God."' And what that faith was, is plain by what follows after, 
a belief of God^s being and his bounty. " Without faith it is 
impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe 
that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek 

r Elmac. et Patric. apud Hotting, c. 8. p. 235. • Gen. v. 24. 1 Heb. xi. 5, 6. 

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him." What this translation was, and whither it was made, 
whether into that terrestrial paradise out of which Adam was 
expelled and banished, and whereunto Enoch had desired of God 
he might be translated, as some fancy ; or whether placed among 
the stars, as others ; or carried into the highest heavens, as 
others will have it, were nice and useless speculations. It is 
certain he was taken out of these mutable regions, and set beyond 
the reach of those miseries and misfortunes to which a present 
state of sin and mortality does betray us ; translated, probably, 
both soul and body, that he might be a type and specimen of a 
future resurrection, and a sensible demonstration to the world 
that there is a reward for the righteous, and another state after 
this wherein good men shall be happy for ever. I pass by the 
fancy of the Jews, as vain and frivolous, that though Enoch was 
a good man, yet was he very mutable and inconstant and apt to 
be led aside, and that this was the reason why God translated 
him so soon, lest he should have been debauched by the charms 
and allurements of a wicked world. He was an eminent prophet, 
and a fragment of his prophecy is yet extant in St. Jude's epistle ; 
by which it appears, that wickedness was then grown rampant, 
and the manners of men very corrupt and vicious, and that he as 
plainly told them of their faults, and that divine vengeance that 
would certainly overtake them. Of Methuselah his son nothing 
considerable is upon record but his great age, living full nine 
hundred and sixty-nine years, (the longest proportion which any 
of the patriarchs arrived to,) and died in that very year wherein 
the flood came upon the world. 

XV. From his son Lamech, concerning whom we find nothing 
memorable, we proceed to his grandchild Noah, by the very im- 
position of whose name his parents presaged that he would be a 
refreshment and comfort to the world, and highly instrumental 
to remove that curse which God by an universal deluge was 
bringing upon the earth : " He called his name Noah, saying, 
This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our 
hands, because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed :" u 
he was one in whom his parents did acquiesce and rest satisfied, 
that he would be eminently useful and serviceable to the world. 
Indeed, he proved a person of incomparable sanctity and in- 
tegrity, " a preacher of righteousness" to others, and who as care- 

■ Gen. v. 29. 


folly practised it himself. He " was a just man, and perfect in 
his generation, and he walked with God." x He did not warp 
and decline with the humour of the age he lived in, but main- 
tained his station and kept his line. " He was upright in his 
generation. 1 " It is no thanks to be religious, when it is the 
humour and fashion of the times : the great trial is, when we 
live in the midst of a corrupt generation. It is the crown of 
virtue to be good, when there are all manner of temptations to 
the contrary, when the greatest part of men go the other way, 
when virtue and honesty are laughed and drolled on, and cen- 
sured as an over- wise and affected singularity ; when lust and 
debauchery are accounted the modes of gallantry, and pride and 
oppression suffered to ride in prosperous triumphs without con- 
trol. Thus it was with Noah ; he contended with the vices of 
the age, and dared to own God and religion when almost all 
mankind besides himself had rejected and thrown them off. 
For in his time wickedness openly appeared with a brazen fore- 
head, and violence had covered the face of the earth ; the pro- 
miscuous mixtures of the children of Seth and Cain had pro- 
duced giants and mighty men, men strong to do evil, and who 
had as much will as power, vfipicrral TralBe^ teal wavTa? V7T€/o- 
oirrai /cakov Sea rrjy 8% rf) Svvdfiei ir€7ro{0i]o-iv, as Josephus 
describes them, y " a race of men insolent and ungovernable, 
scornful and injurious, and who bearing up themselves in the 
confidence of their own strength, despised all justice and equity, 
and made every thing truckle under their extravagant lusts and 
appetites." The very same character does Lucian give of the 
men of this age, speaking of the times of Deucalion (their Noah) 
and the flood ; v/3pt<rrai /cdpra eovre? (says he z ) aOe/iiara epya 
eirpaacrov' ovre yap op/cca i<f>v\a<r<rov 9 ovre £evtoi/9 eSe^ovro, 
ovre i/cerecw fjveiypyrOj avd' &v <r$l<n tj fieydXri avfi^oprj 
aTrUero' avrv/ca yap 17 yfj iroWbv vScop i/cSiSol, &c. "Men 
exceedingly scornful and contumelious, and guilty of the most 
unrighteous and enormous actions, violating all oaths and co- 
venants, throwing off kindness and hospitality, and rejecting all 
addresses and supplications made to them." For which cause 
great miseries overtook them: for heaven and earth, seas and 
rivers, conspired together to pour out mighty floods upon the 
world ; which swept all away, but Deucalion only, who for his 
* Gen. vi. 9. * Antiq. Jtid. L i. c. 4. * Dc Dea Syria, vol ii. p. 882. 

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prudence and piety was left to repair mankind. And so he goes 
on with the relation consonant to the accounts of the sacred 
story. This infection had spread itself over all parts, and was 
become so general and epidemical, that " all flesh had corrupted 
their ways," and scarce any besides Noah left to keep up the 
face of a church, and the profession of religion. Things being' 
come to this pass, quickly alarmed the divine justice, and made 
the world ripe for vengeance ; the patience of God was now- 
tired out, and he resolved to make mankind feel the just effects 
of his incensed severity. But yet in the midst of judgment he 
remembers mercy: he tells them, that though he would not 
suffer his patience to be eternally prostituted to the wanton 
humours of wicked men, yet that he would bear with them an 
hundred and twenty years longer,' in order to their reformation. 
So loth is God to take advantage of the sins of men, " not willing 
that any should perish, but that all should come unto re- 
pentance." In the mean time righteous Noah found favour with 
heaven, (a good man hath a peculiar guardianship and pro- 
tection in the worst of times;) and God oriers him to " prepare 
an ark for the saving of his house." An hundred years was 
this ark in building, not but that it might have been finished in 
a far less time, but that God was willing to give them so long a 
space for wise and sober considerations, Noah preaching all the 
while, both by his doctrine and his practice, that they would break 
off their sins by repentance, and prevent their ruin. But " they 
that are filthy will be filthy still :" the hardened world persisted 
in their impieties, till the wrath of God came upon them to the 
uttermost, and "destroyed the world of the ungodly." God 
shut up Noah, his wife, his three sons and their wives, into the 
ark, together with provisions, and so many creatures of every 
sort as were sufficient, not only for food, but for reparation of 
the kind, (miracles must not be expected where ordinary means 
may be had,) and then opened the windows of heaven, and 
broke up the fountains of the deep, and brought in the flood that 
swept all away. Twelve months Noah and his family continued 
in this floating habitation ; when the waters being gone, and the 
earth dried, he came forth, and the first thing he did was to 
erect an altar, and offer up an eucharistical sacrifice to God for 
so remarkable a deliverance, (some of the Jews tell us, that 
coming out of the ark he was bitten by a lion, and rendered 

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unfit for sacrifice, and that therefore Shem did it in his room ;) 
he did not concern himself for food, or a present habitation, but 
immediately betook himself to his devotion. God was infinitely- 
pleased with the pious and grateful sense of the good man, and 
openly declared that his displeasure was over, and that he would 
no more bring upon the world such effects of his severity as he 
had lately done, and that the ordinances of nature should duly 
perform their constant t motions, and regularly observe their 
periodical revolutions. And because man was the principal 
creature in this lower world, he restored to him his charter of 
dominion and sovereignty over the creatures, and by enacting 
some laws against murder and cruelty, secured the peace and 
happiness of his life : and then established a covenant with Noah 
and all mankind, that he would no more drown the world ; for 
the ratification and ensurance whereof he placed the rainbow in 
the clouds, as a perpetual sign and memorial of his promise. 
Noah after this betook himself to husbandry, and planting vine- 
yards ; and being unwarily overtaken with the fruit of the vine, 
became a scorn to Ham, one of his own sons, while the two 
others piously covered their father's shame. Awaking out of his 
sleep, and knowing what had been done, he prophetically cursed 
Ham and his posterity, blessed Shem, and in Japhet foretold 
the calling of the Gentiles to the worship of God and the know- 
ledge of the Messiah ; that God should " enlarge Japhet, and he 
should dwell in the tents of Shem." He died in the nine hun- 
dred and fiftieth year of his age, having seen both worlds, that 
before the flood and that which came after it. 

XVI. Shem and Japhet were the two good sons of Noah, in 
the assigning whose primogeniture, though the scripture be not 
positive and decretory, yet do the most probable reasons appear 
for Japhet, especially if we compute their age. Shem was an 
hundred years old two years after the flood, 8 (for then he begat 
Arphaxad ;) now the flood happened just in the six hundredth 
year of NoalTs age; b whence it follows, that Shem was born 
when his father was five hundred and two years old. But Noah 
being expressly said to have begotten sons in the five hundredth 
year of his age, c plain it is that there must be one son at least 
two years older than Shem, which could be no other than J aphet, 
Ham being acknowledged by all the younger brother. And 

* Gen. xi. 10. b Gen. vii. 11. c Gen. v. 32. 


hence it is that Shem is called the brother/ irun na% " of Japhet 
the greater," or, as we render it, u the elder."" They were both 
pious and devout men, having been brought up under the reli- 
gions institutions, not only of their father Noah, but their grand- 
father Lamech, and their great-grandfather Methuselah, who 
had for some hundreds of years conversed with Adam. The 
holy story records nothing concerning the state of religion in 
their days, and little heed is to be given to the Eastern writers, 
when they tell us of Shem, that, according to the command of 
his father, he took the body of Adam, which Noah had secretly 
hidden in the ark, and joining himself to Melchisedek, they 
went and buried it in the heart of the earth, an angel going 
before, and conducting them to the place, with a great deal 
more, with little truth, and to as little purpose. As for the 
patriarchs born after the flood, little notice is taken of them 
besides the bare mention of their names, Arphaxad, Salah, Eber. 
Of this last they say, that he was a great prophet ; that he in- 
stituted schools and seminaries for the advancement and pro- 
pagation of religion : and there was great reason for him to 
bestir himself, if it be true, what the Arabian historians tell us, 6 
that now idolatry began mightily to prevail, and men generally 
carved to themselves the images of their ancestors, to which, upon 
all occasions, they addressed themselves with the most solemn 
veneration, the demons giving answers through the images which 
they worshipped. Eber was the father of the Jewish nation,' 
who from him are said to have derived the title of Hebrews, 
"Efiepos, d<j> ov rou9 'IovSalovs 'Efipaiovs apxfjdev itcdkow, 
as Josephus tells us/ (though there want not those who assign 
other reasons of the name,) and that the Hebrew language was 
preserved in his family, which till his time had been the mother- 
tongue, and the common language of the world. To Eber suc- 
ceeded his son Peleg, a name given him out of a prophetical fore- 
sight of that memorable division that happened in his time. For 
now it was that a company of bold daring persons, combining 
themselves under the conduct and command of Nimrod, resolved 
to erect a vast and stupendous fabric, partly to raise themselves 
a mighty reputation in the world, partly to secure themselves 
from the invasion of an after-deluge, and probably as a place of 

d Gen. x. 21. e Elmac. et Patricid. apud Hotting. Smeg. Orient, c 8. p. 265. 

f Antiq. Jud. L i. c. 7. 

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retreat and defence, the better to enable them to put in practice 
that oppression and tyranny which they designed to exercise 
over the fc world. But whatever it was, God was displeased with 
the attempt, and to shew how easily he can baffle the subtlest 
counsels, and in a moment subvert the firmest projects, on a 
sudden he confounded the language of these foolish builders, so 
that they were forced to desist from their vain and ambitious 
design, as not being able to understand and converse with one 
another. To Peleg succeeded his son Rehu, to Rehu Serug, to 
, him Nachor, to Nachor Terah, who dwelt in Ur of the Chaldaeans, 
where conversing with those idolatrous nations, he lapsed him- 
self into the most gross idolatry. So apt are men " to follow a 
multitude to do evil,'' so fatally mischievous is ill company and 
a bad example. But the best way to avoid the plague, is to 
remove out of the house of infection. Away goes Terah to 
Haran, where by repentance he is said to have recovered himself 
out of the " snare of the devil. 11 

XVII. Abraham, the second son of Terah, succeeds in the 
patriarchal line. In his minority he was educated in the idolatries 
of his father's house, who, they say, was a maker of statues and 
images : and the Jews tell us many pleasant stories of Abra- 
ham's going into the shop in the absence of his father, 8 his 
breaking the images, and jeering those that came to buy or 
worship them ; of his father's carrying him to Nimrod to be 
punished, his witty answers, and miraculous escapes. But God, 
who had designed him for higher and nobler purposes, called him 
at length out of his father's house, fully discovered himself to 
him, and by many solemn promises and federal compacts pecu- 
liarly engaged him to himself. He was a man entirely devoted 
to the honour of God, and had consecrated all his services to 
the interests of religion, scarce any duty either towards God or 
men for which he is not eminent upon record. Towards God, 
how great was his zeal and care to promote his worship ! erecting 
altars almost in every place, whereon he publicly offered his 
prayers and sacrifice. His love to God wholly swallowed up the 
love and regard that he had to his dearest interests : witness his 
entire resignation of himself, his cheerful renouncing all the con- 
cernments of his estate and family, and especially his readiness 

& Schalch. Hakk. p. 8. citante Hotting. Smeg. Orient, c. 8. p. 291. confer Maimon. 
Mor. Nevoch. par. iii. c 29. p. 421. 

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to sacrifice his only son, the son of his old age, and, which is 
above all, the son of the promise, when God by way of trial re- 
quired it of him. How vigorous and triumphant was his faith, 
especially in the great promise of a son, which he firmly em- 
braced against all human probabilities to the contrary ? " Against 
hope he believed in hope, and being strong in faith, gave glory 
to God." How hearty was his dependence upon the Divine Pro- 
vidence, when called to leave his father's house, and to go into a 
strange country ? how cheerfully did he " obey and go out, though 
he knew not whither he went ?" How unconquerable was his 
patience, how even the composure of his mind in all conditions ? 
In fifteen several journeys that he undertook, and ten difficult 
temptations which he underwent, he never betrayed the least 
-murmuring or hard thought of God. Towards others he shewed 
the greatest tenderness and respect, the most meek and unpas- 
sionate temper, a mind inflamed with a desire of peace and con- 
cord : admirable his justice and equity in all his dealings, his 
great hospitality and bounty towards strangers, and for that 
end (say the Jews) he got him an house near the entering into 
Haran, that he might entertain strangers as they went in, or 
came out of the city, at his own table ; as indeed he seems to 
have had that most excellent and divine temper of mind, an 
universal love and charity towards all men. But his greatest 
charity appeared in the care that he took of the souls of men. 
Maimonides tells us, h that he kept a public school of institution, 
whither he gathered men together, and instructed them in that 
truth which he himself had embraced,. and he gives us an ac- 
count by what methods of reasoning and information he used to 
convince and persuade them. But whatever he did towards 
others, we are sure he did it towards those that were under his 
own charge. He had a numerous family, and a vast retinue, and 
he was as careful to inform them in the knowledge of the true 
God, and to instruct them in all the duties of religion. It is the 
character which God himself gave of him : " I know Abraham, 
that he will command his children, and his household after him, 
and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and 
judgment." And so he did, his house being a school of piety, 
wherein religion was both taught and practised, many reclaimed 
from the errors and idolatries of the times, and all his domestics 

h Mor. Nevoch. par. ii. c. 39. p. 301. 

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and dependents solemnly dedicated to God by circumcision. 
Therefore, when it is said, 1 that he' "brought with him all the 
souls which they had gotten in Haran," the Paraphrase of 
Onkelos renders it, pm »rm»l> wun xnwtn rv, " the souls which 
they had subjected to the law in Haran ;" Jonathan's Targum, 
and much at the same rate that of Jerusalem, YW1 Nnttf&J, the 
souls which they had " made proselytes in Haran;" or as Solomon 
Jarchi expresses it, k a little more after the Hebrew mode, the 
souls which they had gathered, n^tim *B52 nnnn, "under the 
wings of the Divine Majesty ;" and he farther adds, that Abra- 
ham proselyted the men, and Sarah the women. So when else- 
where we read of his " trained servants," some of the Jewish 
masters expound it by t-\mb Dr^n, those that were " initiated 
and trained up in the knowledge of the law." Such being the 
temper of this holy man, God was pleased frequently to converse 
with him, and to impart his mind to him, acquainting him with 
the secret counsels and purposes of his providence, whence he is 
styled " the friend of God." But that which shewed him to be 
most dear to heaven, was the covenant which God solemnly 
made with him, wherein binding Abraham and his seed to a 
sincere and universal obedience, he obliged himself to become 
" their God," to be his " shield and his exceeding great reward," 
to take his posterity for his peculiar people, to increase their 
number and to enlarge their power, to settle them in a rich and 
a pleasant country, (a type of that heavenly and better country 
that is above,) and, which was the crown of all, that 44 in his 
seed all the nations of the earth should be blessed ;" that is, the 
promised Messiah should proceed out of his loins, who should be 
a common blessing to mankind, in whom both Jew and Gentile 
should be justified and saved, and he by that means become 
(spiritually) 44 the father of many nations." This covenant was 
ratified and ensured on God's part by a solemn oath: 44 for 
when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear 
by no greater, he sware by himself, saying, Surely blessing I will 
bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee." 1 On Abra- 
ham's part it was sealed with the sacrament of circumcision, 
which God instituted as a peculiar federal rite, to distinguish 
Abraham's posterity from all other people. Abraham died in 
the hundred and seventy-fifth year of his age, and was buried 

* Gen. xii. 5. k Gen. xiv. 14. * Heb. vi. 13, 14. 


in the sepulchre which himself had purchased of the sons of 
Heth. Contemporary with Abraham was his nephew Lot, a just 
man, but " vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked ;" m 
for dwelling in the midst of an impure and debauched genera- 
tion, " in seeing and hearing he vexed his righteous soul from 
day to day with their unlawful deeds.'" This endeared him to 
heaven, who took a particular care of him, and sent an angel on 
purpose to conduct him and his family out of Sodom, before he 
let loose that fatal vengeance that overturned it. 

XVIII. Abraham being dead, Isaac stood up in his stead, the 
son of his parents 1 old age, and the fruit of an extraordinary 
promise. Being delivered from being a sacrifice, he frequented 
(say the Jews) the school of Shem, wherein he was educated in 
the knowledge of divine things, till his marriage with Rebekah. 
But however that was, he was a good man : we read of his 
" going out to meditate or pray in the field at even-tide,"* and 
elsewhere we find him publicly sacrificing and calling upon God. 
In all his distresses God still appeared to him, animated him 
against his fears, and encouraged him to go on in the steps of 
his father, renewing the same promises to him which he had 
made to Abraham. Nay, so visible and remarkable was the 
interest which he had in heaven, that Abimelech, king of the 
Philistines, and his courtiers, thought it their wisest course to 
confederate with him for this very reason, because " they saw 
certainly that the Lord was with him, and that he was the 
blessed of the Lord." ° Religion is the truest interest and the 
wisest portion, it is the surest protection, and the safest refuge. 
" When a man's ways please the Lord, he maketh even his ene- 
mies to be at peace with him.'" Isaac dying in the hundred and 
eightieth year of his life, the patriarchate devolved upon his son 
Jacob, by virtue of the primogeniture which he had purchased of 
his brother Esau, and which had been confirmed to him by the 
grant and blessing of his father, (though subtly procured by the 
artifice and policy of his mother,) who also told him, that " God 
Almighty would bless and multiply him and his seed after him, 
and that the blessing of Abraham should come upon them." He 
entirely devoted himself to the fear and service of God, kept up 
his worship, and vindicated it from the encroachments of idolatry; 
he erected altars at every turn, and zealously purged his house 

"» Pet ii. 7, 8. n Gen. xxiv. 63. • Gen. xxvi. 28, 29. 

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from those teraphim or idols which Rachel had brought along 
with her out of Laban's house, either to prevent her father's in- 
quiring at them which way Jacob had made his escape, or to 
take away from him the instruments of his idolatry, or possibly 
that . she might have wherewith to propitiate and pacify her 
father, in case he should pursue and overtake them, as Josephus 
thinks, p though surely then she would have produced them, 
when she saw her father so zealous to retrieve them. He had 
frequent visions and divine condescensions; God appearing to him, 
and ratifying the covenant that he had made with Abraham, and 
changing his name from Jacob to Israel, as a memorial of the 
mighty prevalency which he had with heaven. In his latter 
time he removed his family into Egypt, where God had pre- 
pared his way by the preferment of his son Joseph to be viceroy 
and lord of that vast and fertile country, advanced to that place 
of state and grandeur by many strange and unsearchable methods 
of the Divine Providence. By his two wives, the daughters of 
his uncle Laban, and his two handmaids, he had twelve sons, 
who afterwards became founders of the twelve tribes of the 
Jewish nation: to whom upon his death-bed he bequeathed his 
blessings, consigning their several portions, and the particular 
fates of every tribe ; among whom that of J udah is most re- 
markable, to whom it was foretold, q that the Messiah should 
arise out of that tribe, that the regal power and political sove- 
reignty should be annexed to it, and remain in it till the Messiah 
came, at whose coming the "sceptre should depart, and the 
lawgiver from between his knees."" And thus all their own 
paraphrasts, both Onkelos, Jonathan, and he of Jerusalem, do 
expound it, that there should " not want kings or rulers of the 
house of Judah, nor scribes to teach the law of that race, 
wrote wrr ntti «m»D *ote ]di ry, until the time that 
Messiah the king shall come, whose the kingdom is." And so it 
accordingly came to pass, for at the time of Christ's birth, Herod, 
who was a stranger, had usurped the throne, debased the autho- 
rity of their great sanhedrim, murdered their senators, divested 
them of all judiciary power, and kept them so low, that they 
had not power left to put a man to death. "And unto him 
shall the gathering of the people be." A prophecy exactly ac- 
complished, when in the first ages of Christianity the nations of 

P Antiq. Jud. 1. i. c. 19. « Gen. xlix. 10. 


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the world flocked to the standard of Christ at the publication of 
the gospel. Jacob died one hundred and forty-seven years old, 
and was buried in Canaan, in the sepulchre of his fathers; 
after whose decease his posterity for some hundreds of years 
were afflicted under the Egyptian yoke : till God, remembering 
the covenant he had made with their fathers, powerfully rescued 
them from the iron furnace, and conducted them through the 
wilderness into the land of promise, where he framed and or- 
dered their commonwealth, appointed laws for the government 
of the church, and settled them under a more fixed and certain 

XIX. Hitherto we have surveyed the state of the church in 
the constant succession of the patriarchal line. But if we step 
a little farther into the history of those times, we shall find that 
there were some extraordinary persons without the pale of that 
holy tribe, renowned for the worship of God, and the profession 
of religion ; among whom two are most considerable, Mel- 
chisedek and Job. Melchisedek was king of Salem in the land 
of Canaan, and " priest of the most high God." The short ac- 
count which the scripture gives of him, hath left room for various 
fancies and conjectures. The opinion that has most generally 
obtained is, that Melchisedek was Shem, one of the sons of Noah, 
who was of a great age, and lived above seventy years after 
Abraham's coming into Canaan, and might therefore well enough 
meet him in his triumphant return from his conquest over the 
• kings of the plain. But notwithstanding the universal authority 
which this opinion assumes to itself, it appears not to me with 
any tolerable probability, partly • because Canaan, where Mel- 
chisedek lived, was none of those countries which were allotted 
to Shem and to his posterity, and unlikely it is that he should 
be prince in a foreign country : partly, because those things 
which the scripture reports concerning Melchisedek, do no ways 
agree to Shem, as that "-he was without father and mother, 
without genealogy," &c. whenas Moses does most exactly de- 
scribe and record Shem and his family, both as to his ancestors 
and as to his posterity. That therefore which seems most pro- 
bable in the case is, that he was one of the reguli or petty 
kings (whereof there were many) in the land of Canaan, but a 
pious and devout man, and a worshipper of the true God, as 
ihere were many others in those days among the idolatrous 

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nations ; he being extraordinarily raised up by God from among 
the Canaanites, and brought in without mention of parents, 
original or end, without any predecessor or successor in his 
office, that he might be a fitter type of the royal and eternal 
priesthood of Christ. And for any more particular account 
concerning his person, it were folly and rashness over-curiously 
to inquire after what God seems industriously to have concealed 
from us. The great character under which the scripture takes 
notice of him, is his relation to our blessed Saviour, who is more 
than once said to " be a priest, " Kara Tagw, " after the order,' 1 
in the same way and manner that Melchisedek was, or (as the 
apostle explains himself") "after the similitude of Melchisedek. 17 
Our Lord was such a priest as Melchisedek was, there being a 
nearer similitude and conformity between them, than ever was 
between any other priests whatsoever : a subject which St. Paul 
largely and particularly treats of. Passing by the minuter 
instances of the parallel, taken from the name of his person, 
Melchisedek, that is, " King of righteousness," and his title to 
his kingdom, " king of Salem," that is, " of peace ;" we shall 
observe three things especially wherein he was a type of Christ. 
First, in the peculiar qualification of his person, something being 
recorded of him uncommon to the rest of men, and that is, that 
he was " without father, without mother, and without descent." 5 
Not that Melchisedek, like Adam, was immediately created, or 
in an instant dropped down from heaven, but that he hath no 
kindred recorded in the story, which brings him in without any 
mention of father or mother, ov/c tafiev wore rlva irarepa eo-^ev, 
rj rlva firjrepa^ as Chrysostom glosses, " we know not what 
father or mother he had:"* he was (says St. Paul) ayeve- 
oXoyrjro^ " without genealogy," without having any pedigree 
extant upon record ; whence the ancient Syriac version truly 
expresses the sense of the whole passage, thus, " Whose neither 
father nor mother are written among the generations," that is, 
the genealogies of the ancient patriarchs. And thus he emi- 
nently typified Christ, of whom this is really true : he is without 
father in respect of his human nature, begotten only of a pure 
virgin ; without mother, in respect of his divinity, being begotten 
of his Father before all worlds, by an eternal and ineffable ge- 
neration. Secondly, Melchisedek typified our Saviour in the 

r Heb. vii. 15. • Heb. vii. 3. 1 Horn. xii. in Hebr. s. 1. vol. xil p. 121. 

D 2 

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duration and continuance of his office ; for so it is said of him, 
that he was " without descent, having neither beginning of days, 
nor end of life, but made like unto the Son of Go'd, abideth a 
priest continually :" by which we are not to understand that 
Melchisedek never died, for being a man he was subject to the 
same common law of mortality with other men ; but the mean- 
ing is, that as he is said to be 44 without father and mother," 
because the scripture speaking of him makes no mention of his 
parents, his genealogy, and descent, so he is said to " abide a 
priest for ever, without any beginning of days, or end of life," 
because we have no account of any that either preceded or 
succeeded him in his office, no mention of the time either when 
he took it up or laid it down. And herein how lively and 
eminent a type of Christ, the true Melchisedek, who, as to his 
divine nature, was without beginning of days from eternal ages, 
and who either in the execution or virtue of his office abides for 
ever. There is no abolition, no translation of his office, no ex- 
pectation of any to arise that shall succeed him in it : " He was 
made a priest, not after the law of a carnal commandment," a 
transient and mutable dispensation, " but after the power of an 
endless life." Thirdly, Melchisedek was a type of Christ in hb 
excellency above all other priests. St. Paul's great design is to 
evince the preeminence and precedency of Melchisedek above 
all the priests of the Mosaic ministration ; yea, above Abraham 
himself, the founder and father of the' Jewish nation, from whom 
they reckoned it so great an honour to derive themselves. And 
this the apostle proves by a double instance. First, that 
Abraham, in whose loins the Levitical priests then were, paid 
tithes to Melchisedek, when he 44 gave him the tenth of all his 
spoils," as due to God and his ministers, thereby confessing him- 
self and his posterity inferior to him. 64 Now consider how 
great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham 
gave the tenth of the spoils."" Secondly, that Melchisedek con- 
ferred upon Abraham a solemn benediction, it being a standing 
part of the priest's office to bless the people. And this was an 
undeniable argument of superiority. 44 He whose descent is not 
counted from them (the legal priests) received tithes of Abra- 
ham, and blessed him that had the promises : and without all 
contradiction, the less is blessed of the better." x Whereby it 

u Heb. vii. 4, 5, 6, etc. * Ibid. 6, 7. 


evidently appears, that Melchisedek was greater than Abraham, 
and consequently than all the Levitical priests that descended 
from him. Now herein he admirably prefigured and shadowed 
out our blessed Saviour, a person peculiarly chosen out by God, 
sent into the world upon a nobler and a more important errand, 
owned by more solemn and mighty attestations from heaven, 
than ever was any other person ; his office incomparably beyond 
that of the legal economy, his person greater, his undertaking 
weightier, his design more sublime and excellent, his oblation 
more valuable and meritorious, his prayers more prevalent and 
successful, his office more durable and lasting, than ever any 
whose business it was to intercede and mediate between God 
and man. 

XX. The other extraordinary person under this economy is 
Job, concerning whom two things are to be inquired into — who 
he was, and when he lived. For the first, we find him described 
by his name, his country, his kindred, his quality, his religion, 
and his sufferings, though in many of them we are left under 
great uncertainties, and to the satisfaction only of probable con- 
jectures. For his name, among many conjectures, two are 
especially considerable, though founded upon very different rea- 
sons; one, that it is from nv«, signifying one that " grieves 11 or 
groans, mystically presaging those grievous miseries and suffer- 
ings that afterwards came upon him ; the other, more probably, 
from sn% to "love," or to desire, noting him the desire and delight 
of his parents, earnestly prayed for, and affectionately embraced 
with the tenderest endearments. His country was the land of 
Uz, though where that was, is almost as much disputed as about 
the source of Nilus: some will have it Armenia; others Palestine, 
or the land of Canaan ; and some of the Jewish masters assure 
us, that lurno rvn, u his school," or place of institution, was at 
Tiberias, and nothing more commonly shewed to travellers than 
Joh's well, in the way between Ramah and Jerusalem ; others 
place it in Syria, near Damascus, so called from Uz, the supposed 
founder of that city; others, a little more northward, at Apamea, 
now called Hama, where his house is said to be shewed at this 
day. Most make it to be part of IdumaBa, near mount Seir, or 
else Arabia the Desert, (probably it was in the confines of both,) 
this part of Arabia being nearest to the Sabaeans and Ghaldseans, 
who invaded him, and most applicable to his dwelling among the 


" sons of the East," to the situation of his friends who came to 
visit him, and best corresponding with those frequent Arabisms 
discernible both in the language and discourses of Job and his 
friends ; not to say that this country produced persons exceed- 
ingly addicted to learning and contemplation, and the studies of 
natural philosophy, whence the wise men who came out of the 
East to worship Christ are thought by many to have been 
Arabians. For his kindred and his friends, we find four taken 
notice of, who came to visit him in his distress : Eliphaz the 
Temanite, the son probably of Teman, and grand-child of Esau 
by his eldest son Eliphaz, the country deriving its name Teman 
from his father, and was situate in Idumsea, in the borders of the 
Desert Arabia ; Bildad the Shuhite, a descendant in all likelihood 
of Shuah, one of the sons of Abraham by his wife Keturah, whose 
seat was in this part of Arabia; Zophar the Naamathite, a 
country lying near those parts ; and Elihu the Buzite, of the 
offspring of Buz, the son of Nahor, and so nearly related to Job 
himself. He " was the son of Barachel, of the kindred of Ram," 
who was the head of the family, and his habitation was in the 
parts of Arabia the Desert, near Euphrates, or at least in the 
southern part of Mesopotamia bordering upon it. As for Job 
himself, he is made by some a Canaanite, of the posterity of 
Ham ; by others to descend from Shem, by his son Amram, 
whose eldest son's name was Uz ; by most from Esau, the father 
of the Idumsean nations : but most probably, either from Nahor, 
Abraham's brother, whose sons were Huz, Buz, Chesed, &c, or 
from Abraham himself by some of the sons which he had by his 
wife Keturah ; whereby an account is most probably given, how 
Job came to be imbued with those seeds of piety and true 
religion for which he was so eminently remarkable, as deriving 
them from those religious principles and instructions which 
Abraham and Nahor had bequeathed to their posterity. His 
quality and the circumstances of his external state were very 
considerable, a man rich and honourable : " His substance was 
seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five 
hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she-asses, and a very 
great household," so that he was " the greatest of all the men of 
the East ;" himself largely describes the great honour and pros- 
perity of his fortunes, that " he washed his steps in butter, and 
the rock poured out rivers of oil ; when he went out to the gate 


through the city, and prepared his seat in the street, the young 
men saw him and hid themselves, the aged arose and stood up, 
the princes refrained talking, and laid their hand on their mouth, 
&c. He delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and 
him that had none to help him, the blessing of him that was ready 
to perish came upon him, &c. He brake the jaws of the wicked, 
and plucked the spoil out of their teeth," &c. Indeed, so great 
his state and dignity, that it has led many into a persuasion 
that he was king of Idumaea, a powerful and mighty prince : 
a fancy that has received no small encouragement from the 
common but groundless confounding of Job with Jobab, king of 
Edom, of the race of Esau. For the story gives no intimation 
of any such royal dignity to which Job was advanced, but always 
speaks of him as a private person, though exceeding wealthy 
and prosperous, and thereby probably of extraordinary power 
and estimation in his country. Nay, that he might not want fit 
companions in his regal capacity, three of his friends are made 
kings as well as he, the Septuagint translators themselves styling 
Eliphaz king of the Temanites, Bildad of the Shubites, and 
Zophar king of the Minseans, though with as little, probably less, 
reason than the former. 

XXL But whatever his condition was, we are sure he was no 
less eminent for piety and religion : he " was a man perfect and 
upright, one that feared God and eschewed evil." Though living 
among the idolatrous Gentiles, he kept up the true and sincere 
worship of God, daily offered up sacrifices and prayers to heaven, 
piously instructed his children and family, lived in an entire 
dependence upon the Divine Providence, in all bis discourses ex- 
pressed the highest and most honourable sentiments and thoughts 
of God, and such as best became the majesty of an infinite being ; 
in all transactions he was just and righteous, compassionate and 
charitable, modest and humble ; indeed, by the character of God 
himself, who knew him best, " there was none like him in the 
earth, a perfect and an upright man, fearing God, and eschewing 
evil;" his mind was submissive and compliant, his patience 
generous and unshaken, great even to a proverb, " you have 
heard of the patience of Job." And enough he had to try it to 
the utmost, if we consider what sufferings he underwent ; those 
evils which are wont but singly to seize upon other men, all 
centred and met in him. Plundered in bis estate by the Saba?an 

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and Chaldsean freebooters, (whose standing livelihood were spoils 
and robberies,) and not an ox or ass left of all the herd, not a 
sheep or a lamb either for food or sacrifice : undone in his pos- 
terity, his seven sons and three daughters being all slain at once 
by the fall of one house : blasted in his credit and good name, 
and that by his nearest friends, who traduced and challenged him 
for a dissembler and an hypocrite. Ruined in his health, being 
smitten with sore boils from the crown of the head to the sole 
of the foot, till his body became a very hospital of diseases: 
tormented in his mind with sad and uncomfortable reflections, 
" the arrows of the Almighty being shot within him, the poison 
whereof drank up his spirit, the terrors of God setting themselves 
in array against him all which were aggravated and set home 
by Satan, the grand engineer of all those torments ; and all this 
continuing for at least twelve months, (say the Jews,) probably 
for a much longer time, and yet endured with great courage and 
fortitude of mind, till God put a period to this tedious trial, and 
crowned his sufferings with an ample restitution. We have seen 
who this excellent person was, we are next to inquire when he 
lived. And here we meet with almost an infinite variety of 
opinions, 5 some making him contemporary with Abraham, others 
with Jacob, which had he been, we should doubtless have found 
some mention of him in their story, as well as we do of Mel- 
chisedek ; others again refer him to the time of the law given at 
mount Sinai, and the Israelites' travels in the wilderness ; others 
to the times of the judges after the settlement of the Israelites in 
the land of promise; nay, some to the reign of David and Solomon; 
and I know not whether the reader will not smile at the fancy 
of the Turkish chronologists, 2 who make Job major-domo to Solo- 
mon, as they make Alexander the Great the general of his army. 
Others go farther, and place him among those that were carried 
away in the Babylonish captivity, yea, in the time of Aha- 
suerus, and make his fair daughters to be of the number of those 
beautiful young virgins that were sought for for the king : follies 
•that need no confutation. It is certain that he was elder than 
Moses : his kindred and family, his way of sacrificing, the idolatry 
rife in his time, evidently placing him before that age ; besides 
that there are not the least footsteps in all his book of any of the 

y Vide Maimon. Mor. Nevoch. par. iii. c. 22. 

* Aug. Busbeq. de Legat. Turnic. Epist i. p. 94. ed. 1605. 

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great things done" for the Israelites 1 deliverance, which we can 
hardly suppose should have been omitted, being examples so 
fresh in memory, and so apposite to the design of that book. Most 
probable therefore it is, that he lived about the time of the 
Israelitish captivity in Egypt, though whether, as some Jews 
will have it, born that very year that Jacob came down into 
Egypt, and dying that year that they went out of Egypt, I dare 
not peremptorily affirm. And this, no question, is the reason 
why we find nothing concerning him in the writings of Moses ; 
the history of those times being crowded up in a very .little room, 
little being recorded even of the Israelites themselves for near 
two hundred years, more than in general that they were heavily 
oppressed under the Egyptian yoke. More concerning this great 
and good man, and the things relating to him, if the reader desire 
to know, he may among others consult the elaborate exercitations 
of the younger Spanhemius in his Historia Job% where the largest 
curiosity may find enough to satisfy it. 

XXII. And now for a conclusion to this economy, if we 
reflect a little upon the state of things under this period of the 
world, we shall find that the religion of those early ages was 
plain and simple, unforced and natural, and highly agreeable to 
the common dictates and notions of men's minds. They were 
not educated under any foreign institutions, nor conducted by 
a body of numerous laws and written constitutions, but were 
avrrfKoot koX avrofiaOefc, (as Philo says of them, 8 ) " tutored and 
instructed by the dictates of their own minds," and the principles 
of that law that was written in their hearts, following the order 
of nature and right reason, as the safest and most ancient rule. 
By which means, (as one of the ancients observes, b ) iXevOepov 
koX aveifiivov evae^elas KarwpOovv Tpoirov, /3i<p fiev r<p Kara rqv 
<j>v<riv fC€/co<TfjL7)fi€voi, " they maintained a free and uninterrupted 
course of religion, conducting their lives according to the rules 
of nature," so that having purged their minds from lust and 
passion, and attained to the true knowledge of God, they had no 
need of external and written laws. Their creed was short and 
perspicuous, their notions of God great and venerable, their de- 
votion and piety real and substantial, their worship grave and 
serious, and such as became the grandeur and majesty of the 
divine being ; their rites and ceremonies few and proper, their 
a Lib. de Abrah. p. 350. b Euseb. Praepar. Evang. L vii. c. 6. 


obedience prompt and sincere, and, indeed, the whole conduct of 
their conversation discovering itself in the most essential and im- 
portant duties of the human life. According to this standard it 
was that our blessed Saviour mainly designed to reform religion 
in his most excellent institutions, to retrieve the piety and purity, 
the innocency and simplicity of those first and more uncorrupted 
ages of the world, to improve the laws of nature, and to reduce 
mankind from ritual observances to natural and moral duties, as 
the most vital and essential parts of religion, and was therefore 
pleased to pharge Christianity with no more than two positive 
institutions, Baptism and the Lord's Supper, that men might 
learn that the main of religion lies not in such things as these. 
Hence Eusebius c undertakes at large to prove the faith and 
manners of the holy patriarchs who lived before the times of 
Moses, and the belief and practice of Christians to be ha teal 
rbv auTov, " one and the same which he does not only assert 
and make good in general, but deduce from particular instances, 
the examples of Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Melchisedek, Job, &c. 
whom he expressly proves to have believed and lived avri/cpv? 
XpiarcaviKci^ " altogether after the manner of Christians 
nay, that they had the name also as well as the thing, &are ical 
rod Xpia-Tov irpoo-tjyopia? fifilv i>fioms eKOWtovovv, as he 
shews from that place, (which he proves to be meant of Abraham, 
Isaac, and Jacob), fit) airreaBe r&v XpicT&v fiov, " touch not 
my Christians, mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm." 
And, in short, that as they had the same common religion, so 
they had the common blessing and reward. 



Moses the minister of this economy. His miraculous preservation. His learned and 
noble education. The divine temper of his mind. His conducting the Israelites out 
of Egypt Their arrival at mount Sinai. The law given, and how. Moral laws ; the 
decalogue, whether a perfect compendium of the moral law. The ceremonial laws, 
what. Reduced to their proper heads. Such as concerned the matter of their worship. 
Sacrifices, and the several kinds of them. Circumcision. The passover, and its typical 
relation. The place of public worship. The tabernacle and temple, and the several 

« Demonstr. Evang. 1. i. c. 5, 6. et loc. supr. cit. 

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parts of them, and their typical aspects considered. Their stated times and feasts, 
weekly, monthly, annual. The sabbatical year. The year of jubilee. Laws con- 
cerning the persons ministering; priests, Levites, the high-priest, how a type of 
Christ The design of the ceremonial law, and its abolition. The judicial laws, 
what The Mosaic law, how divided by the Jews into affirmative and negative pre- 
cepts, and why. The several ways of divine revelation. Urim and Thummim, what, 
and the manner of its giving answers. Bath-Col, whether any such way of revelation 
among the Jews. Revelation by dreams: by visions. The revelation of the Holy 
Spirit, what Moses, his way of prophecy wherein exceeding the rest The pacate 
way of the spirit of prophecy. This spirit, when it ceased in the Jewish church. The 
state of the church under this dispensation briefly noted. From the giving of the law 
till Samuel. From Samuel to Solomon. Its condition under the succeeding kings till 
the captivity. From thence till the coming of Christ. The state of the* Jewish church 
in the time of Christ more particularly considered. The profanations of the temple. 
The corruption of their worship. The abuse of the priesthood. The depravation of 
the law by false glosses. Their oral and unwritten law. Its original and succession 
according to the mind of the Jews. Their unreasonable and blasphemous preferring it 
above the written law. Their religious observing the traditions of the elders. 
The vow of Corban, what The superseding moral duties by it. The sects in the 
Jewish church. The Pharisees, their denomination, rise, temper, and principles. Sad- 
ducees, their impious principles and evil lives. The Essenes, their original, opinions, 
and way of life. The Herodians, who. The Samaritans. Karraeans. The sect of the 
Zealots. The Roman tyranny over the Jews. 

The church, which had hitherto lain dispersed in private families, 
and had often been reduced to an inconsiderable number, being 
now multiplied into a great and a populous nation, God was 
pleased to enter into covenant, not any longer with particular 
persons, but with the body of the people, and to govern the 
church by more certain and regular ways and methods, than it 
had hitherto been. This dispensation began with the delivery 
of the law, and continued till the finat period of the Jewish state, 
consisting only " of meats and drinks, and divers washing, and 
carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reforma- 
tion." In the survey whereof we shall chiefly consider what 
laws were given for the government of the church, by what 
methods of revelation God communicated his mind and will to 
them, and what was the state of the church, especially towards 
the conclusion of this economy. 

II. The great minister of this dispensation was Moses, the 
son of Amram, of the house of Levi, a person whose signal pre- 
servation when but an infant, presaged him to be born for great 
and generous undertakings. Pharaoh, king of Egypt, desirous 
to suppress the growing numbers of the Jewish nation, had af- 
flicted and kept them under with all the rigorous severities of 



tyranny and oppression. But this not taking its effect, he made 
a law that all Hebrew male-children should be drowned as soon 
as born, knowing well enough how to kill the root, if he could 
keep any more branches from springing up. But the wisdom of 
heaven defeated his crafty and barbarous designs. Among others 
that were born at that time was Moses, a goodly child, and 
whom his mother was infinitely desirous to preserve : but having 
concealed him, till the saving of his might endanger the losing her 
own life, her affection suggested to her this little stratagem ; she 
prepared an ark made of paper-reeds, and pitched within, and so 
putting hi,m aboard this little vessel, threw him into the river 
Nilus, committing him to the mercy of the waves, and the con- 
duct of the Divine Providence. God, who wisely orders all 
events, had so disposed things, that Pharaoh's daughter, (whose 
name, say the Jews, was Bithia; Thermuth, says Josephus; d say 
the Arabians, Sihhoun,) being troubled with a distemper that 
would not endure the hot baths, was come down at this time to 
wash in the Nile, where the cries of the tender babe soon reached 
her ears. She commanded the ark to be brought ashore, which 
was no sooner opened, but the mournful oratory of the weeping 
infant sensibly struck her with compassionate resentments : and 
the Jews add, 6 that she no sooner touched the babe, but she was 
immediately healed ; and cried out that he was a holy child, and 
that she would save his life ; for which (say they) she obtained 
the favour to " be brought under the wings of the Divine Ma- 
jesty," and to be called the daughter of God. His sister Miriam, 
who had all this while beheld the scene afar off, officiously prof- 
fered her service to the princess to call an Hebrew nurse, and 
accordingly went and brought his mother. To her care he was 
committed, with a charge to look tenderly to him, and the pro- 
mise of a reward. But the hopes of that could add but little, 
where nature was so much concerned. Home goes the mother 
joyful and proud of her own pledge and the royal charge, care- 
fully providing for his tender years. His infant state being 
passed, he was restored to the princess, who adopted him for 
her own son, bred him up at court, where he was polished with 
all the arts of a noble and ingenuous education, instructed in the 
modes of civility and behaviour, in the methods of policy and 
government, " learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, 11 

d Antiq. Jud. 1. ii. c. 5. e R. Eliez. c. 48. apud Hotting. Smeg. Orient c. 8. p. 402. 

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whose renown for wisdom is not only once and again taken 
notice of in holy writ, hut their admirable skill in all liberal 
sciences, natural, moral, and divine, beyond the rate and pro- 
portion of other nations, is sufficiently celebrated by foreign 
writers. To these accomplishments God was pleased to add a di- 
vine temper of mind, a great zeal for God, not able to endure any 
thing that seemed to clash with interests of the divine honour 
and glory; a mighty courage and resolution in God's service, 
whose edge was not to be taken off either by threats or charms ; 
" He was not afraid of the king's commandment, nor feared the 
wrath of the king, for he endured as seeing him that is invisible." f 
His contempt of the world was great and admirable, slighting 
the honours of Pharaoh's court, and the fair probabilities of the 
crown, the treasures and pleasures of that rich, soft, and luxurious 
country, out of a firm belief of the invisible rewards of another 
world ; " He refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, 
choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than 
to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season ; esteeming the re- 
proach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt : 
for he had respect unto the recompenceof reward." 8 Josephus 
relates, 11 that when but a child he was presented by the princess 
to her father, as one whom she had adopted for her son, and 
designed for his successor in the kingdom ; the king, taking him 
up into his arms, put his crown upon his head, which the child 
immediately pulled off again, and throwing it upon the ground, 
trampled it under his feet: an action which, however looked 
upon by some courtiers then present, o>? oltovbv iiri rfj fiaaCkeia 
<£6/>€Bi/, " as portending a fatal omen to the kingdom," did, how- 
ever, evidently presage his generous contempt of the grandeur 
and honours of the court, and those plausible advantages of 
sovereignty that were offered to him. His patience was in- 
superable, not tired out with abuses and disappointments of the 
king of Egypt, with the hardships and troubles of the wilder- 
ness, and, which was beyond all, with the cross and vexatious 
humours of a stubborn and unquiet generation. He was of a 
most calm and tractable disposition, his spirit not easily ruffled 
with passion ; he who in the cause of God # and religion could be 
bold and fierce as- a lion, was in his own patient as a lamb, God 

' Heb. xi. 27. * Heb. xi. 24, 25, 26. * 

b Antiq. Jud. 1. ii. c. 5. 

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himself having given this character of him, " that he was the 
meekest man upon the earth." 

III. This great personage, thus excellently qualified, God made 
choice of him to be the commander and conductor of the Jewish 
nation, and his ambassador to the king of Egypt, to demand the 
enfranchisement of his people, and free liberty to go serve and 
worship the God of their fathers. And that he might not seem 
a mere pretender to divine revelation, but that he really had an 
immediate commission from heaven, God was pleased to furnish 
him with extraordinary credentials, and to seal his commission 
with a power of working miracles beyond all the arts of magic, 
and those tricks for which the Egyptian sorcerers were so 
famous in the world. But Pharaoh, unwilling to part with such 
useful vassals, and having oppressed them beyond possibility of 
reconcilement, would not hearken to the proposal, but sometimes 
downright rejected it, otherwhiles sought by subtle and plausible 
pretences to evade and shift it off ; till by many astonishing 
miracles and severe judgments, God extorted at length a grant 
from him. Under the conduct of Moses they set forwards, after 
at least two hundred years servitude under the Egyptian yoke ; 
and though Pharaoh, sensible of his error, with a great army 
pursued them, either to cut them off, or bring them back, God 
made way for them through the midst of the sea, the waters 
becoming like a wall of brass on each side of them, till being all 
passed to the other shore, those invisible cords which had 
hitherto tied up that liquid element bursting in sunder, the 
waters returned and overwhelmed their enemies that pursued 
them. Thus God by the same stroke can protect his friends 
and punish his enemies. Nor did the Divine Providence here 
take its leave of them, but became their constant guard and de- 
fence in all their journeys, waiting upon them through their 
several stations in the wilderness ; the most memorable whereof 
was that at mount Sinai in Arabia, the place where God de- 
livered them " the pattern in the mount," according to which 
the form both of their church and state was to be framed 
and modelled. In order hereunto Moses is called up into the 
mount, where by fasting and prayer he conversed with heaven, 
and received the body of their laws. Three days the people 
were, by a pious and devout care, to sanctify and prepare them- 
selves for the promulgation of the law: they might not come near 


their wives, were commanded to wash their clothes, as an emblem 
and representation of that cleansing of the heart, and that in- 
ward purity of mind, wherewith they were to entertain the di- 
vine will. On the third day, in the morning, God descended 
from heaven with great appearances of majesty and terror, with 
thunders and lightnings, with black clouds and tempests, with 
shouts and " the loud noise of a trumpet," (which trumpet, say 
the Jews, was made of the horn of that ram that was offered 
in the room of Isaac,) with fire and smoke on the top of the 
mount, ascending up like " the smoke of a furnace ;" the moun- 
tain itself greatly quaking, the people trembling ; nay, " so ter- 
rible was the sight, that Moses (who had so frequently, so fa- 
miliarly conversed with God) said, I exceedingly fear and 
quake." 1 All which pompous trains of terror and magnificence 
God made use of at this time, to excite the more solemn atten- 
tion to his laws, and to beget a greater reverence and veneration 
for them in the minds of the people, and to let them see how 
able he was to call them to account, and by the severest penalties 
to vindicate the violation of his law. 

IV. The code and digest of those laws, which God now gave 
to the Jews as the terms of that national covenant that he made 
with them, consisted of three sorts of precepts, moral, ecclesi- 
astical, and political ; which the Jews will have intimated by 
those three words that so frequently occur in the writings of 
Moses, laws, statutes, and judgments. By ItWi, "laws," they 
understand the moral law, the notices of good and evil naturally 
implanted in men's minds : by tD^ n > or " statutes," ceremonial 
precepts, instituted by God with peculiar reference to his church : 
by tDnoattfD, or "judgments," political laws concerning justice 
and equity, the order of human society, and the prudent and 
peaceable managery of the commonwealth. The moral laws in- 
serted into this code are those contained in the decalogue, k 
onim rrm% as they are called, "the ten words" that were 
written upon the two tables of stone. These were nothing else but 
a summary comprehension of the great laws of nature, engraven 
at first upon the minds of all men in the world ; the most ma- 
terial part whereof was now consigned to writing, and incorpo- 
rated into the body of the Jewish law. I know the decalogue 
is generally taken to be a complete system of all natural laws : 

1 HcH.xii.21. k Deutiv. 13. 

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but whoever impartially considers the matter, will find that 
there are many instances of duty so far from being commanded 
in it, that they are not reducible to any part of it, unless hooked 
in by subtleties of wit, and drawn thither by forced and un- 
natural inferences. What provision, except in one case or two, 
do any of those commandments make against neglects of duty ? 
Where do they oblige us to do good to others, to love, assist, 
relieve our enemies ? Gratitude and thankfulness to benefactors 
is one of the prime and essential laws of nature, and yet no- 
where, that I know of, (unless we will have it implied in the 
preface to the law,) commanded or intimated in the decalogue : 
with many other cases, which it is naturally evident are our 
duty, whereof no footsteps are to be seen in this compendium, 
unless hunted out by nice and sagacious reasonings, and made 
out by a long train of consequences, never originally intended 
in the commandment, and which not one in a thousand are 
capable of deducing from it. It is probable, therefore, that God 
reduced only so many of the laws of nature into writing, as were 
proper to the present state and capacities of that people to whom 
they were given ; superadding some, and explaining others by 
the preaching and ministry of the prophets, who, in their several 
ages, endeavoured to bring men out of the shades and thickets 
into clear light and noon-day, by clearing up men's obligations 
to those natural and essential duties, in the practice whereof 
human nature was to be advanced unto its just accomplishment 
and perfection. Hence it was that our Lord, who " came not 
to destroy the law, but to fulfil " and perfect it, has explained 
the obligations of the natural law more fully and clearly, more 
plainly and intelligibly, rendered our duty more fixed and 
certain, and extended many instances of obedience to higher 
measures, to a greater exactness and perfection, than ever they 
were understood to have before. Thus he commands a free and 
universal charity, not only that we love our friends and re- 
lations, but that " we love our enemies, bless them that curse 
us, do good to them that hate us, and pray for them that 
despitefully use and persecute us." He hath forbidden malice 
and revenge with more plainness and smartness ; obliged us to 
live not only according to the measures of sobriety, but extended 
it to self-denial, and taking up the cross, and laying down our 
lives, whenever the honour of God and the interest of religion 

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calls for it ; he not only commands us to do no wrong, but when 
we have done it, to make restitution ; not only to retrench our 
irregular appetites, but " to cut off our right hand, and pluck 
out our right eye, and cast them from us," that is, mortify and 
offer violence to those vicious inclinations which are as dear to 
us as the most useful and necessary parts and members of our 
body. Besides all this, had God intended the decalogue for a 
perfect summary of the laws of nature, we cannot suppose that 
he would have taken any but such into the collection ; whereas 
the fourth commandment, concerning the seventh day, is un- 
questionably typical and ceremonial, and has nothing more of a 
natural and eternal obligation in it, than that God should be 
served and honoured both with public and private worship, 
which cannot be done without some portions of time set apart 
for it : but that this should be done just at such a time, and 
by such proportions, upon the seventh rather than the sixth or 
the eighth day, is no part of a natural religion. And indeed the 
reasons and arguments that are annexed to it, to enforce the 
observance of it, clearly shew that it is of a later date, and of 
another nature than* the rest of those precepts in whose com- 
pany we find it ; though it seems at first sight to pass without 
any peculiar note of discrimination from the rest. As for the 
rest, they are laws of eternal righteousness, and did not derive 
their value and authority from the divine sanction which God 
here gave them at mount Sinai, but from their own moral and 
internal goodness and equity; being founded in the nature of 
things, and the essential and unchangeable differences of good 
and evil. By which means they always were, always will be, 
obligatory and indispensable, being as eternal and immutable as 
the nature of God himself. 

V. The second sort of laws were ceremonial, divine constitu- 
tions concerning ritual observances, and matters of ecclesiastical 
cognizance and relation, and were instituted for a double end ; 
partly for the more orderly government of the church, and the 
more decent administration of the worship of God ; partly 
that they might be types and figures of the evangelical state, 
"shadows of good things to come," visible and symbolical 
representments of the Messiah, and those great blessings and 
privileges which he was to introduce into the world ; which 
doubtless was the reason why God was so infinitely punctual 


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and particular in bis directions about these matters, giving 
orders about the minutest circumstances of the temple-ministra- 
tion, because every part of it had a glance at a future and better 
ntate of things. The number of them was great, and the ob- 
servation burdensome; the whole nation groaning under the 
servility of that yoke. They were such as principally related to 
God's worship, and may be reduced either to such as concerned the 
worship itself, or the circumstances of time, place, and persons 
that did attend it. Their worship consisted chiefly in three 
things : prayers, sacrifices, and sacraments. Prayers were daily 
put up together with their offerings ; and though we have very 
few constitutions concerning them, yet the constant practice of 
that church, and the particular forms of prayer yet extant in 
their writings, are a sufficient evidence. Sacrifices were the 
constant and more solemn part of their public worship; yea, 
they had their Ton nby, "their continual burnt-offering," 1 a 
lamb offered morning and evening, with a measure of flour, oil, 
and wine, the charge whereof was defrayed out of the treasury 
of the temple. The rest of their sacrifices -may be considered 
either as they were expiatory or eucharistical. Expiatory, were 
those that were offered as an atonement for the sins of the people, 
to pacify the divine displeasure, and to procure his pardon; 
which they did by virtue of their typical relation to that great 
sacrifice which the Son of God was in the fulness of time to 
offer up for the sins of the world. They were either of a more 
general relation, for the expiation of sin in general, whole burnt- 
offerings, which were entirely (the skin and the entrails only 
excepted) burnt to ashes ; or of a more private and particular con- 
cernment, designed for the redemption of particular offences, 
whereof there were two sorts : rmton, or " the sin-offering, 11 for 
involuntary offences committed through error or ignorance ; 
which, according to the condition and capacity of the person, 
were either for the priest, or the prince, or the whole body of 
the people, or a private person : the other tDtim, or " the trespass- 
offering, 11 for sins done wittingly, studied and premeditated trans- 
gressions, and which the man could not pretend to be the effects 
of surprise or chance. Eucharistical sacrifices were testimonies 
of gratitude to God for mercies received, whereof three sorts 
especially; 1. nriiD, or "the meat-offering, made up of things 

1 Exod. xxix. 42. 



without life, oil, fine flour, incense, &c. which the worshipper 
offered as a thankful return for the daily preservation and pro- 
visions of life, and therefore it consisted only of the fruits of 
the ground. 2. traibttf fist, or "the peace-offering ;" this was 
done either out of a gratefiil sense of some blessing conferred, or 
as a voluntary offering to which the person had obliged himself 
by vow, in expectation of some safety or deliverance which he 
had prayed for. In this sacrifice God had his part, the fat, 
which was the only part of it burnt by fire ; the priest his, as an 
instrument of the ministration ; the offerer his, that he might have 
wherewith to " rejoice before the Lord. 1 ' 3. n*mn, " a thanks- 
giving-offering," or a sacrifice of praise ; it was a mixed kind of 
sacrifice, consisting of living creatures and the fruits of the 
earth, which they might offer at their own will, but it must be 
eaten the same day, and none of it left until the morrow. What 
other provisions we meet with concerning ceremonial unclean- 
nesses, first-fruits, the first-born, tenths, &c. are conveniently 
reducible to some of these heads which we have already men- 
tioned. The last part of their worship concerned their sacra- 
ments, which were two ; circumcision, and the paschal supper. 
Circumcision was the federal rite annexed by God as a seal to 
the covenant which he made with Abraham and his posterity, 
and accordingly renewed and taken into the body of the Mo- 
saical constitutions. It was to be administered the eighth day, 
which the Jews understand not of so many days complete, but 
the current time, six full days, and part of the other. In the 
room of this, baptism succeeds in the Christian church. The 
passover, which was the eating of the paschal lamb, was insti- 
tuted as an annual memorial of their signal and miraculous de- 
liverance out of Egypt, and as a typical representation of our 
spiritual redemption by Christ from the bondage of sin and that 
hell that follows it. It was to be celebrated with a male lamb, 
without blemish, taken out of the flock ; to note " the Lamb of 
God that takes away the sins of the world," who was taken 
from among men, "a lamb without blemish and without spot, 
holy, harmless, and separate from sinners." The door-posts of 
the house were to be sprinkled with the blood of the lamb, to 
signify our security from the divine vengeance by the " blood of 
sprinkling." The lamb was to be roasted and eaten whole; 
typifying the great sufferings of our blessed Saviour, who was to 

e 2 


pass through the fire of divine wrath, and to be wholly em- 
braced and entertained by us in all his offices, as king, priest, 
and prophet. None but those that were clean and circumcised 
might eat of it ; to shew that only true believers, holy and good 
men, can be partakers of Christ and the merits of his death : it 
was to be eaten standing, with the loins girt, and their staff in 
their hand, to put them in mind what haste they made out of 
the house of bondage ; and to intimate to us what present dili- 
gence we should use to get from under the empire and tyranny 
of sin and Satan, under the conduct and assistance of the Captain 
of our salvation. The eating of it was to be mixed with bitter 
herbs ; partly as a memorial of that bitter servitude which they 
underwent in the land of Egypt, partly as a type of that re- 
pentance, and bearing of the cross, (duties difficult and un- 
pleasant,) which all true Christians must undergo. Lastly, it 
was to be eaten with unleavened bread ; all manner of leaven 
being at that time to be banished out of their houses with the 
most critical diligence and curiosity, to represent what infinite 
care we should take to cleanse and purify our hearts, 44 to purge 
out the old leaven, that we may be a new lump:" and that 
since "Christ our passover is sacrificed for us, therefore we 
should keep the feast," (the festival-commemoration of his death,) 
"not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and 
wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and 
truth." 01 

VI. The places of their public worship were either the taber- 
nacle made in the wilderness, or the temple built by Solomon, be- 
tween which in the main there was no other difference, than that 
the tabernacle was an ambulatory temple, as the temple was a 
standing tabernacle, together with all the rich costly furniture 
that was in them. The parts of it were three : the holiest of all, 
whither none entered but the high-priest, and that but once a 
year, this was a type of heaven ; the holy place, whither the 
priests entered every day to perform their sacred ministrations ; 
and the outward court, whither the people came to offer up their 
prayers and sacrifices. In the sanctum sanctorum, or holiest of 
all, there was the golden censer, typifying the merits and inter- 
cession of Christ ; the ark of the covenant, as a representation 
of him who is the Mediator of the covenant between God and 

™ 1 Cor. v. 7, 8. 

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man ; the golden pot of manna, a type of our Lord, the true 
manna, " the bread that came down from heaven the rod of 
Aaron that budded, signifying the branch of the root of Jesse, 
that though our Saviour's family should be reduced to a state of 
so much meanness and obscurity, as to appear but like the trunk 
or stump of a tree, yet " there should come forth a rod out of 
the stem of Jesse, and a branch grow out of his roots, which 
should stand for an ensign of the people, and in him should the 
Gentiles trust. 1 ' n And within the ark were the two tables of 
the covenant, to denote him " in whom are hid all the treasures 
of wisdom and knowledge, 11 and who is the end and perfection 
of the law : over it were the cherubims of glory shadowing the 
mercy-seat, who looking towards each other, and both to the 
mercy-seat, denoted the two testaments, or dispensations of the 
church, which admirably agree, and both direct to Christ, the 
Mediator of the covenant. The propitiatory, or mercy-seat, was 
the golden covering to the ark, where God veiling his majesty 
was wont to manifest his presence, to give answers, and shew 
himself reconciled to the people ; herein eminently prefiguring our 
blessed Saviour, who interposes between us and the Divine 
Majesty, " whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation, through 
faith in his blood for the remission of sins, 11 so that now " we 
may come boldly to the throne of grace, and find mercy to help 
us. 11 Within the sanctuary, or the holy place, was the golden 
candlestick with seven branches, representing Christ, who is " the 
light of the world, 11 and who " enlightens every one that comes 
into the world and before whose throne there are said to be 
"seven lamps of fire, which are the seven spirits of God: 110 
the table, compassed about with a border and a crown of gold, 
denoting the ministry, and the *hew-bread set upon it, shadow- 
ing out Christ, " the bread of life, 11 who by the ministry of the 
gospel is offered to the world : here also was the golden altar of 
incense, whereon they burnt the sweet perfumes morning and 
evening, to signify to us that our Lord is the true altar, by 
whom all our prayers and services are rendered " the odour of a 
sweet smell acceptable unto God; 11 to this the psalmist refers, p 
" Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense, and the 
lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice. 11 The third part 
of the tabernacle, as also of the temple, was the court of Israel, 

n Isai. xi. 1, 10. Rom. xv. 12. ° Rev. iv. 5. p Ps. cxli. 2. 

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wherein stood the brazen altar, upon which the holy fire was 
continually preserved, by which the sacrifices were consumed, 
one of the five great prerogatives that were wanting in the 
second temple. Here was the brazen laver, with its basis, made 
of the brazen looking-glasses of the women that assembled at 
the door of the tabernacle, wherein the priests washed their 
hands and their feet, when going into the sanctuary, and both 
they and the people, when about to offer sacrifice ; to teach us 
to purify our hearts and to " cleanse ourselves from all filthiness 
of flesh and spirit," especially when we approach to offer up our 
services to heaven ; hereunto David alludes, q " I will wash mine 
hands in innocency, so will I compass thine altar, 0 Lord." 
Solomon, in building the temple, made an addition of a fourth 
court, the court of the Gentiles, whereinto the unclean Jews and 
Gentiles might enter ; and in this was the corban, or treasury, 
and it is sometimes in the New Testament called the temple. 
To these laws concerning the place of worship we may reduce 
those that relate to the holy vessels and utensils of the tabernacle 
and the temple, candlesticks, snuffers, dishes, &c. which also had 
their proper mysteries and significations. 

VII. The stated times and seasons of their worship are next 
to be considered, and they were either daily, weekly, monthly, 
or yearly. Their daily worship was at the time of the morning 
and evening sacrifice ; their weekly solemnity was the sabbath, 
. which was to be kept with all imaginable care and strictness, 
they being commanded to rest in it from all servile labours, and 
to attend the duties and offices of religion, a type of that " rest 
that remains for the people of God." Their monthly festivals 
were the new-moons, wherein they were to blow the trumpets 
over their sacrifices and oblations, and to observe them with 
great expressions of joy and triumph, in a thankful resentment 
of the blessings which all that month had been conferred upon 
them. Their annual solemnities were either ordinary or extra- 
ordinary : ordinary were those that returned every year, whereof 
the first was the passover, to be celebrated upon the fourteenth 
day of the first month, as a memorial of their great deliverance 
out of Egypt. The second, pentecost, called also the feast of 
weeks, because just seven weeks, or fifty days, after the passover : 
instituted it was partly in memory of the promulgation of the 

<i Psalm xxri. 6. 

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law, published at mount Sinai fifty days after their celebration 
of the passover in Egypt, partly as a thanksgiving for the in* 
gathering of their harvest, which usually was fully brought in 
about this time. The third was the feast of tabernacles, kept 
upon the fifteenth day of the seventh month for the space of 
seven days together ; at which time they dwelt in booths made 
of green boughs, as a memento of that time when they sojourned 
in tents and tabernacles in the wilderness, and a sensible demon* 
stration of the transitory duration of the present life, that u the 
earthly house of our tabernacle must ,be dissolved," and that 
therefore " we should secure a building of God, an house not 
made with hands, eternal in the heavens." These were the three 
great solemnities wherein all the males were obliged to appear 
at J erusalem, and to present themselves and their offerings in 
testimony of their homage and devotion unto God : besides 
which they had some of lesser moment, such as their feast -of 
trumpets, and that of expiation. The annual festivals extra- 
ordinary were those that recurred but once in the periodical 
return of several years ; such was the sabbatical year, wherein 
the land was to lie fallow, and to rest from ploughing and 
sowing, and all manner of cultivation ; and this was to be every 
seventh year, typifying the eternal sabbatism in heaven, where 
good men shall w rest from their labours, and their works shall 
follow them." But the great sabbatical year of all was that of 
jubilee, which returned at the end of seven ordinary sabbatic 
years, that is, every fiftieth year, the approach whereof was pro- 
claimed by the sound of trumpets ; in it servants were released, 
all debts discharged, and mortgaged estates reverted to their 
proper heirs. And how evidently did this shadow out the state 
of the gospel, and our Lord's being sent " to preach good tidings 
to the meek, to bind up the broken-hearted, to preach liberty to 
the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are 
bound, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, that they 
might lift up their heads, because their redemption drew nigh." r 
VIII. Lastly, they had laws concerning the persons by whom 
their public worship was administered ; and here there was ap- 
pointed an high-priest, who had his proper offices and rules of 
duty, his peculiar attire and consecration ; ordinary priests, 
whose business was to instruct the people, to pray and offer 

r Isai. lxi. 1, 2. Luk. iv. 18. 


sacrifice, to bless the congregation and judge in cases of leprosy, 
and such like ; at their ordination they were to be chosen before 
all the people, to be sprinkled with the water of expiation, their 
hair shaved, and their bodies washed, afterwards anointed, and 
sacrifices to be offered for them, and then they might enter upon 
their priestly ministrations. Next to these were the Levites, 
who were to assist the priests in preparing the sacrifices, to bear 
the tabernacle, (while it lasted,) and lay up its vessels and 
utensils, to purify and cleanse the vessels and instruments, to 
guard the courts and chambers of the temple, to watch weekly 
in the temple by their turns, to sing and celebrate the praises of 
God with hymns and musical instruments, and to join with the 
priests in judging and determining ceremonial causes ; they were 
not to be taken into the full discharge of their function till the 
thirtieth, nor to be kept at it beyond the fiftieth year of their 
age ; God mercifully thinking it fit to give them then a writ of 
ease, whose strength might be presumed sufficiently impaired by 
truckling for so many years under such toilsome and laborious 
ministrations. Though the Levitical priests were types of Christ, 
yet it was the high-priest who did eminently typify him, and 
that in the unity and singularity of his office ; for though many 
orders and courses of inferior priests and ministers, yet was there 
but one high-priest, " there is one mediator between God and 
man, the man Christ Jesus in the qualifications necessary to 
his election as to place, he was to be taken out of the tribe of 
Levi ; as to his person, which was to be every way perfect and 
comely, and the manner of his consecration ; in his singular 
capacity, that he alone might enter into the holy of holies, which 
he did once every year upon the great day of expiation, with a 
mighty pomp and train of ceremonies, killing sacrifices, burning 
incense, sprinkling the blood of the sacrifice before and upon the 
mercy-seat, going within the veil and making an atonement 
within the holy place : all which immediately referred to Christ, 
who "by the sacrifice of himself, and through the veil of his 
own flesh, entered," not into the holy place made with hands, but 
" into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us." 
All which might be represented more at large, but that I intend 
not a discourse about these matters. 

IX, Besides the laws which we have hitherto enumerated, 
there were several other particular commands, ritual constitu- 

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tions about meats and drinks, and other parts of human life. 
Such was the difference they were to make between the 
creatures, some to be clean, and others unclean; such were 
several sorts of pollution and uncleanness, which were not in 
their own nature sins, but ceremonial defilements : of this kind 
were several provisions about apparel, diet, and the ordering 
family affairs, all evidently of a ceremonial aspect, but too long 
to be insisted on in this place. The main design of this cere- 
monial law was to point out to us the evangelical state : " the 
law had only a shadow of good things to come, and not the very 
image of the things themselves, the body was Christ ;" s and 
therefore, though " the law came by Moses," yet " grace and 
truth" (the truth of all those types and figures) "came by 
Christ." 1 It was time for Moses to resign the chair, when once 
this great prophet was come into the world. Ceremonies could 
no longer be of use when once the substance was at hand : well 
may the stars disappear at the rising of the sun : the u Messiah 
being cut off, should cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease." 
At the time of Chrises death, the veil of the temple, from top 
to bottom, rent in sunder, to shew that his death had revealed 
the mysteries, and destroyed the foundations of the legal 
economy, and put a period to the whole temple-ministration. 
Nay, the Jews themselves confess, 11 that forty years before the 
destruction of the temple, (a date that corresponds exactly with 
the death of Christ,) the " lot did no more go up into the right 
hand of the priest," (this is meant of his dismission of the scape- 
goat,) " nor the scarlet ribbon," usually laid upon the forehead of 
the goat, " any more grow white," (this was a sign that the goat 
was accepted for the remission of their sins,) " nor the evening 
lamp burn any longer, and that the gates of the temple opened 
of their own accord." By which, as at once, they confirm what 
the gospel reports of the opening of the sanctum sanctorum by 
the scissure of the veil ; sa they plainly confess, that at that 
very time their sacrifices and temple-services began to cease and 
fail ; as indeed the reason of them then ceasing, the things them- 
selves must needs vanish into nothing. 

X. The third sort of laws given to the Jews were judicial 
and political; these were the municipal laws of the nation, 

8 Heb. x. 1. 1 John i. 17. 

u Jom. cap. 4. foL 39. ap. Buxtorl Recens. Oper. Talm. p. 218. 



enacted for the good of the state, and were a kind of appendage 
to the second table of the decalogue, as the ceremonial laws were 
of the first. They might be reduced to four general heads: 
such as respected men in their private and domestical capacities ; 
concerning husbands and wives, parents and children, masters 
and servants : such as concerned the public and the common- 
wealth; relating to magistrates and courts of justice, to contracts 
and matters of right and wrong, to estates and inheritances, to 
executions and punishments, &c. : such as belonged to strangers, 
and matters of a foreign nature, as laws concerning peace and 
war, commerce and •dealing with persons of another nation: or 
lastly, such as secured the honour and the interests of religion ; 
laws against apostates and idolaters, wizards, conjurers, and false 
prophets, against blasphemy, sacrilege, and such like ; all which, 
not being so proper to my purpose, I omit a more particular 
enumeration of them. These laws were peculiarly calculated 
for the Jewish state, and that while kept up in that country 
wherein God had placed them, and therefore must needs deter- 
mine and expire with it. Nor can they be made a pattern and 
standard for the laws of other nations ; for though proceeding 
from the wisest lawgiver, they cannot reasonably be imposed 
upon any state or kingdom, unless where there is an equal con- 
currence of circumstances, as there were in that people for whom 
God enacted them. They went off the stage with the Jewish 
polity, and if any parts of them do still remain obligatory, they 
bind not as judicial laws, but as branches of the law of nature, 
the reason of them being immutable and eternal. I know not 
whether it may here be useful to remark what the Jews so 
frequently tell us of, that the entire body of the Mosaic law 
consists of six hundred and thirteen precepts, intimated (say 
they) in that place where it is said " Moses commanded ufe a 
law,"* where the numeral letters of the word mift, or "law," 
make up the number of six hundred and eleven, and the two 
that are wanting to make up the complete number are the two 
first precepts of the decalogue, which were not given by Moses 
to the people, but immediately by God himself. Others say, y 
that there are just six hundred and thirteen letters in the deca- 
logue, and that every letter answers to a law : but some that 
have had the patience to tell them, assure us that there are two 

x Deut. xxxiii. 4. ? Auth. Tzeror Hammor apud Vois. de Leg. Div. c. 23. p. 338. 

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whole words consisting of seven letters supernumerary, which 
in my mind quite spoils the computation. These six hundred 
and thirteen precepts they divide into two hundred and forty- 
eight affirmative, according to the number of the parts of man's 
body, (which they make account are just so many,) to put him 
in mind to serve God with all his bodily powers, as if every 
member of his body should say to him, rrfito ^ nuw, " make use 
of me to fulfil the command ;" z and into three hundred and 
sixty-five negative, according to the number of the days of the 
year, that so every day may call upon a man, and say to him, 
rray ^ twyn " Oh, do not in me transgress the command 
or, as others will have it, a they answer to the veins or nerves in 
the body of man ; that as the complete frame and compages of 
man's body is made up of two hundred and forty-eight members 
and three hundred and sixty-five nerves, and the law of so many 
affirmative and so many negative precepts, it denotes to us, that 
the whole perfection and accomplishment of man lies in an 
accurate and diligent observance of the divine law. Each of 
these divisions they reduce under twelve houses, answerable to 
the twelve tribes of Israel. In the affirmative precepts, the first 
house is that of divine worship, consisting of twenty precepts ; 
the second, the house of the sanctuary, containing nineteen ; the 
third, the house of sacrifices, wherein are fifty-seven ; the fourth, 
that of cleanness and pollution, containing eighteen ; the fifth, 
of tithes and alms, under which are thirty-two; the sixth, of 
meats and drinks, containing seven ; the seventh, of the pass- 
over, concerning feasts, containing twenty ; the eighth, of 
judgment, thirteen ; the ninth, of doctrine, twenty-five ; the 
tenth, of marriage, and concerning women, twelve ; the eleventh, 
of judgments criminal, eight ; the twelfth, of civil judgments, 
seventeen. In the negative precepts, the first house is concern- 
ing the worship of the planets, containing forty-seven commands ; 
the second, of separation from the heathens, thirteen ; the third, 
concerning the reverence due to holy things, twenty-nine ; the 
fourth, of sacrifice and priesthood, eighty-two ; the fifth, of 
meats, thirty-eight ; the sixth, of fields and harvest, eighteen ; 
the seventh, of doctrine, forty-five; the eighth, of justice, forty- 
seven ; the ninth, of - feasts, ten ; the tenth, of purity and 

2 R. Moyses Tract de Num. praec. ap. Vois. ib. 
* Vid. Manass. Ben Israel de Resurr. L iic. 18. 


chastity, twenty-four ; the eleventh, of wedlock, eight ; the 
twelfth, concerning the kingdom, four: a method not con- 
temptible, as which might minister to a distinct and useful ex- 
plication of the whole law of Moses. 

XI. The next thing considerable under the Mosaical economy 
was the methods of the divine revelation, by what ways God 
communicated his mind to them, either concerning present 
emergencies or future events; and this was done, iro\vfiep&<$ 
Kal 7ro\vTp6irm> as the apostle tells us, " at sundry times," or 
by sundry degrees and parcels, and " in divers manners," by va- 
rious methods of revelation; whereof three most considerable, 
the Urim and Thummim, the audible voice, and the spirit of 
prophecy, imparted in dreams, visions, &c. We shall make 
some brief remarks upon them, referring the reader, who desires 
fuller satisfaction herein, to those who purposely treat about 
these matters. The Urim and Thummim was a way of revela- 
tion peculiar to the high-priest : " Thou shalt put in the breast- 
plate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim, and they shall 
be upon Aaron's heart, when he goeth in before the Lord, and 
Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his 
heart before the Lord continually. 11 b Thus Eleazar the priest is 
commanded to " ask counsel after the judgment of Urim before 
the Lord."" c What this Urim and Thummim was, and what the 
manner of receiving answers by it, is difficult, if not impossible 
to tell, there being scarce any one difficulty that I know of in 
the Bible that hath more exercised the thoughts either of 
Jewish or Christian writers. Whether it was some addition to 
the high-priest's breast-plate made by the hand of some curious 
artist, or whether only those two words engraven upon it, or the 
great name Jehovah carved and put within the foldings of the 
breast-plate; or whether the twelve stones resplendent with 
light, and completed to perfection with the tribes 1 names therein ; 
or whether some other mysterious piece of artifice immediately 
framed by the hand of heaven, and given to Moses when he de- 
livered him the two tables of the law, is vain and endless to 
inquire, because impossible to determine. Nor is the manner of 
its giving answers less uncertain : whether at such times the 
fresh and orient lustre of the stones signified the answer in the 
affirmative, while their dull and dead colour spake the negative ; 
b Exod. xxviii. 30. < Numb, xxvii. 21. 

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or whether it was by some extraordinary protuberancy and 
thrusting forth of the letters engraven upon the stones, from the 
conjunction whereof the divine oracle was gathered ; or whether 
probably it might be, that when the high-priest inquired of God, 
with this breast-plate upon him, God did either by a lively voice, 
or by immediate suggestions to his mind, give him a distinct and 
perspicuous answer, illuminating his mind with the Urim, or the 
light of knowledge of his will in those cases, and satisfying his 
doubts and scruples with the Thummim, or a perfect and com- 
plete determination of those difficulties that were propounded to 
him, thereby enabling him to give a satisfactory and infallible 
answer in all the particulars that lay before him. And this 
several of the Jews seem to intend, when they make this way 
of revelation one of the degrees of the Holy Ghost, and say, that 
no sooner did the high-priest put on the pectoral, and had the 
case propounded to him, but that he was immediately clothed 
with thcHoly Spirit. But it is to little purpose to hunt after 
that where fancy and conjecture must decide the case. Indeed, 
among the various conjectures about this matter, none appears 
with greater probability than the opinion of those who conceive 
the Urim and Thummim to have been a couple of teraphim, d or 
little images, (probably formed in human shape,) put within the 
hollow foldings of the pontifical breast-plate, from whence God, 
by the ministry of an angel, vocally answered those interrogato- 
ries which the high-priest made : nothing being more common, 
even in the early ages of the world, than such teraphim in those 
Eastern countries, usually placed in their temples, and whence 
the demon was wont oracularly to determine the cases brought 
before him. And as God permitted the Jews the use of sacri- 
fices, which had been notoriously abused to superstition and 
idolatry in the heathen world, so he might indulge them these 
teraphim, (though now converted to a sacred use,) that so he 
might by degrees wean them from the rites of the Gentile 
world, to which they had so fond an inclination. And this 
probably was the reason why, when Moses is so particular in 
describing the other parts of the sacerdotal ornaments, nothing 
at all is said of this, because a thing of common use among the 
nations with whom they had conversed, and notoriously known 
among themselves. And such we may suppose the prophet in- 

d Christoph. Castr. de Vaticin. 1. iii. c. 3. 

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tended when he threatened the Jews, that they "should abide 
without a sacrifice, without an image, or altar, without an 
ephod, and without a teraphim. 11 * A notion very happily im- 
proved by an ingenious pen/ whose acute conjectures and 
elaborate dissertations about this matter justly deserve com- 
mendation, even from those who differ from it. It seems to have 
been a kind of political oracle, and to be consulted only in great 
and weighty cases, as the election of supreme magistrates, mak- 
ing war, &c. ; and only by persons of the highest rank, none 
being permitted (say the Jews 8 ) to inquire of it, mbi ^oi? wb« 
ID llStfnw >dVi n, unless in a case wherein the king, or the 
sanhedrim, or the whole congregation was concerned. 

XII. A second way of divine revelation was by an " audible 
voice, 11 accompanied many times with thunder, descending as it 
were from heaven, and directing them in any emergency of 
affairs. This the Jewish writers call Vtp ro, the "daughter 11 or 
echo " of a voice which they confess to have been the lowest 
kind of revelation, and to have been in use only in the times of 
the second temple, when all other ways of prophecy were ceased. 
But notwithstanding their common and confident assertions, 
whether ever there was any such standing way of revelation as 
this, is justly questionable, (nay, it is peremptorily denied by 
one incomparably versed in the Talmudic writings, 11 who adds, 
that if there was any such thing at any time, it was done by 
magic arts and diabolical delusions,) partly, because it is only 
delivered by Jewish writers, whose faith and honesty is too well 
known to the world to be trusted in stories that make so much 
for the honour of their nation, not to mention their extravagant 
propension to lies and fabulous reports ; partly, because by their 
own confession God had withdrawn all his standing oracles and 
ordinary ways of revelation, their notorious impieties having 
caused heaven to retire, and therefore much less would it cor- 
respond with them by such immediate converses ; partly, be- 
cause this seemed to be a way more accommodate to the evange- 
lical dispensation at the appearance of the Son of God in the 
world. A voice from heaven is the most immediate testimony, 
and therefore fittest to do honour to him who came down from 
heaven, and was sure to meet with an obdurate aud incredulous 

e Hos. iii. 4. f Joan. Spencer. Dissertat. de Urim et Thum. edit. Cantab. 1670. 

* Cod. Jom. c vii. sect 5. p. 167. h Lightf. Hor. Hebr. in Matth. iii. 17. 

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generation, and to give evidence to that doctrine that he pub- 
lished to the world. Thus by a bath-col, or a voice from heaven, 
God bare witness to our Saviour at his baptism, and a second 
time at his transfiguration, and again at the passover at Jeru- 
salem, when there came a voice from heaven, which the people 
took for thunder, or the communication of an angel, and most of 
St. John's intelligences from above, recorded in his book of Re- 
velation, are ushered in with an " I heard a voice from heaven.* 1 
XIII. But the most frequent and standing method of divine 
communications was that whereby God was wont to transact 
with the prophets, and in extraordinary cases with other men, 
which was either by dreams, visions, or immediate inspirations. 
The way by dreams was when the person being overtaken with 
a deep sleep, and all the exterior senses locked up, God pre- 
sented the species and images of things to their understandings, 
and that in such a manner, that they might be able to appre- 
hend the will of God, which they presently did upon their 
awaking out of sleep. These divine dreams the Jews dis- 
tinguish into two sorts: monitory, such as were sent only by 
way of instruction and admonition, to give men notice of what 
they were to do, or warning of what they should avoid ; such 
were the dreams of Pharaoh, Abimelech, Laban, &c. : or 
else they were prophetical, when God, by such a powerful 
energy acted upon the mind and imagination of the prophet, 
as carried the strength and force of a divine evidence along 
with it. This was sometimes done by a clear and distinct 
impression of the thing upon the mind without any dark or 
enigmatical representation of it, such as God made to Samuel, 
when he first revealed himself to him in the temple ; sometimes 
by apparition, yet so as the man, though asleep, was able to 
discern an angel conversing with him. By visions, God usually 
communicated himself two ways : first, when something really 
appeared to the sight; thus Moses beheld the bush burning, 
and stood there while God conversed with him ; Manoah and 
his wife saw the angel, while he took his leave, and in a flaming 
pyramid went up to heaven; the three angels appeared to 
Abraham a little before the fatal ruin of Sodom ; all which ap- 
paritions were unquestionably true and real, the angel assuming 
an human shape, that he might the freelier converse with and 
deliver his message to those to whom he was sent. Secondly, 

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by powerful impressions upon the imagination, usually done 
while the prophet was awake, and had the free and uninter- 
rupted exercise of his reason, though the vision oft overpowered, 
and cast him into a trance, that the soul being more retired from 
sensible objects might the closer intend those divine notices that 
were represented to it. Thus all the prophets had the ideas of 
those things that they were to deliver to the people the more 
strongly impressed upon their fancies, and this commonly when 
they were in the greatest solitude and privacy, and their powers 
most called in, that the prophetical influx might have the 
greater force upon them. In some such way St. Paul was 
caught up into the third heaven, probably not so much by any 
real separation of his soul from his body, or local translation of 
his spirit thither, as by a profound abstraction of it from his 
corporeal senses, God, during the time of the trance, entertaining 
it with an internal and admirable scene of the glory and happi- 
ness of that state, as truly and effectually as if his soul had 
been really conveyed thither. 

XIV. Thirdly, God was wont to communicate his mind by 
immediate inspirations, whereby he immediately transacted with 
the understandings of men, without any relation to their fancy 
or their senses. It was the most pacate and serene way of pro- 
phecy, God imparting his mind to the prophets, not by dreams or 
visions, but while they were awake, their powers active, and 
their minds calm and undisturbed. This the Jews call rm 
unpn, " the Holy Spirit, 1 ' or that kind of revelation that was 
directly conveyed into the mind by the most efficacious irradia- 
tion and inspiration of the Holy Spirit; God by these divine 
illapses enabling the prophet clearly and immediately to appre- 
hend the things delivered to him. And in this way the tMiro, 
or " holy writings,' 1 were dictated and conveyed to the world ; 1 
in which respect the apostle says, that " all scripture is deouvev- 
crros, given by divine inspiration. 11 The highest pitch of this 
prophetical revelation was rwn n*VQJ, the gradus Mosaicus, or 
that way of prophecy that God used towards Moses ; of whom 
it is particularly said, that " the Lord spake unto Moses face to 
face, as a man speaketh'unto his friend :™ k and elsewhere it is 
evidently distinguished from all inferior ways of prophecy, " If 
there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known 

» Vide Maimon. Mor. Nevoch. par. ii. cap. 45. p. 317. * Exod. xxxiii. 11. 

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unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream : my 
servant Moses is not so, with him I will speak mouth to mouth, 
even apparently, and not in dark speeches, and the similitude of 
the Lord shall he behold 1 clearly implying a mighty pre- 
eminence in God's way of revelation to Moses above that of 
other prophets, which the J ewish writers make to have lain in 
four things. First, that in all God's communications to Moses, 
he immediately spake to his understanding, without any im- 
pressions upon fancy, any visible appearances, any dreams or 
visions of the night. Secondly, that Moses had prophecies con- 
veyed to him without any fears or consternations, whereas the 
other prophets were astonished and weakened at the sight of . 
God. Thirdly, that Moses had no previous dispositions or pre- 
parations to make him capable of the divine revelation, but 
could directly go to God and consult him, as " a man speaketh 
with his friend;" other prophets being forced many times by 
some preparatory arts to invite the prophetic spirit to come 
upon them. Fourthly, that Moses had a freedom and liberty 
of spirit to prophesy at all times, and could, when he pleased, 
have recourse to the sacred oracle. But as to this the scripture 
intimates no such thing, the spirit of prophecy retiring from him 
at some times as well as from the rest of the prophets. And 
indeed the prophetic spirit did not reside in the holy men by 
way of habit, but occasionally, as God saw fitting to pour it out 
upon them ; it was not in them as light is in the sun, but as 
light is in the air, and consequently depended upon the imme- 
diate irradiations of the Spirit of God. 

XV. These divine communications were so conveyed to the 
minds of the prophets and inspired persons, that they always 
knew them to be divine revelations ; so mighty and perspicuous 
was the evidence that came along with them, that there could 
be no doubt, but they were the birth of heaven. It is true, 
when the prophetic spirit at any time seized upon wicked men, 
they understood not its effect upon them, nor were in the least 
improved and bettered by it; the revelation passed through 
them, as a sound through a trunk, or water through a leaden 
pipe, without any particular and distinct apprehension of the 
thing, or useful impression made upon their minds ; as is evident, 
besides others, in the case of Caiaphas and Balaam, of which last 

1 Numb. xii. 6, 7, 8. 



the Jews say expressly, b-OJD jrr «!n D>n!?« pf *d km, that "he 
prophesied according to the will of God, but understood not 
what he prophesied." But it was otherwise with the true 
prophets ; they always knew who it was that acted them, and 
what was the meaning of that intelligence that was communi- 
cated to them. In the Gentile world, when the demon entered 
into the inspired person, he was usually carried out to the furious 
transports of rage and madness. But in the prophets of God, 
although the impulse might sometimes be very strong and vio- 
lent, (whence the prophet Jeremy complains, " Mine heart 
within me is broken, all my bones shake, I am like a drunken 
man, like a man whom wine hath overcome, because of the 
Lord, and because of the words of his holiness,") so as a little 
to ruffle their imagination, yet never so as to discompose their 
reason, or hinder them from a clear perception of the notices 
conveyed upon their minds; 6 irpo<f>i]Tr)<; fiera /caraardaew 
Xoyiaficbv, /cat irapaKo\ovdrjaeto<; ekaket,, teal i<f>0€yy€ro i/c 
irvev/MtTO? aylov, ra irdvra €ppa>fiev(o<; \€y<ov, says Ephi- 
phanius : m " the prophet had his oracles dictated by the Holy 
Spirit, which he delivered strenuously, and with the most firm 
and unshaken consistency of his rational powers;" and after- 
wards, 11 yeyovaat, 8& iv i/cardcrec oi irpo^rai, ovtc iv i/corao-ei, 
\oyi<Tfi<Sv> " that the prophets were often in a bodily ecstacy, but 
never in an ecstacy of mind," their understandings never being 
rendered useless and unserviceable to them. Indeed, it was 
absolutely necessary that the prophet should have a full satisfac- 
tion of mind concerning the truth and divinity of his message ; 
for how else should they persuade others that the thing was 
from God, if they were not first sufficiently assured themselves I 
and, therefore, even in those methods that were most liable to 
doubts and questions, such as communications by dreams, we 
cannot think but that the same spirit that moved and impressed 
the thing upon them, did also, by some secret and inward opera- 
tions, settle their minds in the firmest belief and persuasion of 
what was revealed and suggested to them. All these ways of 
immediate revelation ceased some hundreds of years before the 
final period of the Jewish church : a thing confessed not only 
by Christians, but by Jews themselves ;° rrn **b 9 

m Adv. Montan. Haeres. xlviii. 8. 3. n Ibid. 8. 7. 

• Nizz. p. 159. citante Hottipg. Thes. Phil. 1. ii. c. 3. p. 564. 

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"there was no prophet in the second temple indeed they 
universally acknowledge, that there were five things wanting in the 
second temple, built after their return from the Babylonish cap- 
tivity, which had been in that of Solomon ; viz. the ark of the 
covenant, the fire from heaven that lay upon the altar, the Shech- 
inah, or presence of the divine majesty, the Urim and Thum- 
mim, and the spirit of prophecy, which ceased (as they tell us) 
about the second year of Darius; to be sure at the death of 
Malachi, the last of that order, after whom there arose no 
prophet in Israel, whom therefore the Jews call, tDWiarr omrr, 
" the seal of the prophets. 11 Indeed it is no wonder that prophecy 
should cease at that time, if we consider that one of the prime 
ends of it did then cease, which was to be a seal and an as- 
surance of the divine inspiration of the holy volumes ; now the 
canon of the Old Testament being consigned and completed by 
Ezra, with the assistance of Malachi, and some of the last 
prophets, God did not think good any longer to continue this 
divine and miraculous gift among them : but especially, if we 
consider the great degeneracy into which that church was 
falling, their horrid and crying sins having made God resolve 
to reject them, the departure of the prophetic spirit shewed 
that God had written them a bill of divorce, and would utterly 
cast them off ; that by this means they might be awakened to 
a more lively expectation of that new state of things, which the 
Messiah was coming to establish in the world, wherein the 
prophetic spirit should revive, and be again restored to the 
church, which accordingly came to pass, as we shall elsewhere • 

XVI. The third thing propounded, was to consider the state 
of religion and the church under the successive periods of this 
economy. And here we shall only make some general remarks ; 
a particular survey of those matters not consisting with the 
design of this discourse. Ecclesiastical constitutions being made 
in the wilderness, and the place for public worship framed and 
erected, no sooner did they come into the promised land, but 
the tabernacle was set down at Gilgal, where, if the Jewish 
chronology say true, it continued fourteen years, till they had 
subdued and divided the land ; then fixed at Shiloh, and the 
priests and Levites had cities and territories assigned to them, 
where it is not to be doubted but there were synagogues, or 


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places equivalent, for prayer and the ordinary solemnities of re- 
ligion, and courts for the decision of ecclesiastical causes. Pros- 
perity and a plentiful country had greatly contributed to the 
depravation of men's manners, and the corruption of religion, 
till the times of Samuel, the great reformer of that church, who 
erected colleges and instituted schools of the prophets, reduced 
the societies of the Levites to their primitive order and purity, 
forced the priests to do their duty, diligently to minister in the 
affairs of God's worship, and carefully to teach and instruct 
the people: a piece of reformation no more than necessary, 
"for the word of the Lord was precious in those days, there 
was no open vision. 1 ' Three hundred and sixty-nine years (say 
the Jews) the tabernacle abode at Shiloh, from whence it was 
translated to Nob, a city in the tribe of Benjamin, probably 
about the time that the ark was taken ; thence, after thirteen 
years, to Gibeon, where it remained fifty years ; and lastly by 
Solomon to Jerusalem. The ark being taken to carry along 
with them for their more prosperous success in their war against 
the Philistines, was ever after exposed to an ambulatory and un- 
settled course: for being taken captive by the Philistines, it 
was by them kept prisoner seven months ; thence removed to 
Bethshemesh, and thence to Kirjath-jearim, where it remained 
in the house of Abinadab twenty years ; thence solemnly fetched 
by David, and after three months rest by the way in the house 
of Obed-Edom, brought triumphantly to Jerusalem, and placed 
under the covert of a tent which he had purposely erected for 
it. David being settled in the throne, like a pious prince took 
especial care of the affairs of religion : he fixed the high-priest 
and his second, augmented the courses of the priests from eight 
to four and twenty, appointed the Levites and singers and their 
several turns and times of waiting, assigned them their proper 
duties and ministeries, settled the nethinim or porters, the pos- 
terity of the Gibeonites; made treasurers of the revenues be- 
longing to holy uses, and of the vast sums contributed toward 
the building of a temple, as a more splemn and stately place for 
divine worship, which he was fully resolved to have erected,* 
but that God commanded it to be reserved for the peaceable 
and prosperous reign of Solomon; who succeeding in his father's 
throne, accomplished it, building so stately and magnificent a 
temple, that it became one of the greatest wonders of the world. 

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Under his son Rehoboam happened the fatal division of the 
kingdom, when ten parts of twelve were rent off at once, and 
brought under the empire of Jeroboam, who knew no better 
way to secure his new-gotten sovereignty, than to take off the 
people from hankering after the temple and the worship at Je- 
rusalem ; and therefore, out of a cursed policy, erected two 
golden calves at Dan and Bethel, persuading the people there 
to pay their public adorations, appointing chaplains like him- 
self, priests of the lowest of the people : and from this time re- 
ligion began visibly to ebb and decline in that kingdom, and 
idolatry to get ground amongst them. 

XVII. The two tribes of Judah and Benjamin were loyal 
both to God and their prince, continuing obedient to their lawful 
sovereign, and firmly adhering to the worship of the temple, 
though even here too impiety in some places maintained its 
ground, having taken root in the reign of Solomon, who, through 
his over-great partiality and fondness to his wives, had been be- 
trayed to give too much countenance to idolatry. The extirpa- 
tion hereof was the design and attempt of all the pious and good 
princes of Judah : Jehosaphat set himself in good earnest to re- 
cover religion and the state of the church to its ancient purity 
and lustre; he abolished the groves and high places, and ap- 
pointed itinerant priests and Levites to go from city to city to 
expound the law, and instruct the people in the knowledge of 
their duty; nay, he himself held a royal visitation, "going 
quite through the land, and bringing back the people to the 
Lord God of their fathers." p But under the succeeding kings 
religion again lost its ground, and had been quite extinct during 
the tyranny and usurpation of Athaliah, but that good Jehoiada, 
the high-priest, kept it alive by his admirable zeal and industry. 
While he lived, his pupil Joas (who owed both his crown and 
life to him) promoted the design, and purged the temple, though 
after his tutor's death he apostatized to profaneness and idolatry. 
Nor indeed was the reformation effectually advanced till the 
time of Hezekiah, who no sooner ascended the throne, but he 
summoned the priests and Levites, exhorted them to begin at 
home, and first to reform themselves, then to cleanse and repair 
the temple ; he resettled the priests and Levites in their proper 
places and offices, and caused them to offer all sorts of sacrifices, 

p 2 Chron. xix. 4. 

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and the passover to be universally celebrated with great strict- 
ness and solemnity; he destroyed the monuments of idolatry, 
" took away the altars in Jerusalem,'' and having given com- 
mission, the people did the like in all parts of the kingdom, 
breaking the images, cutting down the groves, throwing down 
the altars and high places, "until they had utterly destroyed 
them all." But neither greatness nor piety can exempt any 
from the common laws of mortality: Hezekiah dies, and his 
son Manasseh succeeds, a wicked prince, under whose influence 
impiety like a land-flood broke in upon religion, and laid all 
waste before it. But his grandchild Josiah made some amends, 
he gave signal instances of an early piety; for in the eighth year 
of his reign, " while he was yet young," he began " to seek after 
the God of David his father " q and in the twelfth year he began 
to purge Judah and Jerusalem; he defaced whatever had been 
abused and prostituted to idolatry and superstition throughout 
the whole kingdom, repaired God's house, and ordered its wor- 
ship according to the prescript of the Mosaic law, a copy 
whereof they had found in the ruins of the temple, solemnly 
engaged himself and his people to be true to religion and the 
worship of God, and caused so great and solemn a passover to 
be held, that u there was no passover like to it kept in Israel 
from the days of Samuel." And more he had done, had not an 
immature death cut him off in the midst both of his days and 
his pious designs and projects. Not many years after, God 
being highly provoked by the prodigious impieties of that na- 
tion, delivered it up to the army of the king of Babylon, who 
demolished the city, harassed the land, and carried the people 
captive unto Babylon. And no wonder the divine patience 
could hold no longer, when "all the chief of the priests and the 
people transgressed very much, after all the abominations of the 
heathen, and polluted the house of the Lord, which he had 
hallowed in Jerusalem." r Seventy years they remained under 
this captivity, during which time the prophet Daniel gave lively 
and particular accounts of the Messiah, that he should come 
into the world to introduce a law of " everlasting righteousness," 
to die as a sacrifice and expiation for the sins of the people, and 
to put a period to the Levitical sacrifices and oblations. And 
whereas other prophecies had only in general defined the time 

i 2 Chron. xxxiv. 3. r 2 Chron. xxxvi. 14. 



of the Messiah's coming, he" particularly determines the period, 
that all this should be at the end of seventy weeks; that is, at the 
expiration of four hundred and ninety years ; which exactly fell 
in with the time of our Saviour's appearing in the world. The 
seventy years captivity being run out, by the favour of the king 
of Babylon they were set free, and by him permitted and as- 
sisted to repair Jerusalem and rebuild the temple, which was 
accordingly done under the government of Nehemiah and the 
succeeding rulers, and the temple finished by Zorobabel, and 
things brought into some tolerable state of order and decency, 
and so continued till the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes, king of 
Syria, by whom the temple was profaned and violated, and the 
Jewish church miserably afflicted and distressed; he thrust out 
Onias the high-priest, and put in his brother Jason, a man lost 
both to religion and good manners, and who, by a vast sum of 
money, had purchased the priesthood of Antiochus. At this 
time Matthias, a priest, and the head of the Asmonsean family, 
stood up for his country; after whom came Judas Maccabseus, 
avrjp yevvalo? koI /ieya\o7r6\€/MO^ koX iravO* vwep tt}9 t&v 
irdXcT&v ikevOepia? xal hpacrai koX waduv vTroords, as Jo- 
sephus truly characters him, 8 " a man of a generous temper, and 
a valiant mind, ready to do or suffer any thing to assert the 
liberties and religion of his country," followed both in his zeal 
and prosperous success by his two brothers J onathan and Simon, 
successively high-priests and commanders after him. Next him 
came John, surnamed Hyrcanus ; then Aristobulus, Alexander, 
Hyrcanus, Aristobulus junior, Alexander, Antigonus ; in whose 
time Herod the Great having, by the favour of Antony, ob- 
tained of the Roman senate the sovereignty over the Jewish 
nation, and being willing that the priesthood should entirely 
depend upon his arbitrary disposure, abrogated the succession 
of the Asmonaaan family, and put in one Ananel, iepea t&v 
aar)iioT&p<DV) as Josephus calls him,* " an obscure priest," of the 
line of those who had been priests in Babylon. To him suc- 
ceeded Aristobulus; to him Jesus the son of Phabes; to him 
Simon, who being deposed, next came Matthias, deposed also by 
Herod ; next him Joazar, who underwent the same fate from 
Archelaus; then Jesus the son of Sie; after whom Joazar was 
again restored to the chair, and under his pontificate (though 

• Antki. Jud. 1. xii. c. 19. 1 Ibid. 1. xv. c 2. 


before his first deposition) Christ was born ; things every day 
growing worse among them, till about seventy years after the 
wrath of God came upon them to the uttermost, and brought 
the Romans, who finally took away their place and nation. 

XVIII. Before we go off from this part of our discourse, it 
may not be amiss to take a more particular view of the state of 
the Jewish church, as it stood at the time of our Saviours ap- 
pearing in the world, as what may reflect some considerable 
light upon the history of Christ and his apostles. And if we 
cast our eyes upon it at this time, " how was the gold become 
dim, and the most fine gold changed !" how miserably de- 
formed was the face of the church, how strangely degenerated 
from its primitive institution ! whereof we shall observe some 
particular instances. Their temple, though lately repaired and 
rebuilt by Herod, and that with so much pomp and grandeur, 
that Josephus, u who yet may justly be presumed partial to the 
honour of his own nation, says of it, that it was the most ad- 
mirable structure that was ever seen or heard of, both for the 
preparation made for it, the greatness and magnificence of the 
thing itself, and the infinite expense and cost bestowed upon it, 
as well as for the glory of that divine worship that was per- 
formed in it ; yet was it infinitely short of that of Solomon ; 
besides that it had been often exposed to rudeness and violence. 
Not to mention the horrible profanations of Antiochus, it had 
been of late invaded by Pompey, who boldly ventured into the 
sanctum sanctorum, and without any scruple curiously contem- 
plated the mysteries of that place, but suffered no injury to be 
offered to it. After him came Crassus, who to the others bold- 
ness added sacrilege, seizing what the other's piety and modesty 
had spared, plundering the temple of its vast wealth and 
treasure. Herod having procured the kingdom, besieged and 
took the city and the temple ; and though, to ingratiate himself 
with the people, he endeavoured what in him lay to secure it 
from rapine and impiety, and afterwards expended incredible 
sums in its reparation, yet did he not stick to make it truckle 
under his wicked policies and designs. The more to endear him- 
self to his patrons at Rome,* he set up a golden eagle of a vast 
dimension (the arms of the Roman empire) over the great gate 

» De Bell. Jud. 1. vii. c. 27. 

* Joseph. Antiq. Jud. 1. xvii. c. 8. et de Bell. Jud. 1. i. c. 21. 

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of the temple ; a thing /So expressly contrary to the law of 
Moses, which forbids all images, and accounted so monstrous a 
profanation of that holy place, that while Herod lay a dying, 
the people, in a great tumult and uproar, gathered together and 
pulled it down. A great part of it was become an exchange 
and a market ; the place where men were to meet with God, 
and to trade with heaven, was now turned into a warehouse for 
merchants and a shop for usurers, and " the house of prayer into 
a den of thieves." The worship formerly wont to be performed 
there with pious and devout affections, was now shrunk into a 
mere shell and outside; they "drew near to God with their 
mouths, and honoured him with their lips, but their hearts were 
far from him rites of human invention had jostled out those 
of divine institution, and their very prayers were made traps to 
catch the unwary people, and to devour the widow and the 
fatherless. Their priesthood was so changed and altered, that 
it retained little but its ancient name ; the high priests, who by 
their original charter were lineally to succeed, and to hold their 
place for life, were become almost annual, scarce a year passing 
over wherein one was not thrust out and another put in : vtto 
t£v ' Pa>fia'ife&v rjy€ji6va>v aWor aWoi dpj^iepaxrvvvjv iinrpeiro- 
p€Poi y ov wKelov 6TOU9 6V09 iirl Tavrrjs Sierekovv, as Eusebius 
notes out of their, own historian.* Nay, which was far worse, it 
was become not only annual but venal, Herod exposing it to 
sale, and scarce admitting any to the sacerdotal office, who had 
not first sufficiently paid for his patent ; and, which was the 
natural consequence of that, the place was filled with the refuse 
of the people, men of mean abilities and debauched manners, 
who had neither parts nor piety to recommend them, he being 
the best and the fittest man that offered most. Nay, into so 
strange a degeneracy were they fallen in this matter, that 
Josephus reports, 2 that one Phannias was elected high-priest, 
% not only a rustic and illiterate fellow, not only not of the sacer- 
dotal line, but so intolerably stupid and ignorant, that when 
they came to acquaint him, he knew not what the high-priest- 
hood meant. And not content to be imposed upon, and tyran- 
nized over by a foreign power, they fell a quarrelling among 
themselves, and mutually preyed upon one another : a the high- 
priests falling out with the inferior orders, and both parties 

y Hist EccL 1. i. c 10. * De Bell Jud. 1. iv. c 12. • Joseph. Antiq. 1. xx. c 8. 

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going with an armed retinue after them, ready to clash and 
fight wherever they met ; the high-priest sending his servants 
to fetch away the tithes due to the inferior priests, insomuch 
that many of t*he poorest of them were famished for want of 
necessary food. 

XIX. Their law, which had been delivered with so much 
majesty and magnificence, and for which they themselves pre- 
tended so great a reverence, they had miserably corrupted and 
depraved, (the moral part of it especially,) and that two ways. 
First, by gross and absurd interpretations, which the teachers 
of those times had put upon it. The scribes and pharisees, 
who ruled the chair in the Jewish church, had by false and 
corrupt glosses debased the majesty and purity of the law, and 
made it to serve the purposes of an evil life : they had taught 
the people, that the law required no more than external righteous- 
ness ; that if there was but a visible conformity of the life, they 
needed not be solicitous about the government of their minds, 
or the regular conduct of their thoughts or passions; that so 
men did but carry themselves fair to the eye of the world, it 
was no great matter how things went in the secret and unseen 
retirements of the soul; nay, that a punctual observance of some 
external precepts of the law would compensate and quit scores 
with God for the neglect or violation of the rest. They told 
men, that when the law forbad murder, so they did not actually 
kill another, and sheath their sword in their brother's bowels, it 
was well enough ; men were not restrained from furious and 
intemperate passions; they might be angry, yea, though by 
peevish and uncomely speeches they betrayed the rancour and 
malice of their minds. They confessed the law made it adultery 
actually to embrace the bosom of a stranger, but would not have 
it extend to wanton thoughts and unchaste desires, or that it 
was adultery for a man to lust after a woman, and to commit 
folly with her in his heart. They told them, that in all oaths 
and vows, if they did but perform what they had sworn to God, 
the law took no farther notice of it, whenas every vain and un- 
necessary oath, all customary and trifling use of the name of 
God, was forbidden by it. They made them believe that it was 
lawful for them to proceed by the rigorous law of retaliation, to 
exact their own to the utmost, and to right and revenge them- 
selves; whenas the law requires a tender, compassionate, and 

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benevolent temper of mind, and is so far from owning the 
rigorous punctilios of revenge, that it obliges to meekness and 
patience, to forgiveness and charity, and, which is the very height 
of charity, not only to pardon, but to' love and befriend our 
greatest enemies, quite contrary to the doctrine which these men 
taught, that though they were to love their neighbours, that is, 
Jews, yet might they hate their enemies. In these and such-like 
instances, they had notoriously abused and evacuated the law, 
and in a manner rendered it of no effect : and therefore when 
our Lord, as the great prophet sent from God, came into the 
world, the first thing be did after the entrance upon his public 
ministry, was to cleanse and purify the law, and to remove that 
rubbish which the J ewish doctors had cast upon it. He rescued 
it out of the hands of their poisonous and pernicious expositions, 
restored it to its just authority, and to its own primitive sense 
and meaning ; he taught them, that the law did not only bind 
the external act, but prescribe to the most inward motions of 
the mind, and that whoever transgresses here, is no less ob- 
noxious to the divine justice, and the penalties of the law, than 
he that is guilty of the most gross and palpable violations of it : 
he shewed them how infinitely more pure and strict the command 
was than these impostors had represented it ; and plainly told 
them, that if ever they expected to be happy, they must look 
upon the law with another-guise eye, and follow it after another 
rate, than their blind and deceitful guides did ; " for I say unto 
you, Except your righteousness exceed the righteousness of the 
scribes and pharisees, ye can in no case enter into the kingdom 
of God." 

XX. The other way by which they corrupted and dishonoured 
the law, and weakened the power and reputation of it, was by 
preferring before it their oral and unwritten law. For besides 
the law consigned to writing, they had their na httttf rmn, " their 
law delivered by word of mouth," whose pedigree they thus de- 
duce. They tell us, that when Moses waited upon God forty 
days in the mount, he gave him a double law, one in writing, the 
other traditionary, containing the sense and explication of the 
former : being come down into his tent, he repeated it first to 
Aaron, then to Ithamar and Eleazar his sons, then to the seventy 
elders, and lastly to all the people, the same persons being all 
this while present. Aaron, who had now heard it four times 

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recited, Moses being gone out, again repeated it before them : 
after his departure out of the tent, his two sons, who by this had 
heard it as oft as their father, made another repetition of it, by 
which means the seventy elders came to hear it four times ; and 
then they also repeated it to the congregation, who had now also 
heard it repeated four times together, once from Moses, then from 
Aaron, then from his sons, and lastly from the seventy elders ; 
after which the congregation broke up, and every one went home 
and taught it his neighbour. b This oral law Moses upon his 
death-bed repeated to Joshua, he delivered it to the elders, they 
to the prophets, the prophets to the men of the great synagogue, 
the last of whom was Simeon the Just, who delivered it to 
Antigonus Sochaeus, and he to his successors, the wise men, 
whose business it was to recite it, and so it was handed through 
several generations ; the names of the persons who delivered it 
in the several ages, from its first rise under Moses till above an 
hundred years after Christ, being particularly enumerated by 
Maimonides. At last it came to R. Jehuda, c commonly styled 
by the Jews t&npn WT), " our holy master," the son of Rabban 
Simeon, (who flourished a little before the time of the emperor 
Antoninus,) who, considering the unsettled and tottering con- 
dition of his own nation, and how apt these traditionary precepts 
would be to be forgotten or mistaken by the weakness of men's 
memories, or the perverseness of their wits, or the dispersion of the 
J ews in other countries, collected all these laws and expositions, 
and committed them to writing, styling his book Mishnaioth, or 
the " repetition." This was afterwards illustrated and explained 
by the Rabbins dwelling about Babylon, with infinite cases and 
controversies concerning their law, whose resolutions were at last 
compiled into another volume, which they called Gemara, or 
" doctrine," and both together constitute the entire body of the 
Babylonish Talmud, the one being the text, the other the com- 
ment. The folly and vanity of this account, though it be 
sufficiently evident to need no confutation with any wise and dis- 
cerning man, yet have the Jews in all ages made great advantage 
of it, magnifying and extolling it above the written law, with 
titles and elogies that hyperbolize into blasphemy. They tell 

b Pirk. Aboth. c. i. s. 1, 2, 3. p. 1. 

c Jad. Chazak. ex quo loc. satis prolixum citat Jos. Vois. de leg. div. c. 9. et seqq. 
ubi varias Judaeorum de Legis hujus origine et successione sententias videre est. 

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us, d that this is minn ipy, " the foundation of the law, 11 for whose 
sake it was that God entered into covenant with the Israelites : 
that without this the whole law would lie in the dark ; yea, be 
mere obscurity and darkness itself, as being contrary and repug- 
nant to itself, and defective in things necessary to be known : that 
it is joy to the heart and health to the bones ; that the words of 
it are more lovely and desirable than the words of the law, and 
a greater sin to violate the one than the other ; that it is little or 
no commendation for a man to read the Bible, but to study the 
Mishna is that for which a man shall receive a reward of the 
other world ; and that no man can have a peaceable and quiet 
conscience, who leaves the study of the Talmud to go to that of 
the Bible ; that the Bible is like water, the Mishna like wine, the 
Talmud like spiced wine ; that all the words of the Rabbins are 
the very words of the living God, from which a man might not 
depart, though they should tell him his right hand were his left, 
and his left his right ; nay, they blush not nor tremble to assert, 
ptn TDK kOpoi porn oat*, that " to study in the Holy Bible is 
nothing else but to lose our time." I will mention but one bold 
and blasphemous sentence more, that we may see how far these 
desperate wretches are given over to a spirit of impiety and in- 
fatuation : they tell us, that he that dissents from his Rabbin, or 
teacher, nroun j>dkd3 Canaan *in*D pDNom rwn by pinna, " dis- 
sents from the divine majesty, but he that believes the words of 
the wise men, believes God himself." 

XXI. Strange ! that men should so far offer violence to their 
reason, so far conquer and subdue their conscience, as to be able 
to talk at this wild and prodigious rate : and strange it would 
seem, but that we know a generation of men, great patrons of 
tradition too, in another church, who mainly endeavour to 
debase and suppress the scriptures, and value their unwritten 
traditions at little less rate than this. But I let them pass. 
This is no novel and upstart humour of the Jews; they were 
notoriously guilty of it in our Saviour's days, whom we find 
frequently charging them with their superstitious observances 
of many little rites and usages derived from the traditions of 
the elders, wherein they placed the main of religion, and for 
which they had a far more sacred regard than for the plain 

4 Vid. Buxtorfc de Abbrev. p. 222. et de Synag. Jud. c. 3. Hotting. Thes. Phil. 
1. ii. c. 3. 

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and positive commands of God. Such were their frequent wash- 
ings of their pots and cups, their brazen vessels and tables,* the 
purifying themselves after they came from market, (as if the 
touching of others had defiled them,) the washing their hands 
before every meal, and " many other things which they had re- 
ceived to hold." In all which they were infinitely nice and 
scrupulous, making the neglect of them of equal guilt with the 
greatest immorality; not sticking to affirm, that he who eats 
bread with unwashen hands/ mil TTWX bv »n iV^D, " is as if he 
lay with an harlot." This, it is plain, they thought a sufficient 
charge against our Lord's disciples, that they were not zealous 
observers of these things. " When they saw some of his dis- 
ciples eat bread with defiled (that is to say, with unwashen) 
hands, they found fault ; and asked him, Why walk not thy 
disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread 
with unwashen hands F 1 To whom our Saviour smartly an- 
swered, that they were the persons of whom the prophet had 
spoken, who " honoured God with their lips, but their hearts 
were far from him ; that in vain did they worship bim, while 
for doctrines they taught the commandments of men, laying 
aside and rejecting the commandments of God, that they might 
hold the tradition of men." For they were not content to make 
them of equal value and authority with the word of God, but 
made them a means wholly to evacuate and supersede it. 
Whereof our Lord gives a notorious instance in the case of 
parents. They could not say but that the law obliged children 
to honour and revere their parents, and to administer to their 
necessities in all straits and exigencies ; but they had found out a 
fine way to evade the force of the command, and that under a pious 
and plausible pretence. " Moses said, Honour thy father and 
thy mother : and whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the 
death. But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, 
It is Corlan, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest 
be profited by me, he shall be free: and ye suffer him no 
more to do aught for his father or mother by which is com- 
monly understood, that when their parents required relief and 
assistance from their children, they put them off with this ex- 

• Mark vii. 2, 3. et seqq. 
. f Matth. xv. 1. Talro. Tr. Sota, cap. 1. vid. Buxtorf, Syn. Jud. c. 1 1. p. 236. Mark 
vii. 2—5. 


cuse, that they had consecrated their estate to God, and might 
not divert it to any other use. Though this seems a specious 
and plausible pretence, yet it is not reasonable to suppose that 
either they had, or would pretend that they had, entirely de- 
voted whatever they had to God, and must therefore refer to 
some other custom. Now among the many kinds of oaths and 
vows that were among the Jews, they had one which they called 
id*k Yti, "the vow of interdict," 8 whereby a man might restrain 
himself as to this or that particular person, and this or that 
particular thing; as, he might vow not to accept of such a 
courtesy from this friend or that neighbour, or that he would 
not part with this or that thing of his own to such a man, to 
lend him his horse, or give him any thing towards his main- 
tenance, &c. and then the thing became utterly unlawful, and 
might not be done upon any consideration whatsoever, lest the 
man became guilty of the violation of his vow. The form of 
this vow frequently occurs in the Jewish writings, and even in 
the very same words wherein our Lord expresses it, \T\p 
*\b r-tti"ti, " be it corban, or a gift, (that is, a thing sacred,) whereby 
I may be any ways profitable to thee that is, be that thing 
unlawful or prohibited to me, wherein I may be helpful apd 
assistant to thee. And nothing more common than this way of 
vowing in the particular case of parents, whereof there are 
abundant instances in the writings of the Jewish masters, who 
thus explain the forementioned vow, nuny vxw no to nit unipn 
kin "»& to ilbo, " whatever I shall gain hereafter shall be sacred, 
as to the maintenance of my father or, as Maimonides ex- 
presses it, " that what I provide, my father shall eat nothing of 
it," th$it is, says he, " he shall receive no profit by it ;" and then, 
as they tell us, l&nb w» tzmp*, "he that had thus vowed, 
might not transgress or make void his vow." So that when 
indigent parents craved relief and assistance from their children, 
and probably wearied them with importunity, it was but vowing 
in a passionate resentment, that they should not be better for 
what they had, and then they were safe, and might no more 
dispose any part of their estate to that use, than they might 
touch the corban, that which was most solemnly consecrated to 
God. By which means they were taught to be unnatural under 

f Vid. Lud. Cappell. diatrib. de Corban. Grot Annot in Matth. xv. 5.- CocceL in 
Excerpt Gemar. Sanhed. p. 273. Hotting. Thes. Phil. 1. i. c. 1. sect 5. p. 31. 


a pretence of religion, and to suffer their parents to starve, lest 
themselves should violate a senseless and unlawful vow. So that 
though they were under the precedent obligations of a natural 
duty, a duty as clearly commanded by God as words could ex- 
press it, yet a blind tradition, a rash and impious vow, made 
for the most part out of passion or covetousness, should cancel 
and supersede all these obligations; it being unlawful hence- 
forth to give them one penny to relieve them : " Ye suffer him no 
more (says our Lord) to do aught for his father or his mother, 
making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, 
which ye have delivered." 

XXII. The last instance that I shall note of the corruption 
and degeneracy of this church, is the many sects and divisions 
that were in it; a thing which the Jews themselves in their 
writings confess would happen in the day§ of the Messiah, whose 
kingdom should be overrun with heretical opinions. That church 
which heretofore, like Jerusalem, had been "at unity within it- 
self," was now miserably broken into sects and factions ; whereof 
three most considerable, Pharisees, Sadducees, and the Essenes. 
The Pharisees derive their name from una, which may admit of 
a double signification, and either not unsuitable to them : it may 
refer to them as tzwn&, "explainers " or interpreters of the law, 
which was a peculiar part of their work, and for which they 
were famous and venerable among the Jews ; or more probably 
to their separation, (the most proper and natural importance of 
the word,) so called, Sia to. atfxopiafievovs etvav avrovs dirb 
rcSv a\X©v, as Epiphanius observed of old, h because separated 
from all others in their extraordinary pretences of piety, the 
very Jews themselves thus describing a Pharisee: 1 he is one 
n«ono Hod raw ww, " that separates himself from all unclean- 
ness, and from all unclean meats, and from the people of the 
earth," (the common rout,) " who accurately observe not the 
difference of meats." It is not certain when this sect first thrust 
up its head into the world, probably not long after the. times of 
the Maccabees ; it is certain they were of considerable standing, 
and great account in the time of our Saviour : to be sure, strangely 
wide of the mark are those Jewish chronologists who say, k 
that the sect of the Pharisees arose in the times of Tiberius 

h Haeres. xvi. s. I. 1 Baal Aruch in toc. U^HS). 

k R. Ged Schal. Kabb. p. 104. citante Hotting. Thes. Phil. 1. i. c 1. p. 27. 

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Caesar and Ptolemy the Egyptian, under whom the Septuagint 
translation was accomplished ; as if Ptolemy Philadelphus and 
Tiberius Caesar had been contemporaries, between whom there 
is the distance of no less than two hundred and sixty years. 
But whenever it began, a bold and daring sect it was, not fearing 
to affront princes and persons of the greatest quality, crafty 
and insinuative, and who by a shew of great zeal and infinite 
strictness in religion, beyond the rate of other men, had procured 
themselves a mighty reverence from the people ; so strict, that 
(as a learned man observes 1 ) Pharisee is used in the Talmudick 
writings to denote a pious and holy man; and Benjamin the 
J ew, speaking of R. Ascher, says, m he was tm&Jttf tim&n, " a truly 
devout man, separate from the affairs of this world." And yet 
under all this seeming severity they were but religious villains, 
spiteful and malicious, griping and covetous, great oppressors, 
merciless dealers, heady and seditious, proud and scornful, in- 
deed guilty of most kinds of immorality ; of whose temper and 
manners I say the less in this place, having elsewhere given an 
account of them. They held that the oral law was of infinitely 
greater moment and value than the written word; that the 
traditions of their forefathers were above all things to be em- 
braced and followed, the strict observance whereof would entitle 
a man to eternal life ; n that the souls of men are immortal, and 
had their dooms awarded in the subterraneous regions; that 
there is a metempsychosis, or transmigration of pious souls out of 
one body into another ; that things come to pass by fate, and 
an inevitable necessity, and yet that man's will is free, that by 
this means men might be rewarded and punished according to 
their works. I add no more concerning them, than that some 
great men of the church of Rome say, with some kind of boast- 
ing, that such as were the Pharisees among the Jews, such are 
the religious (they mean the monastical orders of their church) 
among Christians. Much good may it do them with the com- 
parison, I confess myself so far of their mind, that there is too 
great a conformity between them. 

XXIII. Next the Pharisees come the Sadducees, as opposite 
to them in their temper as their principles ; so called (as Epi- 
phanius and some others will have it) from ply, "justice," as 

k L'Emper. not. in Benjam. m Itiner. p. 147. Ibid. p. 6. 

n Vid. Joseph. Antiq. Jud. L xviil c. 2. et de BelL Jud. L ii. c 12. 


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pretending themselves to be very just and righteous men, but 
this agrees not with the account given of their lives. They are 
generally thought to have been denominated from Sadoc, the 
scholar of Antigonus Sochaeus, who flourished about the year of 
the world 3720, two hundred and eighty-four years before the 
nativity of our Saviour. They pass under a very ill character 
even among the writers of their own nation, nijn rmD »#un, 
" impious men, and of very loose and debauched manners 
which is no more than what might be expected as the natural 
consequence of their principles, this being one of their main dog- 
mata or opinions, that the soul is not immortal, and that there is 
no future state after this life. The occasion of which desperate 
principle is said to have been a mistake of the doctrine of their 
master, Antigonus, 0 who was wont to press his scholars not to be 
like mercenary servants, who serve their masters merely for what 
they can get by them ; but to serve God for himself, without 
expectation of rewards. This, Sadoc and Baithos, two of his 
disciples, misunderstanding, thought their master had peremp- 
torily denied any state of future rewards ; and having laid this 
dangerous foundation, these unhappy superstructures were built 
upon it : that there is no resurrection ; for if there be no reward, 
what need that the body should rise again ? that the soul is not 
immortal, nor exists in the separate state, for if it did, it must be 
either rewarded or punished ; and if not the soul, then by the 
same proportion of reason, no spiritual substance, neither angel 
nor spirit ; that there is no Divine Providence, but that God is 
perfectly placed as beyond the commission, so beyond the in- 
spection and regard of what sins or evils are done or happen in 
the world ; p as, indeed, what great reason to believe a wise and 
righteous Providence, if there be no reward or punishment for 
virtue and vice in another life I These pernicious and atheistical 
opinions justly exposed them to the reproach and hatred of the 
people, who were wont eminently to style them gwd, " the 
heretics, infidels, epicureans,"" ilo words being thought bad enough 
to bestow upon them. They rejected the traditions so vehe- 
mently asserted by the Pharisees, and taught that men were to 
keep to the letter of the law, and that nothing was to be imposed 
either upon their behalf or practice, but what was expressly 
owned and contained in it. Josephus observes, that they were 

° Pirk. Aboth. c. i. s. 3. p. m. 1. p Joseph, de Bell Jud. 1. it c 12. 


the fewest of all the sects, q irp&rob Si rofc a^tco/jLacn, but usually 
men of the better rank and quality; as what wonder, if rich and 
great men, who tumble in the pleasures and advantages of a 
prosperous fortune, be willing to take sanctuary at those opinions 
that afford the greatest patronage to looseness and debauchery, 
and care not to hear of being called to account in another world 
for what they have done in this ? For this reason the Sadducees 
ever appeared the greatest sticklers to preserve the peace, and 
were the most severe and implacable justicers against the authors 
or fomenters of tumults and seditions, lest they should disturb 
and interrupt their soft and easy course of life, the only happi- 
ness their principles allowed them to expect. 

XXIV. The Essenes succeed, a sect probably distinct from 
either of the former. Passing by the various conjectures con- 
cerning the derivation of their name, which, when dressed up 
with all advantages, are still but bare conjectures, they began 
about the times of the Maccabees, when the violent persecutions 
of Antiochus forced the Jews for their own safety to retire to the 
woods and mountains. And though in time the storm blew over, 
yet many of them were too well pleased with these undisturbed 
solitudes to return, and therefore combined themselves into reli- 
gious societies, leading a solitary and contemplative course of life, 
and that in very great numbers, there being usually above four 
thousand of them, as both Philo and Josephus tell us. Pliny 
takes notice of them/ and describes them to be a solitary gene- 
ration, remarkable above all others in this, that they live without 
women, without any embraces, without money, conversing with 
nothing but woods and palm-trees ; that their numbers increased 
every day as fast as any died, persons flocking to them from all 
. quarters to seek repose here, after they had been wearied with 
the inquietudes of an improsperous fortune. They paid a due 
reverence to the temple, 8 by sending gifts and presents thither, 
but yet worshipped God at home, and used their own rites and 
ceremonies. Every seventh day they publicly met in their syna- 
gogues,* where, the younger seating themselves at the feet of the 
elder, one reads some portions out of a book, which another, 
eminently skilled in the principles of their sect, expounds to the 

i Joseph. Antiq. Jud. 1. xviii. c. 2. r Hist. Nat 1. v. c. 17. 

• Vid. Phil. lib. quod omnis probus liber, p. 876, 877. 

1 Joseph. Antiq. Jud. L xviii. c. 2. preecipuc de Bell. Jud. L ii. c. 12. 


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rest, (their dogmata, like the philosophy of the ancients, being 
obscurely and enigmatically delivered to them,) instructing them 
in the rules of piety and righteousness, and all the duties that 
concerned God, others, or themselves. They industriously tilled 
and cultivated the ground, and lived upon the fruits of their own 
labours ; had all their revenues in common, there being neither 
rich nor poor among them : their manners were very harmless 
and innocent, exact observers of the rules of justice, somewhat 
beyond the practice of other men. As for that branch of them 
that lived in Egypt, whose excellent manners and institutions are 
so particularly described and commended by Philo, and whom 
Eusebius and others will needs have to have been Christians con- 
verted by St. Mark, we have taken notice of elsewhere in St. 
Mark's Life. We find no mention of them in the history of the 
gospel, probably because, living remote from cities and all places 
of public concourse, they never concerned themselves in the actions 
of Christ and his apostles. What their principles were in matters 
of speculation is not much material to inquire, their institutions 
mainly referring to practice. Out of a great regard to wisdom and 
virtue they neglected all care of the body, renounced all conjugal 
embraces, abstained very much from meats and drinks, some of 
them not eating or drinking for three, others for five or six days 
together, accounting it unbecoming men of such a philosophical 
temper and genius to spend any part of the day upon the neces- 
sities of the body. Their way they called depaireiav, " worship," 
and their rules ao<f>ia<; 86y/j,ara, " doctrines of wisdom their 
contemplations were sublime and speculative, and of things be- 
yond the ordinary notions of other sects ; they traded in the 
names and mysteries of angels, and in all their carriages bore a 
great shew of modesty and humility. And, therefore, these in • 
all likelihood were the very persons whom St. Paul primarily de- 
signed, (though not excluding others who espoused the same 
principles,) when he charges the Colossians" to let no man beguile 
them of their reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of 
angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly 
puffed up by his fleshly mind, that being dead to the rudiments 
of the world, they should no longer, Soyfiarl&dai, be subject to 
these dogmata or ordinances, such as touch not, taste not, handle 
not, (the main principles of the Essenian institution,) being the 

u CoLii 18,20,21,22,23. 


commandments and doctrines of men ; which things have indeed 
a shew of wisdom in will- worship and humility, and neglecting 
of the body, not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh. 
Besides these three greater, there were several other lesser sects 
in the Jewish church, such as the Herodians, supposed to have 
been either part of Herod's guard, or a combination of men, who, 
to ingratiate themselves with the prince, maintained Herod to be 
the Messiah, and at their own charge celebrated his coronation 
days, as also the sabbath, when they used to set lighted candles 
crowned with violets in their windows ; an opinion which St. 
Hierom justly laughs at as trifling and ridiculous/ Probably they 
were a party that had espoused Herod's interest, and endeavoured 
to support his new-gotten sovereignty. For Herod being a 
stranger, and having by the Roman power usurped the kingdom, 
was generally hateful and burdensome to the people, and there- 
fore, besides the assistance of a foreign power, needed some to 
stand by him at home. They were peculiarly active in pressing 
people to pay tribute to Caesar, Herod being obliged, (as St. 
Hierom observes,*) by the charter of his sovereignty, to look after 
the tribute due to Caesar, and they could not do him a more ac- 
ceptable service, by this means endearing him to his great pa- 
trons at Rome. In matters of opinion, they seem to have sided 
with the Sadducees: what St. Matthew calls " the leaven of the 
Sadducees," 2 St. Mark styles the " leaven of Herod."* Probable 
it is, that they had drawn Herod to be of their principles, that, 
as they asserted his right to the kingdom, he might favour and 
maintain their impious opinions : and it is likely enough, that a 
man of so debauched manners might be easily tempted to take 
shelter under principles that so directly served the purposes of a 
•bad life. Another sect in that church were the Samaritans, the 
posterity of those who succeeded in the room of the ten capti- 
vated tribes, a mixture of Jews and Gentiles; they held, that 
nothing but the Pentateuch was the word of God, that mount 
Gerizim was the true place of public and solemn worship, that 
they were the descendants of J oseph, and heirs of the Aaronical 
priesthood, and that no dealing or correspondence was to be 
maintained with strangers, nor any unclean thing to be touched. 
The Karraeans were a branch of the Sadducees, but rejected after- 

* Comm. in Matt. xxii. * Loc. citat. 

* Mattxyi. 6. a Mark, viii. 15. 

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wards their abominable and unsound opinions ; they are the true 
Textualists, adhering only to the writings of Moses and the pro- 
phets, and expounding the scripture by itself, peremptorily dis- 
owning the absurd glosses of the Talmud, and the idle traditions 
of the Rabbins ; insomuch, that they admit not so much as the 
Hebrew points into their bibles, accounting them part of the oral 
and traditionary law ; for which reason they are greatly hated 
by the rest of the Jews. They are in great numbers about Con- 
stantinople, and in other places, at this day. There was also the 
sect of the Zealots, frequently mentioned by Josephus, a gene- 
ration of men insolent and ungovernable, fierce and savage, who, 
under a pretence of extraordinary zeal for God and the honour 
of his law, committed the most enormous outrages against God 
and man ; but of them we have given an account in the Life of 
St. Simon the Zealot. And yet, as if all this had not been 
enough to render their church miserable within itself, their sins 
and intestine divisions had brought in the Roman power upon 
them, who set magistrates and taskmasters over them, depressed 
their great Sanhedrim, put in and out senators at pleasure, made 
the temple pay tribute, and placed a garrison at hand to com- 
mand it, abrogated a great part of their laws, and stripped them 
so naked both of civil and ecclesiastical order and authority, that 
they had not power left so much as to put a man to death. All 
evident demonstrations that Shiloh was come, and the "sceptre 
departed that " the sacrifice and oblation was to cease, the 
Messiah being cut off, who came to finish transgression, to make 
an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring 
in everlasting righteousness." 

The gradual revelations concerning the Messiah. John the Baptist Christ's forerunner. 
His extraordinary birth. His austere education, and way of life. His preaching, 
what His initiating proselytes by baptism. Baptism in use in the Jewish church. 
Its original, whence. His resolution and impartiality. His martyrdom. The cha- 
racter given him by Josephus and the Jews. The Evangelical dispensation, wherein 
it exceeds that of Moses. Its perspicuity and perfection. Its agreeableness to human 
nature. The evangelical promises better than those of the law, and in what respects. 




The aids of the Spirit plentifully afforded under the gospel. The admirable confirma- 
tion of this economy. The great extent and latitude of it Judaism not capable of 
being communicated to all mankind. The comprehensiveness of the gospel. The 
duration of the evangelical covenant The Mosaical statutes, in what sense said to be 
" for ever." The typical and transient nature of that state. The great happiness of 
Christians under the economy of the gospel 

God having from the very infancy of the world promised the 
Messiah, as the great Redeemer of mankind, was accordingly 
pleased in all ages to make gradual discoveries and manifesta- 
tions of him, the revelations concerning him in every dispensation 
of the church still shining with a bigger and more particular 
light, the nearer this "sun of righteousness " was to his rising. 
The first gospel and glad tidings of him commenced with the 
fall of Adam, God, out of infinite tenderness and commiseration, 
promising to send a person who should triumphantly vindicate 
and rescue mankind from the power and tyranny of their ene- 
mies, and that he should do this by taking the human nature 
upon him, and being born of " the seed of the woman."" No further 
account is given of him till the times of Abraham, to whom it 
was revealed, that he should proceed out of his loins, and arise 
out of the Jewish nation, though both Jew and Gentile should 
be made happy by him. To his grandchild Jacob, God made 
known out of what tribe of that nation he should rise, the " tribe 
of J udah and what would be the time of his appearing, viz. 
the "departure of the sceptre from Judah," the abrogation of 
the civil and legislative power of that tribe and people, (accom- 
plished in Herod the Idumaean, set over them by the Roman 
power.) And this is all we find concerning him under that 
economy. Under the legal dispensation, we find Moses fore- 
telling one main errand of his coming, which was to be the great 
Prophet of the church, 5 to whom all were to hearken, as an ex- 
traordinary person sent from God to acquaint the world with 
the counsels and the laws of heaven. The next news we hear 
from him is from David, c who was told that he should spring 
out of his house and family, and who frequently speaks of his 
sufferings, and the particular manner of his death, by " piercing 
his hands and his feet of his powerful resurrection, that " God 
would not leave his soul in hell, nor suffer his holy one to see cor- 
ruption ; " of his triumphant ascension into heaven, and glorious 

b Deut xviiii. 15—19. c Psalm, xxii. 15. xvi. 10. lxviii. 18. ex. 1. 

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" session at God's right hand." From the prophet Isaiah d we 
have an account of the extraordinary and miraculous manner 
of his birth, that he should "be born of a virgin," and his name 
be Immanuel ; of his incomparable furniture of gifts and graces 
for the execution of his office, of the entertainment he was to 
meet with in the world, and of the nature and design of those 
sufferings which he was to undergo. The place of his birth was 
foretold by Micah, 6 which was to be Bethlehem-Ephratah, the 
least of the cities of Judah, but honoured above all the rest with 
the nativity of a prince, who was to be " ruler in Israel, whose 
goings forth had been from everlasting." Lastly, the prophet 
Daniel f fixes the particular period of his coming, expressly af- 
firming, that the Messiah should appear in the world, and be 
cut off as a victim and expiation for the sins of the people at the 
expiration of seventy prophetical weeks, or four hundred and 
ninety years, which accordingly punctually came to pass. 

II. For the date of the prophetic scriptures concerning the 
time of the Messiah's coming being now run out, " in the fulness 
of time God sent his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 
to redeem them that were under the law :" this being the truth 
of which " God spake by the mouth of all his holy prophets, 
which have been since the world began." But because it was 
not fit that so great a person should come into the world with- 
out an eminent harbinger to introduce and usher in his arrival, 
God had promised that he would "send his messenger, who 
should prepare his way before him, even Elijah the prophet," g 
whom he would send " before the coming of that great day of the 
Lord, who should turn the hearts of the fathers to the children," 
&c. This was particularly accomplished in John the Baptist, 
who " came in the power and spirit of Elias." He t was the 
morning-star to the Sun of righteousness, fiiya? ical ovk ayva>- 
0-7-09 o 7rp6Spofio^ as St. Cyril says of him, h " the great and 
eminent forerunner," a person remarkable upon several accounts. 
First, for the extraordinary circumstances of his nativity, his 
birth foretold by an angel sent on purpose to deliver this joyful 
message, a sign God intended him for great undertakings, this 
being never done but where God designed the person for some 
uncommon services; his parents aged, and though "both righteous 

d Isai. vii. 14. lxi. 1, 2. liii. 1, 2, 3, etc e Mic. v. 2. f Dan. ix. 24. 26. 
* Mai. iii. 1. iv. 5, 6. h Comm. in Joan. i. 15. 

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before God," yet hitherto childless : heaven does not dispense all 
its bounty to the same person ; children, though great and desir- 
able blessings, are yet often denied to those for whom God has 
otherwise very dear regards. " Elisabeth was barren, and they 
were both well stricken in years." But " is any thing too hard 
for the Lord?" said God to Abraham in the same case: God 
has the key of the womb in his own keeping, it is one of the 
divine prerogatives, that " he makes the barren woman to keep 
house, and to be a joyful mother of children. 1 ' 1 A son is pro- 
mised, and mighty things said of him : a promise which old 
Zachary had scarce faith enough to digest, and therefore had 
the assurance of it sealed to him by a miraculous dumbness im- 
posed upon him till it was made good, the same miracle at once 
confirming his faith and punishing his infidelity. Accordingly, 
his mother conceived with child, and as if he would do part of 
his errand before he was born, he " leaped in her womb " at her 
salutation of the Virgin Mary, then newly conceived with child 
of our blessed Saviour ; a piece of homage paid by one, to one, 
yet unborn. 

III. These presages were not vain and fallible, but produced a 
person no less memorable for the admirable strictness and 
austerity of his life. For having escaped Herod's butcherly and 
merciless executioners, (the Divine Providence being a shelter 
and a cover to him,) and been educated among the rudenesses 
and solitudes of the wilderness, his manners and way of life 
were very agreeable to his education. His garments borrowed 
from no other wardrobe than the backs of his neighbour-crea- 
tures, the skins of beasts, camel's hair, and a leathern girdle ; 
and herein he literally made good the character of Elias,* who 
is described as " an hairy man, girt with a leathern girdle about 
his loins.'" His diet suitable to his garb, " his meat was locusts 
and wild honey locusts, accounted by all nations among the 
meanest and vilest sorts of food ; wild honey, such as the natural 
artifice and labour of the bees had stored up in caverns and 
hollow trees, without any elaborate curiosity to prepare and 
dress it up. Indeed, his abstinence was so great, and his food 
so unlike other men's, that the evangelist says of him, that " he 
came neither eating nor drinking," as if he had eaten nothing, 
or at least what was worth nothing. But " meat commends us 

* 2 Kings I 8. 

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not to God ; 11 it is the devout mind and the honest life that 
makes us valuable in the eye of heaven. The place of his abode 
was not in king's houses, in stately and delicate palaces, but 
where he was born and bred, " the wilderness of Judea, he was 
in the deserts until the time of his shewing unto Israel." k Divine 
grace is not confined to particular places, it is not the holy city, 
or the temple at mount Sion makes us nearer unto heaven ; God 
can, when he please, consecrate a desert into a church, make 
us gather grapes among thorns, and religion become fruitful in a 
barren wilderness. 

IV. Prepared by so singular an education, and furnished with 
an immediate commission from God, he entered upon the actual 
administration of his office : " In those days came John the 
Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, 
Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. 11 He was 
XpiaTov 7rpd>T7)q <f>av€pu><T€G><; icrjpv^ as Justin Martyr calls 
him, 1 " the herald to proclaim the first approach of the holy 
Jesus; 11 his whole ministry tending to prepare the way to his en- 
tertainment, accomplishing herein what was of old foretold con- 
cerning him : " For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet 
Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, 
Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 11 He 
told the Jews, that the Messiah whom they had so long expected 
was now at hand, and his kingdom ready to appear ; that the 
Son of God was come down from heaven, a person as far beyond 
him in dignity as in time and existence, to whom he was not 
worthy to minister in the meanest offices; that he came to 
introduce a new and better state of things ; to enlighten the 
world with the clearest revelations of the divine will, and to 
acquaint them with counsels brought from the bosom of the 
Father ; to put a period to all the types and umbrages of the 
Mosaic dispensation, and bring in the truth and substance of 
all those shadows, and to open a fountain of grace and fulness 
to mankind ; to remove that state of guilt into which human 
nature was so deeply sunk, and, as the Lamb of God, by the 
expiatory sacrifice of himself, to take away the sin of the world, 
not like the continual burnt-offering, the lamb offered morning 
and evening, only for the sins of the house of Israel, but for 
Jew and Gentile, Barbarian and Scythian, bond and free. He 

k Luke i 80. 

1 Dial, cum Tryph. s. 49. 


told them, that God had a long time borne with the sins of men, 
and would now bring things to a quicker issue, and that there- 
fore they should do well to break off their sins by repentance, 
and by a serious amendment and reformation of life dispose 
themselves for the glad tidings of the gospel ; that they should 
no longer bear up themselves upon their external privileges, the 
fatherhood of Abraham, and their being God's select and pe- 
culiar people ; that God would raise up to himself another 
generation, a posterity of Abraham from among the Gentiles, 
who should walk in his steps, in the way of his unshaken faith 
and sincere obedience ; and that if all this did not move them 
to bring " forth fruits meet for repentance,*" the " axe was laid 
to the root of the tree," to extirpate their church, and to hew 
them down as fuel for the unquenchable fire. His free and re- 
solute preaching, together with the great severity of his life, 
procured him a vast auditory, and numerous proselytes, for 
" there went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judea, and the 
region round about Jordan persons of all ranks and orders, of 
all sects and opinions, Pharisees and Sadducees, soldiers and 
publicans, whose vices he impartially censured and condemned, 
and pressed upon them the duties of their particular places and 
relations. Those whom he gained over to be proselytes to his 
doctrine he entered into this new institution of life by baptism, 
(and hence he derived his title of the Baptist,) a solemn and 
usual way of initiating proselytes, no less than circumcision, 
and of great antiquity in the Jewish church. " In all times, 
(says Maimonides,"') if any Gentile would enter into covenant, 
remain under the wings of the Shechinah, or Divine Majesty, 
and take upon him the yoke of the law, he is bound to have 
pip nnnm n^ntoi n^D, ' circumcision, baptism, and a peace- 
offering and if a woman, baptism and an oblation, because it 
is said, As ye are, so shall the stranger be ; as ye yourselves 
entered into covenant by circumcision, baptism, and a peace- 
offering, so ought the proselyte also, in all ages, to enter in." 
Though this last, he confesses, is to be omitted during their pre- 
sent state of desolation, and to be made when their temple shall 
be rebuilt. This rite they generally make contemporary with 
the giving of the law. So Maimonides : n " By three things 

m Maim. Issur. Biah. c. 13. vid. Jac. Alting. Dissert. Philol. vii. de Prosolyt sect 25. 
num. 15, 16. n Ibid. s. 24. 


(says he) the Israelites entered into covenant," (he means the 
national covenant at mount Sinai,) " by circumcision, baptism, 
and an oblation ; baptism being used some little time before the 
law ;" which he proves from that place, 0 " Sanctify the people 
to-day and to-morrow, and let them wash their clothes." This 
the Rabbins unanimously expound concerning baptism, and ex- 
pressly affirm, that " wherever we read of the washing of clothes, 
there an obligation to baptism is intended." Thus they entered 
into the first covenant; upon the frequent violations whereof, 
God having promised to make a new and solemn covenant with 
them in the times of the Messiah, they expected a second bap- 
tism, as that which should be the rite of their initiation kito it. 
And this, probably, is the reason why the apostle, writing to the 
Hebrews, 0 speaks of the " doctrine of baptisms" (in the plural 
number) as one of the primary and elementary principles of the 
faith, wherein the catechumens were to be instructed ; meaning, 
that besides the baptism whereby they had been initiated into 
the Mosaic covenant, there was another by which they were to 
enter into this new economy that was come upon the world. 
Hence the Sanhedrim, (to whom the cognizance of such cases 
did peculiarly appertain,) when told of John's baptism, never 
expressed any wonder at it, as a new upstart ceremony, it being 
a thing daily practised in their church ; nor found fault with the 
thing itself, which they supposed would be a federal rite under 
the dispensation of the Messiah ; but only quarrelled with him 
for taking upon him to administer it, when yet he denied him- 
self to be one of the prime ministers of this new state. " They 
said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that 
Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet ?" q Either of which had 
he owned himself, they had not questioned his right to enter 
proselytes by this way of baptism. It is called the " baptism 
of repentance," this being the main qualification that he required 
of those who took it upon them, as the fittest means to dispose 
them to receive the doctrine and discipline of the Messiah ; and 
to entitle them to that pardon of sin which the gospel brought 
along with it ; whence he is said to " baptize in the wilderness," 
and to " preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of 
sins." r And the success was answerable : infinite multitudes 

° Exod. xix. 10. Vid. R. Bechai. foL 87. coL 2. ibid. p Heb. vi. 2. 
q John i. 25. r Mark i. 4. 

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flocking to it, and " were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing 
their sins." Nor is it the least part of his happiness, that he 
had the honour to baptize his Saviour, which, though modestly 
declined, our Lord put upon him, and was accompanied with the 
most signal and miraculous attestations which heaven could 
bestow upon it. 

V. After his preparatory preaching in the wilderness, he was 
called to court by Herod ; at least he was his frequent auditor, 
was much delighted with his plain and impartial sermons, and 
had a mighty reverence for him; the gravity of his person, the 
strictness of his manners, the freedom of his preaching, command- 
ing an awe and veneration from his conscience, and making him 
willing in many things to reform : but the bluntness of the holy 
man came nearer, and touched the king in the tenderest part, 
smartly reproving his adultery and incestuous embraces ; for that 
prince kept Herodias, his brother Philip's wife. And now all 
corrupt interests were awakened to conspire his ruin. Ex- 
travagant lusts love not to be controlled and checked : Herodias 
resents the affront, cannot brook disturbance in the pleasures 
of her bed, or the open challenging of her honour, and therefore, 
by all the arts of feminine subtlety, meditates revenge. The 
issue was, the Baptist is cast into prison, as the prceludium to a 
sadder fate. For among other pleasures and scenes of mirth 
performed upon the king's birth-day, Herod being infinitely 
pleased with the dancing of a young lady, daughter of this 
Herodias, promised to give her her request, and solemnly rati- 
fied his promise with an oath. She, prompted by her mother, 
asks the head of John the Baptist, which the king, partly out of 
a pretended reverence to his oath, partly out of a desire not to 
be interrupted in his unlawful pleasures, presently granted, and 
it was as quickly accomplished. Thus died the holy man, a man 
strict in his conversation beyond the ordinary measures of an 
anchoret, bold and resolute, faithful and impartial in his office, 
endued with the " power and spirit of Elias, a burning and a 
shining light under whose light the Jews rejoiced to sit, ex- 
ceedingly taken with his temper and principles. He was the 
happy messenger of the evangelical tidings, and in that respect 
" more than a prophet, a greater not arising among them that 
were born of women. " In short, he was a man loved of his 
friends, revered and honoured by his enemies. Josephus gives 

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this character of him :* that "he was a good man, and pressed 
the Jews to the study of virtue, to the practice of piety towards 
God, and justice and righteousness towards men, and to join 
themselves to his baptism ; which he told them would then be- 
come effectual, and acceptable to God, when they did not only 
cleanse the body, but purify the mind by goodness and virtue." 
And though he gives somewhat a different account of Herod's 
condemning him to die, from what is assigned in the sacred 
history; yet he confesses, that the Jews universally looked 
upon the putting him to death as the cause of the miscarriage 
of Herod's army, and an evident effect of the divine vengeance 
and displeasure. The Jews in their writings * make honourable 
mention of his being put to death by Herod, because reproving' 
him for the company of his brother Philip^s wife ; styling him 
rabbi Johanan the high-priest, and reckoning him " one, SfcOitf* 
>DDno, of the wise men of Israel." Where he is called high- 
priest, probably with respect to his being the son of Zachariah, 
head or chief of one of the twenty-four families or courses of the 
priests, who are many times called chief or high-priests in scrip- 

VI. The evangelical state being thus proclaimed and ushered 
in by the preaching and ministry of the Baptist, our Lord him- 
self appeared next more fully to publish and confirm it ; con- 
cerning whose birth, life, death, and resurrection, the doctrine 
he delivered, the persons he deputed to preach and convey it to 
the world, and its success by the ministry of the apostles, large 
and particular accounts are given in the following work. That 
which may be proper and material to observe in this place is, 
what the scripture so frequently takes notice of, the excellency 
of this above the preceding dispensations ; especially that brought 
in by Moses, so much magnified in the Old Testament, and so 
passionately admired and adhered to by the Jews at this day. 
" Jesus is the mediator," /c/mVrovo? BtaO^/crj^ as the apostle 
calls it, u " of a better covenant." And better it is in several 
regards ; besides the infinite difference between the persons who 
were employed to introduce and settle them, Moses and our 

• Antiq. Jud. 1. xviii. c 7. 

« Zemach David, par. i. ad Ann. 770. Millen. 4. et Chron. Templi sccnnd. fol. 54. 
coL 4. 

u Heb. viii. 6. 

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Lord. The preeminence eminently appears in many instances, 
whereof we shall remark the most considerable. And first, the 
Mosaic dispensation was almost wholly made up of types and 
shadows, the Evangelical has brought in the truth and substance: 
" The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by 
Jesus Christ." x Their ordinances were but "shadows of good 
things to come, 11 sensible representations of what was to follow 
after, " thei body is Christ, 11 the perfection and accomplishment 
of their whole ritual ministration. Their ceremonies were 
"figures of those things that are true: 11 the land of Canaan 
typified heaven, Moses and Joshua were types of the blessed 
Jesus, and the Israelites after the flesh of the true Israel which 
is after the Spirit, and all their expiatory sacrifices did but 
represent that great sacrifice whereby Christ offered up himself, 
and by his own blood purged away the sins of mankind ; indeed 
the most minute and inconsiderable circumstances of the legal 
economy were intended as little lights, that might gradually 
usher in the state of the gospel. A curious artist that designs a 
famous and excellent piece, is not wont to complete and finish it 
all at once, but first with his pencil draws some rude lines and 
rough draughts before he puts his last hand to it. By such a 
method the wise God seems to have delivered the first draughts 
and images of those things by Moses to the church, the sub- 
stance and perfection whereof he designed should be brought in 
by Christ. And how admirably did God herein condescend to 
the temper and humour of that people; for being of a more 
rough and childish disposition, apt to be taken with gaudy and 
and sensible objects, by the external and pompous institutions 
of the ceremonial dispensation, he prepared them for better 
things, as children are brought on by things accommodate to 
their weak capacities. The church was then an heir under age, 
and was to be trained up in such a way, as agreed best with its 
infant-temper, till it came to be of a more ripe manly age, able 
to digest evangelical mysteries; and then the cover and the 
veil was taken off, and things made to appear in their own form 
and shape. 

VII. Hence in the next place appears our happiness above 
them, that we are redeemed from those many severe and bur- 
densome impositions wherewith they were clogged, and are now 

* John L 17. 

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obliged only to a more easy and reasonable service. That the 
law was a very grievous and servile dispensation, is evident to 
any that considers, how much it consisted of carnal ordinances, 
costly duties, chargeable sacrifices, and innumerable little rites 
and ceremonies. Under that state they were bound to undergo 
(yea, even new-born infants) the bloody and painful ceremony of 
circumcision, to abstain from many sorts of food, useful and plea- 
sant to man's life, to keep multitudes of solemn and stated times, 
new moons, and ceremonial sabbaths, to take long and tedious 
journeys to Jerusalem to offer their sacrifices at the temple, to 
observe daily washings and purifications, to use infinite care and 
caution in every place ; for if by chance they did but touch an 
unclean thing, besides their present confinement, it put them to 
the expenses of a sacrifice, with hundreds more troublesome and 
costly observances required of them. A cruel bondage, " heavy 
burdens, and grievous to be borne under the weight whereof 
good men did then groan, and earnestly breathe after " the time 
of reformation the very apostles complained that it was " a 
yoke upon their necks, which neither their fathers nor they were 
able to bear. 1,y But this yoke is taken off from our shoulders, 
and the way open into the liberties of the children of God. 
The law bore a heavy hand over them, as children in their mi- 
nority : we are got from under the rod and lash of its tutorage 
and paedagogy, and are no more subject to the severity of its com- 
mands, to the exact punctilios and numerousness of its imposi- 
tions. Our Lord has removed that low and troublesome religion, 
and has brought in a more manly and rational way of worship, 
more suitable to the perfections of God, and more accommodate 
to the reason and understandings of men: a religion incom- 
parably the wisest and the best that ever took place in the 
world. God did not settle the religion of the Jews, and their 
way of worship, because good and excellent in itself, but for its 
suitableness to the temper of that people. Happy we, whom 
the gospel has freed from those intolerable observances to which 
they were obliged, and has taught us to serve God in a better 
way, more easy and acceptable, more human and natural, and 
in which we are helped forwards by greater aids of divine as- 
sistance than were afforded under that dispensation. All 
which conspire to render our way smooth and plain : " Take 

y Acts xv. 10. 

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my yoke upon yon, for my yoke is easy, and my burden is 

VIII. Thirdly, the dispensation of the gospel is founded upon 
more noble and excellent promises: "a better covenant, established 
upon better promises."* And better promises they are, both for 
the nature and clearness of their revelation. They are of a more 
sublime and excellent nature, as being promises of spiritual and 
eternal things, such as immediately concern N the perfection and 
happiness of mankind, grace, peace, pardon, and eternal life. 
The law strictly considered, as a particular covenant with the 
Jews at mount Sinai, had no other promises but of temporal 
blessings, plenty and prosperity, and the happiness of this life. 
This was all that appeared above-ground, and that was expressly 
held forth in that transaction, whatever might otherwise, by due 
inferences and proportions of reason, be deduced from it. Now 
this was a great defect in that dispensation, it being by this 
means, considering the nature and disposition of that people, and 
the use they would make of it, apt to entangle and debase the 
minds of men, and to arrest their thoughts and desires in the 
pursuit of more sublime and better things. I do not say but 
that under the Old Testament there were promises of spiritual 
things, and of eternal happiness, as appears from David's Psalms, 
and some passages in the books of the prophets : but then these, 
though they were wider the law, yet they were not of the law, 
that is, did not properly belong to it as a legal covenant ; God 
in every age of the Jewish church raising up some extraordinary 
persons, who preached notions to the people above the common 
standard of that dispensation, and who spoke things more 
plainly, by how much nearer they approached the times of the 
Messiah. But under the Christian economy the promises ar$ 
evidently more pure and spiritual ; not a temporal Canaan, ex- 
ternal prosperity, or pardon of ceremonial uncleanness, but re- 
mission of sins, reconciliation with God, and everlasting life, are 
proposed and offered to us. Not but that in some measure tem- 
poral blessings are promised to us as well as them, only with 
this difference, to them earthly blessings were pledges of spiritual, 
to us spiritual blessings are insurances of temporal, so far as the 
divine wisdom sees fit for us. Nor are they better in them- 
selves,, than they are clearly discovered and revealed to us. 

« Heb. viii. 6. 


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Whatever spiritual blessings were proposed under the former 
state were obscure and dark, and very few of the people under-r 
stood them: but to us "the veil is taken off, and we behold 
the glory of the Lord with open face," especially the things that 
relate to another world ; for " this is the promise that he hath 
promised us, even eternal life."* Hence our Lord is said to 
"have brought life and immortality to light through the gospel :" b 
which he may be justly said to have done, inasmuch as he has 
given the greatest certainty, and the clearest account of that 
state. He hath given us the greatest assurance and certainty of 
the thing, that there is such a state. The happiness of the other 
world was a notion not so firmly agreed upon either amongst 
the Jews or Gentiles. Among the Jews it was peremptorily 
denied by the Sadducees, a considerable sect in that church, 
which we can hardly suppose they would have done, had it 
been clearly propounded in the law of Moses. And among the 
heathens, the most sober and considering persons did at some 
times at least doubt of it : witness that confession Socrates him- 
self, the wisest and best man that ever was in the heathen 
world, who, when he came to plead his cause before his judges, 
and had bravely discoursed of the happy state of good men in 
the other life, plainly confessed, 6 that he could be content iroX- 
XiKi? reOvdvai, " to die a thousand times over," were he but as- 
sured that those things were true ; and, being condemned, con- 
cludes his apology with this farewell : " And now, gentlemen, I 
am going off the stage, it is your lot to live, and mine to die, 
but whether of us two shall fare better, is aSrjXov iravrl irXrjv rj 
t$ 8e$, "unknown to any but to God alone." d But our blessed 
Saviour has put the case past all perad venture, having plainly 
published this doctrine to the world, and sealed the truth of it, 
and that by raising others from the dead, and especially by his 
own resurrection and ascension, which were the highest pledge 
and assurance of a future immortality. But besides the security, 
he hath given the clearest account of the nature of it. It is 
very probable that the Jews generally had of old, as it is certain 
they have at this day, the most gross and carnal apprehensions 
concerning the state of another life. But to us the gospel has 
perspicuously revealed the invisible things of the other world : 

» 1 John ii. 25. * 2 Tub. i. 10. 

« Apolog. Socrat ap. Platon. sect. 22. * Jb. sect 23. ad fin. ApoL 




told us what that heaven is, which is promised to good men, a 
state of spiritual joys, of chaste and rational delights, a eon-* 
formity of ours to the divine nature, a being made like to God, 
and an endless and uninterrupted communion with him. 

IX. But because in our lapsed and degenerate state we are 
very unable without some foreign assistance to attain the pro- 
mised rewards, hence arises in the next place another great 
privilege of the evangelical economy, that it is blessed with 
larger and more abundant communications of the Divine Spirit 
than was afforded under the Jewish state. Under the one it 
was given by drops, under the other it was poured forth. The 
law laid heavy and hard commands, but gave little strength to 
do them ; it did not assist human nature with those powerful 
aids that are necessary for us in our present state ; it could " do 
nothing, in that it was weak through the flesh; 116 and " by reason 
of the weakness and unprofitableness thereof, it could make no- 
thing perfect :" f it was this made it an "heavy yoke," when the 
commands of it were uncouth and troublesome, and the as- 
sistances so small and inconsiderable. Whereas now the gospel 
does not only prescribe such laws as are happily accommodate 
to the true temper of human nature, and adapted to the rear 
son of mankind, such as every wise and prudent man must 
have pitched upon, but it affords the influences of the Spirit 
of God, by whose assistance our vitiated faculties are re- 
paired, and we enabled under so much weakness, and in the 
midst of so many temptations, to hold on in the paths of piety 
and virtue. Hence it is that the plentiful effusions of the Spirit 
were reserved as the great blessing of the evangelical state, 
that God would then " pour water upon him that is thirsty, and 
floods upon the dry ground ;" g that he "would pour out his 
Spirit upon their seed, and his blessing upon their offspring," 
whereby they should " spring up as among the grass, as willows 
by the water-courses that he would " give them a new heart, 
and put his Spirit within them, and cause them to walk in his 
statutes, and keep his judgments to do them : r>h And this is the 
meaning of those branches of the covenant so oft repeated, " I 
will put my law into their minds, and write it in their hearts 
that is, by the help of my grace and spirit I will enable them to 

• Rom. viii. 3. 

* Isai. xliv. 3, 4. 

' Hefc vii 18. 
h Ezek. xxxvi. 26, 27*. 
H 2 * 

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live according to my laws, as readily and willingly as if they 
were written in their hearts. For this reason the law is com- 
pared to a " dead letter," the gospel to the " Spirit that giveth 
life," thence styled the "ministration of the Spirit,"* and as 
such said to " exceed in glory," and that to such a degree, that 
what glory the legal dispensation had in this case is eclipsed into 
nothing. "For even that which was made glorious, had no 
glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth, for if 
that which was done away was glorious, much more that which 
remaineth is glorious " k Hence the Spirit is said to be Christ's 
peculiar mission : " I will pray the Father, and he will send you 
another Comforter, even the Spirit of truth ;"* which was done 
immediately after his ascension, when he u ascended up on high, 
and gave gifts to men," m even u the Holy Ghost, which he shed 
on them abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour:" 11 for 
"the Holy Ghost was not yet given, because that Jesus was not 
yet glorified. 110 Not but that he was given before, even under 
the old economy, but not in those large and diffusive measures 
wherein it was afterwards communicated to the world. 

X. Fifthly, the dispensation of the gospel had a better 
establishment and confirmation than that of the law ; for though 
the law was introduced with great scenes of pomp and majesty, 
yet was the gospel ushered in by more kindly and rational 
methods, ratified by more and greater miracles, whereby our 
Lord unquestionably evinced his divine commission, and shewed 
that he came from God; doing more miracles in three years 
ihsLU were done through all the periods of the Jewish church, 
and many of them such as were peculiar to him alone. He 
often raised the dead, which Moses never did ; commanded the 
winds and waves of the sea ; expelled devils out of lunatics and 
possessed persons, who fled as soon as ever he commanded them 
to be gone; cured many inveterate and chronical distempers 
with the speaking of a word, and some without a word spoken, 
virtue silently going out from him. He searched men's hearts, 
and revealed the most secret transactions of their minds ; had 
this miraculous power always residing in him, and could exert 
it when and upon what occasions he pleased, and impart it to 

« 1 Cor.iii.6,7. k 1 Cor.iii.10,11. 

1 John ziy. 16, 17. B Ephes. iv. 8. 

* Tit Hi 5, 6. o j onn 39# 

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others, communicating it to his apostles and followers, and to 
the primitive Christians of the three first ages of the church ; 
he never exerted it in methods of dread and terror, but in doing 
such miracles as were highly useful and beneficial to the world : 
and as if all this had not been enough, he laid down his own life 
after all to give testimony to it. Covenants were ever wont to be 
ratified with blood, and the death of sacrifices : but when our 
Lord came to introduce the covenant of the gospel, he did not 
consecrate it with the blood of bulls and goats, but with his own 
most precious blood, as of a lamb without spot and blemish. And 
could he give a greater testimony to the truth of his doctrine, and 
those great things he had promised to the world, than to seal it 
with his blood ! Had not these things been so, it were infinitely 
unreasonable to suppose that a person of so much wisdom and 
goodness as our Saviour was, should have made the world 
believe so ; and much less would he have chosen to die for it, 
and that the most acute and ignominious death. But he died 
and rose again for us, and appeared after his resurrection. His 
enemies had taken him away by a most bitter and cruel death ; 
had guarded and secured his sepulchre with all the care, power, 
and diligence which they could invent ; and yet he rose again 
the third day in triumph, visibly conversed with his disciples for 
forty days together, and then went to heaven. By which he 
gave the most solemn and undeniable assurance to the world, 
that he was the Son of God, (for " he was declared to be the Son 
of God with power, by the resurrection from the dead," p ) and 
the Saviour of mankind, and that those doctrines which he had 
taught were most true, and did really contain the terms of that 
solemn transaction which God by him had offered to men, in 
order to their eternal happiness in another world. 

XL The last instance I shall note of the excellency of this 
above the Mosaical dispensation, is the univeral extent and 
latitude of it, and that both in respect of place and time. First, 
it is more universally extensive as to place : not confined, as the 
former was, to a small part of mankind, but common unto all. 
Heretofore " in Judah only was God known, and his name was 
great in Israel ;'" q " he shewed his word unto Jacob, his sta- 
tutes and his judgments unto Israel ; but he did not deal so 
with any other nation, neither had the heathen knowledge of his 
p Rom. i. 4. i Psalm lxxri. 1. 

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laws." r In those times u salvation was only of the Jews ;" a few 
acres of land, like Gideon's fleece, were watered with the dew 
4>f heaven, while all the rest of the world, for many ages, lay 
dry and barren round about it, God " suffering all nations in 
times past to walk in their own ways," 8 the ways of their own 
superstition and idolatry, " being aliens from the commonwealth 
of Israel, strangers from the covenants of promise, having no 
hope, and without God in the world that is, they were with- 
out those promises, discoveries, and declarations which God 
made to Abraham and his seed, and are therefore peculiarly 
described under this character, " the Gentiles which knew not 
God."" Indeed, the religion of the Jews was in itself incapable 
to be extended over the world, many considerable parts of 
it, as sacrifices, first-fruits, oblations, &c. (called by the Jews 
themselves paa rrnbn nwo, "statutes belonging to that land,") 
being to be performed at Jerusalem and the temple, which could 
not be done by those nations that lay a considerable distance 
from the land of promise. They had, it is true, now and then, 
some few proselytes of the Gentiles, who came over and em- 
bodied themselves into their way of worship ; but then they 
either resided among the Jews, or by reason of their vicinity to 
Judea were capable to make their personal appearance, and to 
comply with the public institutions of the divine law. Other 
proselytes they had, called proselytes of the gate, who lived 
dispersed in all countries, whom the Jews call mm** *tdh, 66 the 
pious of the nations," men of devout minds and religious lives; 
but these were obliged to no more than the observation of the 
" seven precepts of the sons of Noah;" that is, in effect, to the pre- 
cepts of the natural law. But now the gospel has a much wider 
sphere to move in, as vast and large as the whole world itself; 
it is communicable to all countries, and may be exercised in any 
part or corner of the earth. Our Lord gave commission to his 
apostles to " go into all nations, and to preach the gospel to 
every creature ;" w and so they did, "their sound went into all the 
earth, and their words unto the ends of the world :" x by which 
means, " the grace of God that brings salvation appeared unto 
all men," y and " the gospel was preached unto every creature 
under heaven." 2 So that now " there is neither Jew nor Greek, 

r Psalm cxlvii. 19, 20. • Acts xiv. 16. 1 Ephes. ii. 12. "1 Thess. iv. 5. 
w Mark xvi.. 15. * Rom. x. 18. * Tit ii. 11. 1 Colos. i. 2& 


neither bond nor free, neither male nor female, bat we are all 
one in Christ Jesus ;" a and " in every nation he that feareth 
God, and worketh righteousnesses accepted with him. T>b The 
prophet had long since foretold it of the times of Christ, that 
"the house of God, (that is, his church,) should be called an 
house of prayer for all people ;" c the doors should be open, and 
none excluded that would enter in. And the divine providence 
was singularly remarkable in this affair, that after our Lord's 
ascension, when the apostles were going upon their commission, 
and were first solemnly to proclaim it at Jerusalem, there were 
dwelling there, at that time, Parthians, Medes, Elamites, &c. 
persons out of every nation under heaven, that they might be 
as the first-fruits of those several countries, which were to be 
gathered in by the preaching of the gospel ; which was accord- 
ingly done with great success, the Christian religion in a few 
years spreading its triumphant banners over the greatest part of 
the then known world. 

XII. And as the true religion was in those days pent up 
within one particular country, so the more public and ordinary 
worship of God was confined only to one particular place of it, 
•viz. Jerusalem, hence called the Holy City. Here was the 
temple, here the priests that ministered at the altar, here all the 
more public solemnities of divine adoration ; " thither the tribes 
go up, the tribes of the Lord unto the testimony of Israel, to give 
thanks unto the name of the Lord." 4 Now this was not the least 
part of the bondage of that dispensation, to be obliged thrice 
every year to take such long and tedious journeys, many of the 
Jews living some hundreds of miles distance from Jerusalem, 
and so strictly were they limited to this place, that to build an 
altar and offer sacrifices in any other place, (unless in a case or 
two wherein God did extraordinarily dispense,) although it were 
to the true God, was, though not false, yet unwarrantable wor- 
ship ; for which reason the Jews at this day abstain from sacri- 
fices, because banished from Jerusalem and the temple, the only 
legal place of offering. But behold the liberty of the gospel in 
this case ; we are not tied to present our devotions at Jerusalem, 
a pious and sincere mind is the best sacrifice that we can offer up 
to God, and this may be done in any part of the world, no less 
acceptably than they of old sacrificed in the temple : " the hour 
a Galat. iii. 2». b Act* x. 35. c Isai. hi 7. * Psalm exxii. 4. 



cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, (mount Gerizim,) 
nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father, when the true wor- 
shippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth,"* as our 
Lord told the woman of Samaria : " in spirit and in truth ;" in 
spirit, in opposition to that carnal and idolatrous worship that 
was in use among the Samaritans, who worshipped God under 
the representation of a dove ; in truth, in opposition to the typical 
and figurative worship of the Jews, which was but a shadow of 
the true worship of the gospel. The great sacrifice required in 
the Christian religion, is not the fat of beasts/ or the first-fruits of 
the ground, but an honest heart, and a pious life, and a grateful 
acknowledgment of our dependence upon God in the public 
solemnities of his praise and worship. For the law and the 
gospel did not differ in this, that the one commanded publie 
worship, the other not ; but that under the one, public worship 
was fixed to one only place ; under the other, it is free to any 
where the providence of God has placed us : it being part of the 
duty bound upon us by natural and unalterable obligations, that 
we should publicly meet together for the solemn celebration of 
the divine honour and service. 

XIII. Nor is the economy of the gospel less extensive in time 
than place ; the Old Testament was only a temporary dispensa- 
tion, that of the gospel is to last to the end of the world ; the law 
was to continue only for a little time, the gospel is an everlasting 
covenant ; the one to be quickly antiquated and abolished, the 
other never to be done away by any other to succeed it. The 
Jews, indeed, stickle hard for the perpetual and immutable ob- 
ligation of the law of Moses, and frequently urge us with those 
places, 6 where the covenant of circumcision is called an " ever- 
lasting covenant,' 1 and God said to choose the temple at Jerusalem 
to " place his name there for ever," to give the land of Canaan 
to Abraham and his seed for " an everlasting possession :" thus 
the law of the passover is called an " ordinance for ever," the 
command of the first-fruits a " statute for ever," and the like in 
other places, which seem to intimate a perpetual and unalterable 
dispensation. But the answer is short and plain; that this phrase 
Obi^, " for ever," (though when it is applied to God it always 
denotes eternity,) yet when it is attributed to other things, it 

« John iv. 21—23. f Vid. Philo de Spec Legg. p. 775. 

9 Gen, xrii. 7. 1 Kings ix. 3. Gen. xvii. 8, Exod. xii. 14. Levit xxiii. 14. 


implies no more than a periodical duration, limited according 
to the will of the lawgiver, or the nature of the thing : thus the 
Hebrew servant was to serve his master " for ever ;" h that is, but 
for seven years, till the next year of jubilee : " he shall walk 
before mine anointed for ever,"' says God concerning Samuel ; 
that is, be a priest all his days. Thus when the ritual services 
of the Mosaic law are called statutes for ever, the meaning is, 
that they should continue a long time obligatory, until the time 
of the Messiah, in whose days " the sacrifice and oblation was to 
cease," and those carnal ceremonies to give way to the more 
spiritual services of the gospel. Indeed, the very typical nature 
of that dispensation evidently argued it to be but for a time, the 
shadow being to cease that the substance might take place ; and 
though many of them continued some considerable time after 
Chrises death, yet they lost their positive and obligatory power, 
and were used only as things indifferent in compliance with the 
inveterate prejudices of new converts, lately brought over from 
Judaism, and who could not quickly lay aside that great vene- 
ration which they had for the rites of the Mosaic institution : 
though even in this respect it was not long before all Jewish 
ceremonies were thrown off, and Moses quite turned out of doors. 
Whereas the evangelical state is to run parallel with the age and 
duration of the world, it is the '* everlasting covenant," k the 
" everlasting gospel," 1 the last dispensation that God will make 
to the world : " God, who at sundry times and in divers manners 
spake in time past by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken 
to us by his Son;" m in which respect, the gospel, in opposition to 
the law, is styled "a kingdom that cannot be moved." 0 The 
apostle, in the foregoing verses, speaking concerning the Mosaic 
state, " whose voice (says he) then shook the earth, but now he 
hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, 
but also the heaven, (a phrase peculiar to the scripture to note 
the introducing a new scene and state of things;) and this word, 
Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are 
shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which can- 
not be shaken may remain ;" that is, that the state of the gospel 
may endure for ever. Hence Christ is said to have an " unchange- 
able priesthood, to be a priest for ever," to be " consecrated for 

h Exod. xxi. 6. 1 1 Sam. ii. 36. k Heb. xiiL 20. 

1 Rev. 6. ■ Heb. L 1,2. n Heb. xii. 28. 

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evermore." From all which it appears, how incomparably happy 
we Christians are under the gospel, above what the Jews were 
in the time of the law ; God having placed ns under the best of 
dispensations, freed as from those many nice and troublesome 
observances to which they were tied ; put us under the clearest 
discoveries and revelations, and given us the most noble, rational, 
and masculine religion, a religion the most perfective of our 
natures, and the most conducive to our happiness ; while their 
covenant at best was faulty, and after all could not " make him 
that did the service perfect in things pertaining to the conscience." 
" Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see : for I tell 
you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those 
things which ye see, and have not seen them ; and to hear those 
things which ye hear, and have not heard them." 0 
• Luke x. 23, 24. 

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Chrises faithfulness in appointing officers in his church. The dignity of the apostles 
above the rest The importance of the word 'Air6<rroKos. The nature of the apostolic 
office considered. Respect had in founding it to the custom among the Jews. Their 
apostoli, who. The number of the apostles limited. Why twelve, the several conjec- 
tures of the ancients. Their immediate election. Their work, wherein it consisted. 
The universality of their commission. Apostolical churches, what How soon the 
apostles propagated Christianity through the world. An argument for the divinity of 
the Christian religion inferred thence. The power conveyed to the apostles, equally 
given to all. Peter's superiority over the rest disproved both from scripture and 
antiquity. The apostles, how qualified for their mission. Immediately taught the 
doctrine they delivered. Infallibly secured from error in delivering it Their constant 
and familiar converse with their master. Furnished with the power of working 
miracles. The great evidence of it to prove a divine doctrine. Miraculous powers 
conferred upon the apostles particularly considered. Prophecy, what, and when it 
ceased. The gift of discerning spirits. The gift of tongues. The gift of interpreta- 
tion. The unreasonable practice of the church of Rome in keeping the scriptures and 
divine worship in an unknown tongue. The gift of healing greatly advantageous to 
Christianity : how long it lasted. Power of immediately inflicting corporal punish- 
ments ; and the great benefit of it in those times. The apostles enabled to confer mi- 
raculous powers upon others. The duration of the apostolical office. What in it 
extraordinary, what ordinary. Bishops, in what sense styled Apostles. 

Jesus Christ, the great "apostle and high-priest of our pro- 
fession, 11 being appointed by God to be the supreme ruler and 
governor of his church, was, like Moses, "faithful in all his 
house but with this honourable advantage, that Moses was 
faithful as a servant, Christ as a Son over his own house, which 
he erected, established, and governed, with all possible care and 
diligence. Nor could he give a greater instance either of his 
fidelity towards God, or his love and kindness to the souls of 
men, than that after he had purchased a family to himself, and 


could now no longer upon earth manage its interests in his own 
person, he would not return back to heaven till he had con- 
stituted several orders and officers in his church, who might 
superintend and conduct its affairs, and, according to the va- 
rious circumstances of its state, administer to the needs and 
exigencies of his family. Accordingly, therefore, " he gave some, 
apostles ; and some, prophets ; and some, evangelists ; and some, 
pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the 
work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ : 
till we all come into the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge 
of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the 
stature of the fulness of Christ.'" a The first and prime class of 
officers is that of apostles : " God hath set some in the church, 
first, apostles, secondarily prophets,"" &c. First, apostles, as far 
in office as honour before the rest, their election more immediate, 
their commission more large and comprehensive, the powers and 
privileges wherewith they were furnished greater and more 
honourable: prophecy, the gift of miracles and expelling de- 
mons : the order of pastors and teachers were all spiritual powers 
and ensigns of great authority, dWa rovroav airavTwv petl&v 
iarrlv dpxv V diroaroXi,^ says Chrysostom, b 44 but the apostolic 
eminency is far greater than all these," which therefore he calls 
a spiritual consulship ; an apostle having as great preeminence 
above all other officers in the church, as the consul had above 
all other magistrates in Borne. These apostles were a few 
select persons whom our Lord chose out of the rest, to devolve 
part of the government upon their shoulders, and to depute for 
the first planting and settling Christianity in the world : " He 
chose twelve, whom he named apostles c of whose lives and 
acts being to give an historical account in the following work, it 
may not possibly be unuseful to premise some general remarks 
concerning them, not respecting this or that particular person, 
but of a general relation to the whole ; wherein we shall espe- 
cially take notice of the importance of the word, the nature of 
the employment, the fitness and qualification of the persons, and 
the duration and continuance of the office. 

II. The word awoaroXo^ or 46 sent," is among ancient writers 
applied either to things, actions, or persons. To things : thus 

* Eph.iv. 11, 12, 13. 

b Serm. de util. lection. S. Script, vol viii. p. 1 14. edit Savil. c Luke vi. 13. 



those dimissory letters that were granted to such who appealed 
from an inferior to a superior judicature, were in the language 
of the Roman laws usually called apostoli : d thus a packet-boat 
was styled, airoaroXov ttXoZov, because sent up and down for 
advice and despatch of business : thus, though in somewhat a 
different sense, the lesson taken out of the epistles is in the 
ancient Greek liturgies called atroaroXo^ because usually taken 
out of the apostles'* writings. Sometimes it is applied to actions, 
and so imports no more than mission, or the very act of sending : 
thus the setting out a fleet, or a naval expedition, was wont to 
be called airoaroXo^ so Suidas tells us, f that as the persons 
designed for the cure and management of the fleet were called 
airoaroXel^ so the very sending forth of the ships themselves, 
ai t&v ve&v iiarofiiraX^ were styled afroaroXov. Lastly, what 
principally falls under our present consideration, it is applied to 
persons, and so imports no more than a messenger, a person sent 
upon some special errand, for the discharge of some peculiar 
affair in his name that sent him. Thus Epaphroditus is called 
the apostle or messenger of the Philippians, 8 when sent by them 
to St. Paul at Rome : thus Titus and his companions are styled 
airoaroXot,, " the messengers of the churches.'' h So our Lord ; 
44 he that is sent, airooTciko^ an apostle or messenger, is not 
greater than him that sent him." 1 This, then, being the common 
, notion of the word, our Lord fixes it to a particular use, applying 
it to those select persons whom he had made choice of to act by 
that peculiar authority and commission which he had derived 
upon them. 44 Twelve, whom he also named apoatles that is, 
commissioners, those who were to be ambassadors for Christ, to 
be sent up and down in the world in his name, to plant the 
faith, to govern and superintend the church at present, and, by 
their wise and prudent settlement of affairs, to provide for the 
fiiture exigencies of the church. 

III. The next thing then to be considered, is the nature of 
their office ; and under this inquiry we shall make these following 
remarks. First, it is not to be doubted but that our Lord, in 

d L. Unic & lib. xlix. Tit. vi. vid. lib. cvi Tit. xyi. lib. L ct Paul. JC. Sentent 
lib. ix. Tit. xxxix. 

* Vid. Chrysost Liturg. in Ritual. Greec 

f Suidas in voc. hrojroXoi. ex Demosth. vid. Harpocr. Lex. in Dec. Rhet. 

f Phil. ii. 25. h 2 Cor. viii. 23. 1 John xiii. 16. 

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founding this office, had some respect to the state of things in 
the J e wish church ; I mean, not only in general, that there should 
be superior and subordinate officers, as there were superior and 
inferior orders under the Mosaic dispensation, but that herein 
he had an eye to some usage and custom common among them. 
Now among the Jews, as all messengers were called tDTrfafr, or 
" apostles," k so were they wont to despatch some with peculiar 
letters of authority and commission, whereby they acted as 
proxies and deputies of those that sent them, thence their pro- 
verb, vyid3 cdi« hw irnhtf, " every man's apostle is as himself 
that is, whatever he does is looked upon to be as firm and valid 
as if the person himself had done it. Thus when Saul was sent 
by the Sanhedrim to Damascus to apprehend the Jewish con- 
verts, he was furnished with letters from the high-priest, enabling 
him to act as his commissary in that matter. Indeed, Epiphanius 
tells us of a sort of persons called apostles, 1 who were assessors 
and counsellors to the Jewish patriarch, constantly attending 
upon him to advise him in matters pertaining to the law, and 
sent by him (as he intimates™) sometimes to inspect and reform 
the manners of the priests and Jewish clergy, and the irregu- 
larities of country-synagogues, with commission to gather the 
tenths and first-fruits due in all the provinces under his jurisdic- 
tion. Such apostles we find mentioned both by Julian, the 
emperor, in an epistle to the Jews," and in a law of the emperor 
Honorius, 0 employed by the patriarch to gather once a year the 
aurum coronarium, or crown-gold, a tribute annually paid by 
them to the Roman emperors. But these apostles could not 
under that notion be extant in our Saviour's time ; though sure 
we are there was then something like it, Philo the Jew more 
than once mentioning the Upoirofiirol icaff $ica<rrov iviavrbv 
Kpvaov teal apyvpov ir\elarov tcofj,l£ovT€<; ek to Upov, rbv 
adpoiadivTa i/c ra>v airapx&vv " the sacred messengers annually 
sent to collect the holy treasure paid by way of first-fruits, and 
to carry it to the temple at Jerusalem." However, our Lord, in 
conformity to the general custom of those times, of appointing 
apostles or messengers, as their proxies and deputies to act in 

k Euseb. in Caten. MS. apud Heins. exercit. in Luc. vi. 1 Haeres. xxx. c. 4. 
m Ibid. c. 11. n Epist xxv. p. 153. 

° Cod. Theodos. lib. xvi. Tit viiL L 14. de Judaeis. 
* Lib. de legat. ad Caiura, p. 1023. Vid. p. 1035. 


their names, called and denominated those apostles, whom he 
peculiarly chose to represent his person, to communicate his mind 
and will to the world, and to act as ambassadors or commissioners 
in his room and stead. 

IV. Secondly, we observe that the persons thus deputed by 
our Saviour were not left uncertain, but reduced to a fixed de- 
finite number, confined to the just number of twelve : " he or- 
dained twelve, that they should be with him a number that 
seems to carry something of mystery and peculiar design in it, 
as appears in that the apostles were so careful upon the fall of 
Judas immediately to supply it. The fathers are very wide and 
different in their conjectures about the reason of it. St. Augustine 
thinks our Lord herein had respect to the four quarters of the 
world/ which were to be called by the preaching of the gospel, 
which being multiplied by three, (to denote the Trinity, in whose 
name they were to be called,) make twelve. Tertullian will 
have them typified by the, twelve fountains in Elim, 8 the apostles 
being sent out to water and refresh the dry thirsty world with 
the knowledge of the truth ; by the twelve precious stones in 
Aaron's breast-plate, to illuminate the church, the garment which 
Christ, our great high-priest, has put on ; by the twelve stones 
which Joshua chose out of Jordan to lay up within tlie ark of 
the testament, respecting the firmness and solidity of the apostles' 
faith, their being chosen by the true Jesus or Joshua at their 
baptism in Jordan, and their being admitted in the inner 
sanctuary of his covenant. By others we are told, that it was 
shadowed out by the twelve spies taken out of every tribe, and 
sent to discover the land of promise; or by the twelve gates of 
the city in EzekieFs vision ; or by the twelve bells appendant to 
Aaron's garment, " their sound going out into all the world, ajid 
their words unto the ends of the earth." 1 But it were endless, 
and to very little purpose, to reckon up all the conjectures of 
this nature, there being scarce any one number of twelve men- 
tioned in the scripture, which is not by some of the ancients 
adapted and applied to this of the twelve apostles, wherein an 
ordinary fancy might easily enough pick out a mystery. That 
which seems to put in the most rational plea, is, that our Lord, 

4 Mark iii. 14. 

r In Psalm, ciii. enarr. Serm. iii. s. 2. vol. iv. p. 1150. Vid. in Psalm, lix. enarr. s. 2. 
vol. iv. p. 578. 

■ Adv. Marcion. 1. iv. c. 13. 1 J. Mart. dial, cum Tryph. s. 42. 


being now about to form a new spiritual commonwealth, a kind 
of mystical Israel, pitched upon this number, in conformity either 
to the twelve patriarchs, as founders of the twelve tribes of 
Israel, or to the twelve ^uXap^at, or chief heads, as standing 
rulers of those tribes among the Jews, as we shall afterwards 
possibly more particularly remark." Thirdly, these apostles 
were immediately called and sent by Christ himself, elected out 
of the body of his disciples and followers, and received their 
commission from his own mouth. Indeed, Matthias was not one 
of the first election, being taken in upon Judas's apostacy after 
our Lord's ascension into heaven. But besides that he had been 
one of the seventy disciples, called and sent out by our Saviour, 
that extraordinary declaration of the divine will and pleasure 
that appeared in determining his election, was in a manner 
equivalent to the first election. As for St. Paul, he was not one 
of the twelve, taken in as a supernumerary apostle, but yet an 
apostle as well as they, and that " not of men, neither by man, 
but by Jesus Christ," x as he pleads his own cause against the 
insinuations of those impostors who traduced him as an apostle 
only at the second hand ; whereas he was immediately called 
by Christ as well as they, and in a more extraordinary manner : 
they were called by him, while he was yet in his state of mean- 
ness and humiliation ; he, when Christ was now advanced upon 
the throne, and appeared to him encircled with those glorious 
emanations of brightness and majesty which he was not able to 
endure. I observe no more concerning this, than that an imme- 
diate call has ever been accounted so necessary to give credit 
and reputation to their doctrine, that the most notorious im- 
postors have pretended to it. Thus Manes, the founder of the 
Manichsean sect, y was wont in his epistles to style himself the 
Apostle of Jesus Christ; as pretending himself to be the person 
whom the Lord had promised to send into the world, and that 
accordingly the Holy Ghost was actually sent in him ; and there- 
fore he constituted twelve disciples always to attend his person, 
in imitation of the number of the apostolic college. And how 
often the Turkish impostor does, upon this account, call himself 
the Apostle of God, every one that has but once seen the Alcoran 
is able to tell. 

u See St Peter's Life, sect. iii. num. 2. * Gal. i. 1. 

y August de Haeres. c. 46. yoI. viii. p. 17. 

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V. Fourthly, the main work and employment of these apostles 
was to preach the gospel, to establish Christianity, and to govern 
the church that was to be founded, as Christ's immediate deputies 
and vicegerents : they were to instruct men in the doctrines of' 
the gospel, to disciple the world, and to baptize and initiate men 
into the faith of Christ; and to constitute and ordain guides 
and ministers of religion, persons peculiarly set apart for holy 
ministrations, to censure and punish obstinate and contumacious 
offenders, to compose and over-rule disorders and divisions, to 
command or countermand, as occasion was, being vested with 
an extraordinary authority and power of disposing things for 
the edification of the_church. This office the apostles never 
exercised in its full extent and latitude during Christ's residence 
upon earth ; for though upon their election he sent them forth 
to preach and to baptize, yet this was only a narrow and 
temporary employment, and they quickly returned to their 
private stations, the main power being still executed and ad- 
ministered by Christ himself, the complete exercise whereof was 
not actually devolved upon them, till he was ready to leave the 
world : for then it was that he told tbem, z " as my father hath 
sent me, even so send I you: receive ye the Holy Ghost: 
whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted ; and whose soever 
sins ye retain, they are retained." Whereby he conferred, in 
some proportion, the same authority upon them which he him- 
self had derived from his Father. Fifthly, this commission given 
to the apostles was unlimited and universal, not only in respect 
of power, as enabling them to discharge all acts of religion re- 
lating either to ministry or government, but in respect of place ; a 
not confining them to this or that particular province, but leav- 
ing them the whole world as their diocese to preach in, they 
being destinati nationibus magistri; in Tertullian's phrase, b de^ 
signed to be the masters and instructors of all nations : so runs 
their commission ; c " Go ye into all the world, and preach the 
gospel to every creature," that is, to all men ; the iraaa tcrCcis 
of the evangelist answering to the mmrT tab amongst the Jews, 
" to all creatures," whereby they used to denote all men in 

* John xx. 21—23. 

a Chrysost. Serm. ircp. rod, tin xrfvifios y r<av ypwfwv twayvdffis. yol. viii. p. 115. 
efiit. Savil. 

b De prescript Haeret c. 20. c Mark xvi. 15. 

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general, but especially the Gentiles in opposition to the Jews. 
Indeed, while our Saviour lived, the apostolical ministry ex- 
tended no further than Judea ; but he being gone to heaven, the 
"partition wall was broken down," and their way was open into all 
places and countries. And herein how admirably did the Chris- 
tian economy transcend the Jewish dispensation! The preach- 
ing of the prophets, like the light that comes in at the window, d 
was confined only to the house of Israel, while the doctrine of 
the gospel preached by the apostles was like the light of the 
sun in the firmament, that diffused its beams and propagated its 
heat and influence into all quarters of the world ; " their sound 
going out into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of 
the world." It is true, for the more prudent and orderly 
management of things, they are generally said by the ancients 
to have divided the world into so many quarters and portions, 
to which they were severally to betake themselves; Peter to 
Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, &c, St. John to Asia, St. An- 
drew to Scythia, &c. But they did not strictly tie themselves 
to those particular provinces that were assigned to them, but, as 
occasion was, made excursions into other parts ; though for the 
main they had a more peculiar inspection over those parts that 
were allotted to them, usually residing at some principal city of 
the province, as St. John at Ephesus, St. Philip at Hierapolis, 
&c. whence they might have a more convenient prospect of 
affairs round about them. And hence it was that these places 
more peculiarly got the title of apostolical churches, because 
first planted, or eminently watered and cultivated by some 
apostle, matrices et originates fidei, as Tertullian calls them, 6 
" mother-churches, and the originals of the faith because here 
the Christian doctrine was first sown, and hence planted and 
propagated to the countries round about, ecclesias apud unam- 
quamque civitatem condiderunt, a quibus traducem fidei et semina 
doctrince, cceterce exinde eeclesice mutuatce stmt, T as his own words 

VI. In pursuance of this general commission, we find the 
apostles, not long after our Lord^s ascension, traversing almost 
all parts of the then known world ; St. Andrew in Scythia and 
those northern countries, St. Thomas and Bartholomew in India, 

d Macar. HomiL xiv. p. 77. ed. 1621. 

* De prescript. Haeret. c. 21. ' Ibid. c. 20. 

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St. Simon and St. Mark in Africa, Egypt, and the parts of 
Libya and Mauritania ; St. Paul, and probably Peter and some 
others, in the farthest regions of the West : and all this done in 
the space of less than forty years, viz. before the destruction of 
the Jewish state by Titus and the Roman army. For so our 
Lord had expressly foretold, that " the gospel of the kingdom 
should be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, 
before the end came;" 6 that is, the end of the Jewish state, 
which the apostles a little before had called "the end of the 
world," h avvriXeia tov al&vos, the shutting up or consumma- 
tion of the age, the putting a final period to that present state 
and dispensation that the Jews were under. And indeed strange 
it is to consider, that in so few years these evangelical messengers 
should overrun all countries ; with what an incredible swiftness 
did the Christian faith, like lightning, pierce from east to west, 
and diffuse itself over all quarters of the world ; and that not 
only unassisted by any secular advantages, but in defiance of 
the most fierce and potent opposition, which every where set 
itself aginst it i It is true, the impostures of Mohammed in a 
very little time gained a great part of the East. But besides 
that this was not comparable to the universal spreading of Chris- 
tianity, his doctrine was calculated on purpose to gratify men's 
lusts; and especially to comply with the loose and wanton 
manners of the East, and, which is above all, had the sword to 
hew out its way before it : and we know how ready, even without 
force, in all changes and revolutions of the world, the conquered 
have been to follow the religion of the conquerors. Whereas the 
apostles had no visible advantages, nay, had all the enraged 
powers of the world to contend against them. And yet in despite 
of all went on in triumph, and quickly made their way into those 
places where, for so many ages, no other conquest ever came ; 
"those parts of Britain (as Tertullian observes 1 ) which were un- 
conquerable and unapproachable by the power of the Roman 
armies, submitting their necks to the yoke of Christ a mighty 
evidence (as he there argues) of Christ's divinity, and that he 
was the true Messiah. And indeed no reasonable account can 
be given of the strange and successful progress of the Christian 
religion in those first ages of it, but that it was the birth of 
heaven, and had a divine and invisible power going along with 
* Matt xxiy. 14. h Matt. xxiy. 3. ' Adv. Jud. c. 7. 


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it to succeed and prosper it. St. Chrysostoni discourses this 
argument at large, j some of whose elegant reasonings I shall 
here transcribe. He tells the Gentile, (with whom he was dis^ 
puting,) that he would not prove Christ's deity by a demonstra- 
tion from heaven, by his creation of the world, his great and 
stupendous miracles, his raising the dead, curing the blind, ex- 
pelling devils, nor from the mighty promises of a future state, and 
the resurrection of the dead, (which an infidel might easily not 
only question, but deny,) but from what was sufficiently evident 
and obvious to the meanest idiot, his planting and propagating 
Christianity in the world. " For it is not (says he) in the power 
of a mere man, in so short a time to encircle the world, to 
compass sea and land, and in matters of so great importance 
to rescue mankind from the slavery of absurd and unreasonable 
customs, and the powerful tyranny of evil habits ; and these 
not Romans only, but Persians, and the most barbarous nations 
of the world : a reformation which he wrought not by force and 
the power of the sword, nor by pouring into the world numerous 
legions and armies; but by a few inconsiderable men, (no more 
at first than eleven,) a company of obscure and mean, simple 
and illiterate, poor and helpless, naked and unarmed persons, 
who had scarce a shoe to tread on, or a coat to cover them. And 
yet by these he persuaded so great a part of mankind to be able 
freely to reason, not only of things of the present, but of a 
future state ; to renounce the laws of their country, and throw 
off those ancient and inveterate customs, which had taken root 
for so many ages, and planted others in their room ; and re- 
duced men from those easy ways, whereinto they were hurried, 
into the more rugged and difficult paths of virtue : all which he 
did, while he had to contend with opposite powers, and when 
he himself had undergone the most ignominious death, 6 even 
the death of the cross." " Afterwards he addresses himself to the 
Jew, and discourses with him much after the same rate. " Con- 
sider, (says he, k ) and bethink thyself, what it is in so short a time 
to fill the whole world with so many famous churches, to convert 
so many nations to the faith, to prevail with men to forsake the 
religion of their country, to root up their rites and customs, to 
shake off the empire of lust and pleasure, and the laws of vice, 
like dust ; to abolish and abominate their temples and their altars, 

3 Lib. quod Chr. sit Deua, s. 1. yol. i. p. 558. k Ibid. s. 12. p. 575. 


their idols and their sacrifices, their profane and impious festivals, 
as dirt and dung ; and instead thereof to set up Christian altars 
in all places, among the Romans, Persians, Scythians, Moors, 
and Indians ; and not there only, but in the countries beyond 
this world of ours. For even the British islands that lie be- 
yond the ocean, and those that are in it, have felt the power of 
the Christian faith ; churches and altars being erected there to 
the service of Christ. A matter truly great and admirable, and 
which would clearly have demonstrated a divine and super- 
eminent power, although there had been no opposition in the 
case, but that all things had run on calmly and smoothly, to 
think that in so few years the Christian faith should be able to 
reclaim the whole world from its vicious customs, and to win 
them over to other manners, more laborious and difficult, re- 
pugnant both to their native inclinations and to the laws and 
principles of their education, and such as obliged them to a more 
strict and accurate course of life ; and these persons not one or 
two, not twenty or an hundred, but in a manner all mankind : 
and this brought about by no other instruments than a few rude 
and unlearned, private and unknown tradesmen, who had neither 
estate nor reputation, learning nor eloquence, kindred nor country, 
to recommend them to the world ; a few fishermen and tent- 
makers, and whom, distinguished by their language as well as 
their religion, the rest of the world scorned as barbarous. And 
yet these were the men by whom our Lord built up his church, 
and extended it from one end of the world unto the other,'" 
Other considerations there are with which the father does urge 
and illustrate this argument, which I forbear to insist on in 
this place. 

VII. Sixthly, the power and authority conveyed by this com- 
mission to the apostles, was equally conferred upon all of them. 
They were all chosen at the same time, all equally empowered to 
preach and baptize, all equally intrusted with the power of binding 
and loosing, all invested with the same mission, and all equally 
furnished with the same gifts and powers of the Holy Ghost. In- 
deed, the advocates of the church of Rome do with a mighty zeal 
and fierceness contend for St. Peter's being head and prince of 
the apostles, advanced by Christ to a supremacy and prerogative 
not only above, but over the rest of the apostles ; and not with- 
out reason, the fortunes of that church being concerned in the 


supremacy of St. Peter. No wonder, therefore, they ransack all 
corners, press and force in whatever may but seem to give coun- 
tenance to it : witness those thin and miserable shifts, which 
Bellarmine calls arguments, to prove and make it good; so utterly 
devoid of all rational conviction, so unable to justify themselves 
to sober and considering men, that a man would think they had 
been contrived for no other purpose than to cheat fools, and 
make wise men laugh. And the truth is, nothing with me more 
shakes the reputation of the wisdom of that learned man than his 
making use of such weak and trifling arguments in so important 
and concerning an article, so vital and essential to the constitu- 
tion of that church. As when he argues Peter's superiority from 
the mere changing of his name, 1 (for what is this to supremacy t 
besides, that it was not done to him alone, the same being done 
to James and John,) from his being first reckoned up in the 
catalogue of apostles, his walking with Christ upon the water, 
his paying tribute for his master and himself, his being com- 
manded to let down the net, and Christ's teaching in Peter's 
ship, (and this ship must denote the church, and Peter's being 
owner of it, entitle him to be supreme ruler and governor of the 
church ; so Bellarmine, in terms as plain as he could well express 
it,) from Christ's first washing Peter's feet, (though the story 
recorded by the evangelist says no such thing,) and his fore- 
telling only his death : all which, and many more prerogatives 
of St. Peter, to the number of no less than twenty-eight, are 
summoned in to give in evidence in this cause; and many of these 
too drawn out of apocryphal and supposititious authors, and not 
only uncertain, but absurd and fabulous ; and yet upon such 
arguments as these do they found this paramount authority : a 
plain evidence of a desperate and sinking cause, when such twigs 
must be laid hold on to support and keep it above water. Had 
they suffered Peter to be content with a primacy of order, 
(which his age and gravity seemed to challenge for him,) no wise 
and peaceable man would have denied it, as being a thing ordi- 
narily practised among equals, and necessary to the well-governing 
a society ; but when nothing but a primacy of power will serve 
the turn, as if the rest of the apostles had been inferior to him, 
this may by no means be granted, as being expressly contrary to 
the positive determination of our Saviour, when the apostles werb 

• De Rom. Pontif. Lie. 17, 18. et seq. 

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contending about this very thing, "which of them should be 
accounted the greatest,' 1 he thus quickly decides the case : In " The 
kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and they that 
are great exercise authority upon them. But ye shall not be so : 
but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister, 
and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant." 
Than which nothing could have been more peremptorily spoken, 
to rebuke this naughty spirit of preeminence. Nor do we ever find 
St. Peter himself laying claim to any such power, or the apostles 
giving him the least shadow of it. In the whole course of his 
affairs there are no intimations of this matter ; in his epistle he 
styles himself but their fellow-presbyter, and expressly forbids 
the governors of the church to " lord it over God's heritage." 
When despatched by the rest of the apostles upon a message to 
Samaria, he never disputes their authority to do it ; when accused 
by them for going in unto the Gentiles, does he stand upon his 
prerogative? no, but submissively apologizes for himself; nay, 
when smartly reproved by St. Paul at Antioch, (when, if ever, 
his credit lay at stake,) do we find him excepting against it as an 
affront to his supremacy, and a saucy controlling his superior ? 
surely the quite contrary ; he quietly submitted to the reproof, 
as one that was sensible how justly he had deserved it. Nor can 
it be supposed but that St* Paul would have carried it towards 
him with a greater reverence, had any such peculiar sovereignty 
been then known to the world. How confidently does St. Paul 
assert himself to be no whit " inferior to the chiefest apostles," 
not to Peter himself? the gospel of the uncircumcision being 
committed to him, as that of the circumcision was to Peter. Is 
Peter oft named first among the apostles ? elsewhere others, some- 
times James, sometimes Paul and A polios, are placed before him. 
Did Christ honour him with some singular commendations ? an 
honourable elogium conveys no supereminent power and sove- 
reignty. Was he dear to Christ ? We know another, that was the 
beloved disciple. So little warrant is there to exalt one above the 
rest, where Christ made all alike. 0 If from scripture we descend 
to the ancient writers of the church, we snail find, that though the 
fathers bestow very great and honourable titles upon Peter, yet 

m Matt xx. 25, 26, 27. Luke xxii. 24, 25, 26. 

n "Hoc erant utique et cateri apastoli, quod fuit Petrus, pari consortio praeiiti et 
honoris et potestatis." Cyprian, de Unitat Eccles. p. 107, 8. 


they give the same, or what are equivalent, to others of the 
apostles. Hesychius ° styles St. James the Great, " the brother 
of our Lord, the commander of the new J erusalem, the prince of 
priests, the exarch or chief of the apostles, iv K€<f>a\ol<; Kopv<f>rjv, 
the top or crown amongst the heads, the great light amongst the 
lamps, the most illustrious and resplendent amongst the stars : 
it was Peter that preached, but it was James that made the 
determination," &c. Of St. Andrew he gives this encomium, p 
that " he was the sacerdotal trumpet, the first-born of the apos- 
tolical choir, irpfOTOtrarfi)^ Tr}$ i/cK\r)(Tui<; arvXos, the prime and 
firm pillar of the church, Peter before Peter, the foundation of 
the foundation, the first fruits of the beginning." Peter and 
John are said to be urorifioi dWjyXots, " equally honourable," 
by St. Cyril, q with his whole synod of Alexandria. " St. John 
(says Chrysostom 1 ) was Chrises beloved, the pillar of all the 
churches in the world, who had the keys of heaven, drank of the 
Lord^s cup, was washed with his baptism, and with confidence 
lay in his bosom." And of St. Paul he tells us, 8 that he was 
" the most excellent of all men, the teacher of the world, the 
bridegroom of Christ, the planter of the church, the wise master- 
builder, greater than the apostles," and much more to the same 
purpose. Elsewhere he says,* that the care of the world was 
committed to him, that nothing could be more noble or illus- 
trious ; yea, that (his miracles considered) he was more excellent 
than kings themselves. And a little after, he calls him " the 
tongue of the earth, the light of the churches, tov defiiXiov T779 
7r/o-T€0)9, rbv crvkov teal iSpaicofia tt}? akrjdeias, the foundation 
of the faith, the pillar and ground of truth."" And in a discourse 
on th*e purpose, wherein he compares Peter and Paul together, 
he makes them of equal esteem and virtue : x " ri Itirpov fiel^oy ; 
rt IlavXov laov ; what greater than Peter ? what equal to 
Paul ? a blessed pair ! fj ireirLarevOeiaa o\ov rod Koafiov ra? 
^i/%a9, who had the souls of the whole world committed to their 
charge." But instances of this nature were endless and infinite. 

0 Orat in S. Jac. apud Phot Cod. CCLXXV. col. 1525. 
p Encom. S. Thorn, ibid. Cod. CCLXIX. col. 1488. 

1 In Cone. Ephes. Concil. vol. ii. p. 209. 

r Prolog, in Joan. Horn. i. s. L vol. viii. p. 2. • De Pet fil. Zeb. s. 3. vol. i. p. 517. 
1 In illud, sal. Aquil. et Prise, s. 2. vol. iii. p. 174. ■ Ibid. s. 3. p. 176. 

* Serm. in Petr. et Paul. s. 1. vol. viii. p. 8. inter spuria. 

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If the fathers at any time style Peter " prince of the apostles," 
they mean no more by it, than the best and purest Latin writers 
mean by princess, the first or chief person of the number, more 
considerable than the rest, either for his age or zeal. Thus 
Eusebius tells us, y Peter was " r&v Xolit&v airavrcov irporjyopo^ 
the prolocutor of all the rest, aperr}? eve/ca, for the greatness 
and generosity of his mind that is, in Chrysostom's language, 3 
he was " the mouth and chief of the apostles, 6 iravra^ov 
0e/)/iO5, because eager and forward at every turn, and ready to 
answer those questions which were put to others." In short, as 
he had no prerogative above the rest, besides his being the chair- 
man and president of the assembly, so was it granted to him 
upon no other considerations than those of his age, zeal, and 
gravity, for which he was more eminent than the rest. 

VIII. We proceed next to inquire into the fitness and quali- 
fication of the persons commissionated for this employment ; and 
we shall find them admirably qualified to discharge it, if we con- 
sider this following account. First, they immediately received 
the doctrine of the gospel from the mouth of Christ himself; 
he intended them for legati a latere, his peculiar ambassadors to 
the world, and therefore furnished them with instructions from 
his own mouth ; and in order hereunto, he trained them up for 
some years under his own discipline and institution: he made 
them to understand the " mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, 
when to others it was not given treated them with the 
affection of a father, and the freedom and familiarity of a friend : 
" Henceforth I call you pot servants, for the servant knoweth 
not what his lord doeth, but I have called you friends : for all 
things that I have heard of my Father, I have made known 
unto you." 8 They heard all his sermons, were privy both to his 
public and private discourses ; what he preached abroad, he ex- 
pounded to them at home ; he gradually instructed them in the 
knowledge of divine things, and imparted to them the notions 
and mysteries of the gospel, not all at once, but " as they were 
able to bear them :" by which means they were sufficiently 
capable of giving a satisfactory account of that doctrine to 
others, which had been so immediately, so frequently communi- 
cated to themselves. Secondly, they were infallibly secured 

y Hist Eccl. 1. ii. c. 14. * In Matt Horn. liv. s. 1. vol. vii. p. 54G. 

a John xv. 15. 


from error in delivering the doctrines and principles of Chris- 
tianity : for though they were not absolutely privileged from 
failures and miscarriages in their lives, (these being of more per- 
sonal and private consideration,) yet were they infallible in their 
doctrine, this being a matter whereupon the salvation and 
eternkl interests of men did depend. And for this end, they 
had the " spirit of truth' 1 promised to them, who should "guide 
them into all truth. 1 ' b Under the conduct of this unerring 
guide, they all steered .the same course, taught and spake the 
same things, though at different times, and in distant places ; and 
for what was consigned to writing, "all scripture was given by 
inspiration of God, and the holy men spake not, but as they were 
moved by the Holy Ghost. 11 Hence that exact and admirable 
harmony that is in all their writings and relations, as being all 
equally dictated by the same spirit of truth. Thirdly, they had 
been eyewitnesses of all the material passages of our Saviour's 
life, continually conversant with him from the commencing of 
his public ministry till his ascension into heaven ; they had sur- 
veyed all his actions, seen all his miracles, observed the whole 
method of his conversation, and some of them attended him in 
his most private solitudes and retirements. And this could not 
but be a very rational satisfaction to the minds of men, when 
the publishers of the gospel solemnly declared to the world, that 
they reported nothing concerning our Saviour but what they 
had seen with their own eyes, and of the truth whereof they 
were as competent judges as the acutest philosopher in the 
world. Nor could there be any just reason to suspect that they 
imposed upon men in what they delivered ; for besides their 
naked plainness and simplicity in all other passages of their 
lives, they cheerfully submitted to the most exquisite hardships, 
tortures, and sufferings, merely to attest the truth of what they 
published to the world. Next to the evidence of our own senses, 
no testimony is more valid and forcible, than his who relates 
what himself has seen. Upon this account our Lord told his 
apostles, " that they should be witnesses to him, both in Judea 
and Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth. 110 And 
so necessary a qualification of an apostle was this thought to be, 
that it was almost the only condition propounded in the choice 
of a new apostle after the fall of Judas : " Wherefore (says 
b John xvi 13. c Acts i. 8. 

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Peter) of these men that have companied with us all the time 
that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from 
the baptism of John, unto the same day that he was taken up 
from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his 
resurrection/"* 1 Accordingly, we find the apostles constantly 
making use of this argument as the most rational evidence to 
convince those whom they had to deal with : " We are witnesses 
of all things which Jesus did both in the land of the Jews, and 
in Jerusalem ; whom they slew and hanged on a tree : him God 
raised up the third day, and shewed him openly ; not to all the 
people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, 
who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. 
And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify 
that it is he that is ordained of God to be judge of the quick 
and dead. 11 ' Thus St. John, after the same way of arguing, 
appeals to sensible demonstration : " That which was from the 
beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our 
eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, 
of the word of life ; (for the life was manifested, and we have 
seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, 
which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us ;) that 
which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also 
may have fellowship with us. 11f This, to name no more, St. 
Peter thought a sufficient vindication of the apostolical doctrine 
from the suspicion of forgery and imposture : " We have not 
followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto 
you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were 
eyewitnesses of his majesty. 11 g God had frequently given tes- 
timony to the divinity of our blessed Saviour, by visible mani- 
festations and appearances from heaven, and particularly by an 
audible voice, " This is my beloved Son in whom I am well 
pleased. 11 Now " this voice which came from heaven (says he) 
we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. 11 

IX. Fourthly, the apostles were invested with a power of 
working miracles, as the readiest means to procure their religion 
a firm belief and entertainment in the minds of men. For 
miracles are the great confirmation of the truth of any doctrine, 
and the most rational evidence of a divine commission. For 

d Acts I 21, 22. « Acts x. 39, 40, &c. 

f 1 John LI, 2, 3. «2 Pet. i. 16, 17. 

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seeing God only can create, and control the laws of nature, 
produce something out of nothing, and call things that are not, 
as if they were, give eyes to them that were born blind, raise 
the dead, &c. things plainly beyond all possible powers of nature; 
no man that believes the wisdom and goodness of an infinite 
being, can suppose that this God of truth should affix his seal to 
a lie, or communicate this power to any that would abuse it, to 
confirm and countenance delusions and impostures. Nicodemus's 
reasoning was very plain and convictive, h when he concludes 
" that Christ must needs be a teacher come from God, for that 
no man could do those miracles that he did, except God were 
with him." The force of which argument lies here, that nothing 
but a divine power can work miracles, and that Almighty God 
cannot be supposed miraculously to assist any but those whom 
he himself sends upon his own errand. The stupid and bar- 
barous Lycaonians, when they beheld the man who had been a 
cripple from his mother's womb, cured by St. Paul in an instant, 
only with the speaking of a word, saw that there was something 
in it more than human, and therefore concluded that " the gods 
were come down to them in the likeness of men." 1 Upon this 
account St. Paul reckons miracles among the ra ay/Mela rod 
airoaroXovi the "signs" and evidences "of an apostle ;" k whom 
therefore Chrysostom brings in elegantly pleading for himself, 1 
that though he could not shew, as the signs of his priesthood and 
ministry, long robes and gaudy vestments, with bells sounding 
at their borders, as the Aaronical priests did of old, though he 
had no golden crowns or holy mitres, yet could he produce what 
was infinitely more venerable and regardable than all these, un- 
questionable signs and miracles : he came not with altars and 
oblations, with a number of strange and symbolical rites ; but 
what was greater, raised the dead, cast out devils, cured the 
blind, healed the lame, " making the Gentiles obedient by word 
and deed, through many signs and wonders wrought by the 
power of the Spirit of God." These were the things that clearly 
shewed that their mission and ministry was not from men, nor 
taken up of their own heads, but that they acted herein by a 
divine warrant and authority. That therefore it might plainly 
appear to the world, that they did not falsify in what they said, 

b John iii. 4. 1 Acts xiv. 10, 11. * 2 Cor. xii. 12. 

1 Chrys. Horn. xxix. in Rom. s. 2. vol. ix. p. 731. 

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or deliver any more than God had given them in commission, he 
enabled them to do strange and miraculous operations, u bearing 
them witness both with signs and wonders, and with divers 
miracles and gifts of the Holy Ghost." m This was a power put 
into the first draught of their commission, when confined only 
to the cities of Israel : " As ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom 
of heaven is at hand ; heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the 
dead, cast out devils ; freely ye have received, freely give :" n but 
more fully confirmed upon them, when our Lord went to heaven, 
then he told thera,° that " these signs should follow them that 
believe ; that in his name they should cast out devils, and speak 
with new tongues; that they should take up serpents, and if 
they drank any deadly thing, it should not hurt them ; that 
they should lay hands on the sick, and they should recover:" 
and the event was accordingly, " for they went forth, and 
preached every where, the Lord working with them, and con- 
firming the word with signs following." When Paul and Bar- 
nabas came up to the council at Jerusalem, this was one of the 
first things they gave an account of, p " all the multitude keeping 
silence, while they declared what miracles and wonders God had 
wrought among the Gentiles by them." Thus the very " shadow 
of Peter, as he passed by, cured the sick :" thus " God wrought 
special miracles by the hands of Paul; so that from his body 
were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs, or aprons, and the 
diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of 
,them." q So that besides the innate characters of divinity which 
the Christian religion brought along with it, containing nothing 
but what was highly reasonable, and very becoming God to re- 
veal ; it had the highest external evidence that any religion was 
capable of, the attestation of great and unquestionable miracles, 
done not once or twice, not privately and in corners, not before a 
few simple and credulous persons, but frequently and at every 
turn, publicly and in places of the most solemn concourse, before 
the wisest and most judicious inquirers, and this power of 
miracles continued not only during the apostles'* time, but for 
some ages after. 

X. But because, besides miracles in general, the Scripture 
takes particular notice of many gifts and powers of the Holy 

» Heb. ii. 4. n Matt x. 7, 8. * ° Mark xvi. 17—20. 

p Acts xv. 12. i Acts xix. 11, 12. 


Ghost conferred upon the apostles and first preachers of the 
gospel, it may not be amiss to consider some of the chiefest and 
most material of them, as we find them enumerated by the 
apostle/ only premising this observation, that though these gifts 
were distinctly distributed to persons of an inferior order, so 
that one had this, and another that, yet were they (probably) 
all conferred upon the apostles, and doubtless in larger propor- 
tions than upon the rest. First, we take notice of the " gift of 
prophecy," a clear evidence of divine inspiration, and an extra- 
ordinary mission, " the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of pro- 
phecy.' 1 8 It had been for many ages the signal and honourable 
privilege of the Jewish church, and that the Christian economy 
might challenge as sacred regards from men, and that it might 
appear that God had not withdrawn his spirit from his church 
in this new state of things, it was revived under the dispensation 
of the gospel, according to that famous prophecy of Joel, exactly 
accomplished (as Peter told the Jews) upon the day of pentecost, 
when the miraculous gifts of the Holy Ghost were so plentifully 
shed upon the apostles and primitive Christians ; " this is that 
which was spoken by the prophet Joel, It shall come to pass in 
the last days, (saith God,) I will pour out of my spirit upon all 
flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and 
your young men shall see visions, and your old men shaH dream 
dreams; and on my servants, and on my handmaidens, I will 
pour out in those days of my spirit, and they shall prophesy 1 
It lay, in general, in revealing and making known to others the 
mind of God, but discovered itself in particular instances ; partly 
in foretelling things to come, and what should certainly happen 
in aftertimes : a thing set beyond the reach of any finite under- 
standing ; for though such effects as depend upon natural agents, 
or moral and political causes, may be foreseen by studious and 
considering persons, yet the knowledge of futurities, things purely 
contingent, that merely depend upon men's choice, and their 
mutable and uncertain wills, can only fall under his view, who 
at once beholds things past, present, and to come. Now this 
was conferred upon the apostles and some of the first Christians, 
as appears from many instances in the history of the apostolic 
acts, and we find the apostles 1 writings frequently interspersed 
with prophetical predictions concerning the great apostacy from 
' 1 Cor. xii. 9, 10. • Rev. xix. 10. * Joel ii. 28, 29. Acts ii. 16, 17, 18. 

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the faith, the universal corruption and degeneracy of manners, 
the rise of particular heresies, the coming of Antichrist, and 
several other things "which the spirit said expressly should 
come to pass in the latter times ;" besides that St. John^s whole 
book of Revelation is almost entirely made up of prophecies con- 
cerning the future state and condition of the church. Sometimes 
by this spirit of prophecy God declared things that were of 
present concernment to the exigencies of the church, as when he 
signified to them that they should set apart Paul and Barnabas 
for the conversion of the Gentiles, and many times immediately 
designed particular persons to be pastors and governors of the 
church. Thus we read of " the gift that was given to Timothy 
by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery," 
that is, his ordination, to which he was particularly pointed out 
by some prophetic designation. But the main use of this pro- 
phetic gift in those times, was to explain some of the more 
difficult and particular parts of the Christian doctrine, especially 
to expound and apply the ancient prophecies concerning the 
Messiah and his kingdom in their public assemblies; whence 
the " gift of prophecy " is explained by " understanding all myste- 
ries, and all knowledge," u that is, the most dark and difficult 
places of scripture, the types and figures, the ceremonies and 
prophecies of the Old Testament. And thus we are commonly 
to understand those words, "prophets" and "prophesying," that so 
familiarly occur in the New Testament. " Having gifts differing 
according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, 
let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith ;" x that is, 
expound scripture according to the generally received principles 
of faith and life. So the apostle elsewhere prescribing rules for 
the decent and orderly managing of divine worship in their 
public assemblies, "let the prophets (says he y ) speak two or 
three," (that is, at the same assembly,) "and let the other 
judge:" and if, while any is thus expounding, another has a 
divine afflatus, whereby he is more particularly enabled to ex- 
plain some difficult and emergent passage, " let the first hold his 
peace : for ye may all," all that have this gift, " prophesy one 
by one," that so thus orderly proceeding, " all may learn, and all 
may be comforted." Nor can the first pretend that this in- 
terruption is an unseasonable check to his revelation, seeing he 
» 1 Cor. xiii. 2. * Rom. xii. 6. * 1 Cor. xiv. 29. 


may command himself; for though among the Gentiles the 
prophetic and ecstatic impulse did so violently press upon the 
inspired person, that he could not govern himself, yet in the 
church of God " the spirits of the prophets are subject to the 
prophets," may be so ruled and restrained by them, as to make 
way for others. This order of Christian prophets considered 
as a distinct ministry by itself, is constantly placed next to the 
apostolical office, and is frequently by St. Paul preferred before 
any other spiritual gifts then bestowed upon the church. When 
this spirit of prophecy ceased in the Christian church, we cannot 
certainly find. It continued some competent time beyond the 
apostolic age. Justin Martyr expressly tells Trypho the Jew, 8 
Uapu rifilv zeal pi^pi vvv irpo<fyrfTL/ca ^apia/Mard iariv^ " the 
gifts of prophecy are even yet extant among us ; " an argument, 
as he there tells him, that those things which had of old been 
the great privileges of their church, were now translated into the 
Christian church. And Eusebius, 8 speaking of a revelation made 
to one Alcibiades, who lived about the time of Irenaeus, adds, 
that the divine grace had not withdrawn its presence from the 
church, but that they still had the Holy Ghost as their counsellor 
to direct them. 

XL Secondly, they had "the gifts of discerning spirits," 
whereby they were enabled to discover the truth or falsehood of 
men's pretences, whether their gifts were real or counterfeit, and 
their persons truly inspired or not. For many men, acted only 
by diabolical impulses, might entitle themselves to divine in- 
spirations, and others might be imposed upon by their delusions, 
and mistake their dreams and fancies for the Spirit's dictates 
and revelations ; or might so subtly and artificially counterfeit 
revelations, that they might with most pass for current, espe- 
cially in those times when these supernatural gifts were so 
common and ordinary ; and our Lord himself had frequently 
told them that " false prophets would arise," and that many . 
would confidently plead for themselves before him, that they 
had " prophesied in his name." That therefore the church might 
not be imposed upon, God was pleased to endue the apostles, 
and it may be some others, with an immediate faculty of dis- 
cerning the chaff from the wheat, true from false prophets ; 
nay, to know when the true prophets delivered the revelations 

z Dial, cum Tryph. s. 82. » Hist. Eccl. 1. v. c. 3. 

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of the Spirit, and when they expressed only their own con- 
ceptions. This was a mighty privilege, but yet seems to me to 
have extended farther, to judge of the sincerity or hypocrisy of 
men's hearts in the profession of religion, that so bad men being 
discovered, suitable censures and punishments might be passed 
upon them, and others cautioned to avoid them. Thus Peter 
at first sight discovered Ananias and Sapphira, and the rotten 
hypocrisy of their intentions, before there was any external 
evidence in the case ; and told Simon Magus, though baptized 
before, upon his embracing Christianity, " that his heart was not 
right in the sight of God ! for I perceive (says he) that thou art 
in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.'" b Thirdly, 
the apostles had the " gift of tongues," furnished with variety of 
utterance, able to speak on a sudden several languages which 
they had never learnt, as occasion was administered, and the 
exigencies of persons and nations, with whom they conversed, 
did require. For the apostles being principally designed to 
convert the world, and to plant Christianity in all countries and 
nations, it was absolutely necessary that they should be able 
readily to express their minds in the languages of those countries 
to which they addressed themselves : seeing otherwise it would 
have been a work of time and difficulty, and not consistent with 
the term of the apostles'* lives, had they been first to learn the 
different languages of those nations, before they could have 
preached the gospel to them. Hence this gift was diffused upon 
the apostles in larger measures and proportions than upon other 
men : " I speak with tongues more than ye all," says St. Paul ; c 
that is, than all the gifted persons in the church of Corinth. Our 
Lord had told the apostles before his departure from them, " that 
they should be endued with power from on high*" which upon 
the day of pentecost was particularly made good in this instance, 
when in a moment they were enabled to speak almost all the 
languages of the then known world, and this as a specimen and 
first-fruits of the rest of those miraculous powers that were con- 
ferred' upon them. 

XII. A fourth gift was that of interpretation, or unfolding to 
others what had been delivered in an unknown tongue. For 
the Christian assemblies in those days were frequently made up 
of men of different nations, and who could not understand what 

b Acts viii. 21. 2S. c 1 Cor. xiv. 18. 


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the apostles or others had spoken to the congregation ; this God 
supplied by this gift of interpretation, enabling some to interpret 
what others did not understand, and to speak it to them in their 
own native language. St. Paul largely discourses the necessity 
of this gift, in order to the instructing and edifying of the 
church, d seeing without it their meetings could be no better than 
the assembly of Babel after the confusion of languages, where 
one man must needs be a barbarian to another, and all the 
praying and preaching of the minister of the assembly be, to 
many, altogether fruitless and unprofitable, and no better than 
a " speaking into the air." What is the speaking, though with 
the " tongue of angels," to them that do not understand it ? 
How can the idiot and unlearned say Amen, who understands 
not the language of him that giveth thanks ? The duty may be 
done with admirable quaintness and accuracy, but what is he 
the better, from whom it is locked up in an unknown tongue ? A 
consideration that made the apostle solemnly profess, that " he 
had rather speak five words in the church with his under^ 
standing, that by his voice he may teach others also, than ten 
thousand words in an unknown tongue. Therefore if any man 
speak in an unknown tongue, let it be but by two, or at most 
by three, and let one interpret' 1 what the rest have spoken : 
" but if there be no interpreter, 11 none present able to do this, 
" let him keep silence in the church, and speak to himself and 
to God. 116 A man that impartially reads this discourse of the 
apostle, may wonder how the church of Borne, in defiance of it, 
can so openly practise, so confidently defend their Bible and 
divine services in an unknown tongue, so flatly repugnant to the 
dictates of common reason, the usage of the first Christian 
church, and these plain apostolical commands. But this is not 
the only instance wherein that church has departed both from 
scripture, reason, and the practice of the first and purest ages 
of Christianity. Indeed, there is some cause why they are so 
zealous to keep both scripture and their divine worship in a 
strange language, lest by reading the one, the people should 
become wise enough to discover the gross errors and corruptions 
of the other. Fifthly, the apostles had the " gift of healing, 11 of 
curing diseases without the arts of physic ; the most inveterate 
distempers being equally removable by an Almighty power, and 

* 1 Cor. xiy. e 1 Cor. siv. 19. 27, 28. 


vanishing at their speaking of a word. This begot an extra- 
ordinary veneration for them and their religion among the 
common sort of men, who, as they are strongliest moved with 
sensible effects, so are most taken with those miracles that are 
beneficial to the life of man. Hence the infinite cures done in 
every place, God mercifully providing that the body should par- 
take with the soul in the advantages of the gospel, the cure of 
the one ushering in, many times, the conversion of the other. 
This gift was very common in those early days, bestowed not 
upon the apostles only, but the ordinary governors of the church, 
who were wont " to lay their hands upon the sick," f and some- 
times to " anoint them with oil." (a symbolic rite in use among 
the Jews, to denote the grace of God,) and " to pray over," and 
for " them, in the name of the Lord Jesus," whereby, upon a 
hearty confession and forsaking of their sins, both health and 
pardon were at once bestowed upon them. How long this gift, 
with its appendant ceremony of unction, lasted in the church, 
is not easy to determine ; that it was in use inTTertullian^s time, 8 
we learn from the instance he gives us of Proculus, a Christian, 
who cured the emperor Severus by anointing him with oil ; for 
which the emperor had him in great honour, and kept him with 
him at court all his life : it afterwards vanishing by degrees, as 
all other miraculous powers, as Christianity gained firm footing 
in the world. As for extreme unction, so generally maintained 
and practised in the church of Borne, nay, and by them made a 
sacrament, I doubt it will receive very little countenance from 
this primitive usage. Indeed, could they as easily restore sick 
men to health, as they can anoint them with oil, I think nobody 
would contradict them ; but till they can pretend to the one, I 
think it unreasonable they should use the other. The best is, 
though founding it upon this apostolical practice, they have 
turned it to a quite contrary purpose, instead of recovering men 
to life and health, to dispose and fit them for dying, when all 
hopes of life are taken from them. 

XIII. Sixthly, the apostles were invested with a power of 
immediately inflicting corporal punishments upon great and no* 
torious sinners ; and this probably is that which he means by 
his ivepywara Swa/iew, " operations of powers," or " working 
miracles," h which surely cannot be meant of miracles in general, 
f Jam. v. 14, 15, 16. * AdScapuL c 4. h I Cor. xii. 10. 


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being reckoned up amongst the particular gifts of the Holy 
Ghost, nor is there any other to which it can with equal pro- 
bability refer. A power to inflict diseases upon the body, as 
when St. Paul struck Elymas the sorcerer with blindness : and 
sometimes extending to the loss of life itself, as in the sad 
instance of Ananias and Sapphira. This was the virga apostoliea^ 
the rod (mentioned by St. Paul 1 ) which the apostles held and 
shaked over scandalous and insolent offenders, and sometimes 
laid upon them : " What will ye i shall I come to you with a 
rod? or in love, and the spirit of meekness ?" Where observe 
(says Chrysostom k ) how the apostle tempers his discourse ; the 
love and meekness, and his desire to know, argued care and 
kindness ; but the rod spake dread and terror : a rod of severity 
and punishment, and which sometimes mortally chastised the 
offender. Elsewhere he frequently gives intimations of this 
power, when he has to deal with stubborn and incorrigible per- 
sons : " Having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when 
your obedience is fulfilled ; for though I should boast something 
more of our authority, (which the Lord hath given us for edifi- 
cation, and not for your destruction,) I should not be ashamed ; 
that I may not seem as if I would terrify you by letters." 1 And 
he again puts them in mind of it at the close of his epistle : " I 
told you before, and foretell you as if I were present the second 
time, and being absent now, I write to them which heretofore 
have sinned, and to all others, that if I come again I will not 
spare." 1 " But he hoped these smart warnings would supersede 
all farther severity against them : " Therefore I write these 
things, being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, 
according to the power which the Lord hath given me to edifica- 
tion, and not to destruction." 11 Of this nature was the " deliver- 
ing over persons unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh," 0 
the chastising the body by some present pain or sickness, " that 
the spirit might be saved" by being brought to a seasonable 
repentance. Thus he dealt with Hymenaeus and Alexander, 
who had " made shipwreck of faith and a good conscience ; he 
delivered them unto Satan, that they might learn not to bias- 

1 1 Cor. iv. 21. 

k Chrysost. Horn. xiv. in I ad Cor. s. 2. vol. x. p. 119. et rid. Hieron. in loc. 
1 2 Cor. x. 6, 8, 9. » 2 Cor. xiii. 2. n 2 Cor. xiii. 10. 

* 1 Cor. 5. vid. Chrysost et Hieron. in loc. 

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pheme." p Nothing being more usual in those times than for 
persons excommunicate, and cut off from the body of the church, 
to be presently arrested by Satan, as the common Serjeant and 
executioner, and by him either actually possessed, or tormented 
in their bodies by some diseases which he brought upon them. 
And indeed this severe discipline was no more than necessary in 
those times, when Christianity was wholly destitute of any civil 
or coercive power to beget and keep up a due reverence and 
regard to the sentence and determinations of the church, and to 
secure the laws of religion and the holy censures from being 
slighted by every bold and contumacious offender. And this 
effect we find it had after the dreadful instance of Ananias and 
Sapphira : 44 Great fear came upon all the church, and upon as 
many as heard these things.^ To what has been said concerning 
these apostolical gifts, let me farther observe, that they had not 
only these gifts residing in themselves, but a power to bestow 
them upon others, so that by imposition of hands, or upon hear- 
ing and embracing the apostles^ doctrine, and being baptized into 
the Christian faith, they could confer these miraculous powers 
upon persons thus qualified to receive them, whereby they were 
in a moment enabled to speak divers languages, to prophesy, to 
interpret, and do other miracles, to the admiration and astonish- 
ment of all that heard and saw them : a privilege peculiar 
to the apostles ; for we do not find that any inferior order 
of gifted persons were intrusted with it. And therefore, as 
Chrysostom well observes/ though Philip the deacon wrought 
great miracles at Samaria, to the conversion of many, yea, to 
the conviction of Simon Magus himself, " yet the Holy Ghost 
fell upon none of them, only they were baptized in the name of 
the Lord Jesus," till Peter and John came down to them, who 
having " prayed for them that they might receive the Holy 
Ghost, they laid their hands upon them, and they received the 
Holy Ghost which when the magician beheld, he offered the 
apostles money to enable him, that on whomsoever he laid his 
hands he might derive these miraculous powers upon them. 

XIV. Having seen how fitly furnished the apostles were for 
the execution of their office, let us in the last place inquire into 
its duration and continuance. And here it must be considered, 

p l Tim. i. 20. «» Acts v. 11. 

r Chrysost. Horn, xviii. in Act. s. 3. vol. ix. p. 146. 



that in the apostolical office there was something extraordinary, 
and something ordinary. What was extraordinary was their 
immediate commission derived from the mouth of Christ him- 
seFP, their unlimited charge to preach the gospel up and down 
the world, without being tied to any particular places ; the 
supernatural and miraculous powers conferred upon them as 
apostles; their infallible guidance in delivering the doctrines 
of the gospel ; and these all expired and determined with their 
persons. The standing and perpetual part of it was to teach 
and instruct the people in the duties and principles of religion, 
to administer the sacraments, to constitute guides and officers, 
and to exercise the discipline and government of the church : 
and in these they are succeeded by the ordinary rulers and ec- 
clesiastic guides, who were to superintend and discharge the 
affairs and offices of the church, to the end of the world. 
Whence it is that bishops and governors came to be styled 
apostles, as being their successors in ordinary ; for so they fre- 
quently are in the writings of the church. Thus Timothy, who 
was bishop of Ephesus, is called an apostle ; 9 Clemens of Borne, 
Clemens the apostle ; ' St. Mark, bishop of Alexandria, by Eu- 
sebius styled both an apostle and evangelist ; u Ignatius, a bishop 
and apostle. x A title that continued in after-ages, especially 
given to those that were the first planters or restorers of Chris- 
tianity in any country. In the Coptic Kalendar, published by 
Mr. Selden, y the seventh day of the month Baschnes, answering 
to our second of May, is dedicated to the memory of St. Atha- 
nasius the apostle. Acacius and Paulus, in their letter to Epi- 
phanius, 2 style him viov airoaroKov zeal /ctfpv/ca, " a new apostle 
and preacher and Sidonius Apollinaris,* writing to Lupus, 
bishop of Troyes in France, speaks of " the honour due to his 
eminent apostleship." An observation which it were easy 
enough to confirm by abundant instances, were it either doubt- 
ful in itself, or necessary to my purpose ; but being neither, I 

■ Philostorg. Hist. EccL L iil c. 2. 1 Clem. Alex. Strom. 1. iv. c. 17. 

■ Hist. EccL 1. ii. c. 24. s Chrysost Encom. S. Ignat s. 1. toL ii. p. 593. 
y De Synedr. L iil c. 15. z Prefix. Oper. de Hares. 

* Lit), ep. 4. vid. ep. 7. 




Bethsaida, St Peter's birth-place : its dignity of old, and fete at this day. The time of 
his birth inquired into. Some errors noted concerning it His names ; Cephas, the 
imposing of it notes no superiority over the rest of the apostles. The custom of popes 
assuming a new name at their election to the papacy, whence. His kindred and re- 
lations ; whether he or Andrew the elder brother. His trade and way of life, what, 
before his coming to Christ The Sea of Galilee, and the conveniency of it The 
meanness and obscurity of his trade. The remarkable appearances of the Divine Pro- 
vidence in propagating Christianity in the world by mean and unlikely instruments. 

The land of Palestine was, fit and before the coming of our 
blessed Saviour, distinguished into three several provinces, 
Judea, Samaria, and Galilee. This last was divided into the 
Upper and the Lower. In the Upper, called also Galilee of the 
Gentiles, within the division anciently belonging to the tribe of 
Naphthali, stood Bethsaida, formerly an obscure and inconsider- 
able village, till lately re-edified and enlarged by Philip the 
Tetrarch,* by him advanced to the place and title of a city, 
replenished with inhabitants, and fortified with power and 
strength, and in honour of Julia, the daughter of Augustus 
Caesar, by him styled Julias. Situate it was upon the banks of 
the Sea of Galilee, and had a wilderness on the other side, thence 
called the Desert of Bethsaida, whither our Saviour used often 
to retire, the privacies and solitudes of the place advantageously 
ministering to divine contemplations. But Bethsaida was not so 
remarkable for this adjoining wilderness, as itself was memorable 
for a worse sort of barrenness, ingratitude and unprofitableness! 
under the influences of Christ's sermons and miracles, thence 
severely upbraided by him, and threatened with one of his 

* Joseph. Antiq. Jud. L viii c 3. 



deepest woes, b " Woe unto thee, Chorazin ; woe unto thee, Beth- 
saida," &c. A woe that it seems stuck close to it, for whatever 
it was at this time, one who surveyed it in the last age tells us, c 
that it was shrunk again into a very mean and small village, 
consisting only of a few cottages of Moors and wild Arabs ; and 
later travellers have since assured us, that even these are 
dwindled away into one poor cottage at this day. So fatally 
does sin undermine the greatest, the goodliest places; so cer- 
tainly does God's word take place, and not one iota, either of his 
promises or threatenings, fall to the ground. Next to the honour 
that was done it by our Saviour's presence, who living most in 
these parts, frequently resorted hither, it had nothing greater to 
recommend it to the notice of posterity, than that (besides some 
others of the apostles) it was the birth-place of St. Peter; a 
person how inconsiderable soever in his private fortunes, yet of 
great note and eminency as one of the prime ambassadors of 
the Son of God, to whom both sacred and ecclesiastical stories 
give, though not a superiority, a precedency in the college of 

II. The particular time of his birth cannot be recovered, no 
probable footsteps or intimations being left of it : in the general 
we may conclude him at least ten years elder than his master ; 
his married condition, and settled course of life at his first 
coming to Christ, and that authority and respect which the 
gravity of his person procured him amongst the rest of the 
apostles, can speak him no less : but for any thing more particular 
and positive in this matter, I see no reason to affirm. Indeed, 
might we trust the account which one (who pretends to cal- 
culate his nativity with ostentation enough) has given of it, we 
are told that he was born three years before the blessed Virgin, 
and just seventeen before the incarnation of our Saviour. But 
let us view his account. 11 

u L ab Orbe cond. ( 4034 ) ( Oct. August ( 8 ) ( Herodis Reg. ) 20 
J ^ \ a Diluvio \ 2378 \ Ann. < a 1° ejus consul. \ 24 [ Ann. < ante B. Virg. > a 
*|( V. C, ( 734 ) ( a pugna Actiac. ( 12 ) ( ante Cbr. nat ) 17 

When I met with such a pompous train of epochas, the least 
I expected was truth and certainty- This computation he 
grounds upon the date of St. Peters death, placed (as elsewhere 

b Matt xi. 21. * J. Cotovic, Itin. Hieros. 1. iii. c. 8, 

* Stengel, de S. Petru. c l t 

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he tells us') by Bellarmine in the eighty-sixth year of his age ; 
so that recounting from the year of Christ 69, when Peter is 
commonly said to have suffered, he runs up his age to his birth, 
and spreads it out into so many several dates. But, alas, all is 
built upon a sandy bottom. For besides his mistake about the 
year of the world, few of his dates hold due correspondence. 
But the worst of it is, that after all this, Bellarmine (upon whose 
single testimony all this fine fabric is erected) says no such 
thing,' but only supposes, merely for argument's sake, that St. 
Peter might very well be eighty-six (it is erroneously printed 
seventy-six) years old at the time of his martyrdom. So far 
will confidence or ignorance, or both, carry men aside, if it could 
be a mistake, and not rather a bold imposing upon the world. 
But of this enough, and perhaps more than it deserves. 

III. Being circumcised according to the rites of the Mosaic law, 
the name given him at his circumcision was Simon or Symeon, 
a name common amongst the Jews, especially in their latter 
times. This was afterwards by our Saviour not abolished, but 
additioned with the title of Cephas, which in Syriac (the vulgar 
language of the Jews at that time) signifying a stone or rock, 
was thence derived into the Greek, TLkrpos, and by us Peter : so 
far was Hesychius out, 8 when rendering nirpo? by 6 y E7n\va>v % 
an expounder or interpreter, probably deriving it from *W15), 
which signifies to explain and interpret. By this new imposition 
our Lord seemed to denote the firmness and constancy of his 
faith, and his vigorous activity in building up the church, as a 
44 spiritual house" upon the 44 true rock, the living and corner- 
stone, chosen of God, and precious," as St. Peter himself ex- 
presses it. h Nor can our Saviour be understood to have hereby 
conferred upon him any peculiar supremacy or sovereignty above, 
much less over, the rest of the apostles ; for in respect of the 
great trust committed to them, and their being sent to plant 
Christianity in the world, they are all equally styled 44 founda- 
tions:"* nor is it accountable either to scripture or reason to 
suppose, that by this name our Lord should design the person of 
Peter to be that very rock, upon which his church was to be 
built. In a fond imitation of this new name given to St. Peter, j 

• Stengel, de S. Petro. c. 49. f Bellarm, de Rom. Pontif. L ii. c 9. 

* Hesych. in toc. Tlerpos, h 1 Pet ii 4, 5, 6. » Rev. xxi. 14, 
j Pap. Maeson. de Episc Urb. in Serg. iv. foL 172. p. 2. ex AnnaL Vict 

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those who pretend to be his successors in the see of Borne, 
usually lay by their own, and assume a new name upon their 
advancement to the apostolic chair, it being one of the first 
questions which the cardinals put to the new-elected pope, k " by 
what name he will please to be called." This custom first began 
about the year 844, when Peter di Bocca-Porco (or Swine V 
mouth) being chosen pope, changed his name into Sergius the 
Second : probably not so much to avoid the uncomeliness of his 
own name, as if unbefitting the dignity of his place, (for this 
being but his paternal name would after have been no part of 
his pontifical style and title,) as out of a mighty reverence to 
St. Peter, accounting himself not worthy to bear his name, 
though it was his own baptismal name. Certain it is, that none 
of the bishops of that see ever assumed St. Peters name, and 
some who have had it as their Christian name before, have laid 
it aside upon their election to the papacy. But to return to our 

IV. His father was Jonah, probably a fisherman of Bethsaida, 
for the sacred story takes no further notice of him, than by the 
bare mention of his name; and I believe there had been no 
great danger of mistake, though Metaphrastes had not told us 1 
that it was not Jonas the prophet, who came out of the belly of 
the whale. Brother he was to St. Andrew the apostle, and 
some question there is amongst the ancients which was the elder 
brother. Epiphanius (probably from some tradition current in 
his time) clearly adjudges it to St. Andrew, m herein universally 
followed by those of the church of Home, that the precedency 
given to St. Peter may not seem to be put upon the account of 
his seniority. But to him we may oppose the authority of 
St. Chrysostom, 0 a person equal both in time and credit, who 
expressly says, that though Andrew came later into life than 
Peter, yet he first brought him to the knowledge of the gospel, 
which Baronius, against all pretence of reason, would understand 
of his entering into eternal life. Besides St. Hierom,° Cassian, p 
Bede, q and others, are for St. Peter being elder brother, ex- 

k Sac Cerem. Eccles. Rom. sect. 1. foL 18. 

1 Com. de Petr. et Paul, apud Sur. ad diem 29 Jun. m H acres, li. c 17. 

b germ, de S. Andr. quern recitat Metaphrast ap. Sur. seu potius, Lippoman. vol vl 
▼id. Baron, not ad Martyrol. Noremb. 30. p. 737. 
• Hieron. lib. i. adx. Jovin. voL iv. par. ii. p. 168. 

p Cassian. de Incarn. Dom. L in. e. 12. ? Bed. Comment, in tap. i. Joan. 

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pressly ascribing it to his age, that he, rather than any other, 
was president of the college of the apostles. However it was, 
it sounds not a little to the honour of their father, (as of Zebedee 
also in the like case,) that of but twelve apostles two of his sons 
were taken into the number. In his youth he was brought up 
to fishing", which we may guess^to have been the staple-trade of 
Bethsaida, (which hence, probably, borrowed its name, signifying 
an house or habitation of fishing, though others render it by 
hunting, the word ITT¥ equally being either,) much advantaged 
herein by the neighbourhood of the Lake of Gennesareth, (on 
whose banks it stood,) called also the Sea of Galilee, and the 
Sea of Tiberias, according to the mode of the Hebrew language, 
wherein all great confluences of waters are called seas. Of this 
lake the Jews have a saying/ that "of all the seven seas which 
God created, he made choice of none but the Sea of Gennesareth : 
which however intended by them, is true only in this respect, 
that our blessed Saviour made choice of it, to honour it with 
the frequency of his presence, and the power of his miraculous 
operations. In length it was an hundred furlongs, and about 
forty over; 8 the water of it pure and clear, sweet and most fit 
to drink ; stored it was with several sorts of fish, and those dif- 
ferent both in kind and taste from those in other places. Here 
it was that Peter closely followed the exercise of his calling ; 
from whence it seems he afterwards removed to Capernaum/ 
(probably upon his marriage, at least frequently resided there,) 
for there we meet with his house, and there we find him paying 
tribute: an house over which, Nicephorus tells us, u that Helen, 
the mother of Gonstantine, erected a beautiful church to the 
honour of St. Peter. This place was equally advantageous for 
the managery of his trade, standing upon the influx of Jordan 
into the Sea of Galilee, and where he might as well reap the 
fruits of an honest and industrious diligence. A mean, I con- 
fess, it was, and a more servile course of life, as which, besides 
the great pains and labour it required, exposed him to all the 
injuries of ^vind and weather, to the storms of the sea, the dark- 
ness and tempestuousness of the night, and all to make a very 
small return: an employment, whose restless troubles, constant 

r Midr. Tiffin. foL 41. ap. Light£ Cent Chorogiaph. in Matth. c. 70. p. 131. 

• Joseph, de BelL Jud. L iii. c. 35. 1 Matth. viii. 1 4. rrii. 24. 

■ Hiit Eccl. 1. viii. c. 30. 

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hardships, frequent dangers, and amazing horrors, are (for the 
satisfaction of the learned reader) thus elegantly described by 
one whose poems may be justly styled golden verses, receiving 
from the emperor Antoninus a piece of gold for every verse. x 

TXrjanrovot? 8' aXtevaiv aretcfiapTOi fiev ae0\oi, 
'E\ttU 8' ov (rraOeptj aalvet <f>peva$ fjir ovetpos, 
Ov yap aKwrjTov yalrj? virep aOXevovavv ' 

alel Kpvepcp re ical aa^era fiapyalvovrc 
"TSaTi av/A<f)opeovTai, b ical yalrjOev ISeaOai 
Aet^a <f>epei, teal /jlovvov vtt ofifiaat, ireipr\aaaQai. . 
Aovpaai V ev fiaiolaiv aeWdwv depairovres 
n\a£6fievoi, /cal Ovjjlov iv olB/JLaaiv alev l^orre?, 
Alel fiev ve<f>e\rjv iocSea irairralvovaLv ' 
Alel Tpofieovau fieXacvofievov irbpov aXfirj? ' 
OvSi ti <j>oiTa\ea)v avifjucov tricktra^ ovSe riv o/j,/3pa>v 
*A\kyiv ' ov 7rupo9 ak/cap oiraypLvolo <f>epovrai. 

But meanness is no bar in God^s way : the poor, if virtuous, are 
as dear to heaven as the wealthy and the honourable, equally 
alike to him, with whom " there is no respect of persons." Nay, 
our Lord seemed to cast a peculiar honour upon this profession, 
when afterwards calling him and some others of the same trade 
from catching of fish, to be (as he told them) " fishers of men." 

V. And here we may justly reflect upon the wise and ad- 
mirable methods of the Divine Providence, which, in planting 
and propagating the Christian religion in the world, made choice 
of such mean and unlikely instruments, that he should hide these 
things from the wise and prudent, and reveal them unto babes, 
men that had not been educated in the academy and the schools 
of learning, but brought up to a trade, to catch fish and mend 
nets ; most of the apostles being taken from the meanest trades, 
and all of them (St. Paul excepted) unfurnished of all arts of 
learning, and the advantages of liberal and ingenuous education : 
and yet these were the men that were designed to run down 
the world, and to overturn the learning of the prudent. . Certainly 
had human wisdom been to manage the business, it would have 
taken quite other measures, and chosen out the profoundest 
rabbins, the acutest philosophers, the smoothest orators; such 
as would have been most likely, by strength of reason and arts 

* Oppian. 'AAttvr. BiQ\. a\ non longe ab init. 

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of rhetoric, to have triumphed over the minds of men, to grapple 
with the stubbornness of the Jews, and baffle the finer notions 
and speculations of the Greeks. We find that those sects of 
philosophy that gained most credit in the heathen world, did it 
this way, by their eminency in some arts and sciences, whereby 
they recommended themselves to the acceptance of the wiser 
and more ingenious part of mankind. J ulian the Apostate thinks 
it a reasonable exception against the Jewish prophets/ that they 
were incompetent messengers and interpreters of the divine 
will, because they had not their minds cleared and purged, by 
passing through the circle of polite arts and learning. Why, 
now, this is the wonder of it, that the first preachers of the 
gospel should be such rude unlearned men, and yet so suddenly, 
so powerfully prevail over the learned world, and conquer so 
many, who had the greatest parts and abilities, and the strongest 
prejudices against it, to the simplicity of the gospel. When 
Celsus objected that the apostles were but a company of mean 
and illiterate persons, sorry mariners and fishermen, Origen 
quickly returns upon him with this answer: 8 "That hence it 
was plainly evident, that they taught Christianity by a divine 
power, when such persons were able, with such an uncontrolled 
success, to subdue men to the obedience of his word ; for that 
they had no eloquent tongues, no subtle and discursive head, none 
of the refined and rhetorical arts of Greece, to conquer the minds 
of men." " For my part, (says he, in another place, 8 ) 1 verily 
believe that the holy Jesus purposely made use of such preachers 
of his doctrine, that there might be no suspicion that they came 
instructed with arts of sophistry ; but that it might be clearly 
manifest to all the world, that there was no crafty design in it, 
and that they had a divine power going along with them,* which 
was more efficacious than the greatest volubility of expression, 
or ornaments of speech, or the artifices which were used in the 
Grecian compositions."" Had it not been for this divine power 
that upheld it, (as he elsewhere argues, b ) the Christian religion 
must needs have sunk under those weighty pressures that lay 
upon it ; having not only to contend with the potent opposition 
of the senate, emperors, people, and the whole power of the 
Soman empire, but to conflict with those homebred wants and 

y Fragm. Epist. vol. i. p. 541. * Contr. Cels. lib. i. s. 62. 

* Lib. Hi. s. 39. b Lib. i. 8. 3. 

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necessities, wherewith its own professors were oppressed and 

VI. It could not but greatly vindicate the apostles from all 
suspicion of forgery and imposture in the thoughts of sober and 
unbiassed persons, to see their doctrine readily entertained by 
men of the most discerning and inquisitive minds. Had they 
dealt only with the rude and the simple, the idiot and the un- 
learned, there might have been some pretence to suspect, that 
they lay in wait to deceive, and designed to impose upon the 
world by crafty and insinuative arts and methods. But, alas ! 
they had other persons to deal with ; men of the acutest wits 
and most profound abilities, the wisest philosophers, and most 
subtle disputants, able to weigh an argument with the greatest 
accuracy, and to decline the force of the strongest reasonings, 
and who had their parts edged with the keenest prejudices of 
education, and a mighty veneration for the religion of their 
country ; a religion that for so many ages had governed the world, 
and taken firm possession of the minds of men. And yet, not- 
withstanding all these disadvantages, these plain men conquered 
the wise and the learned, and brought them over to that doctrine 
that was despised and scorned, opposed and persecuted, and that 
had nothing but its own native excellency to recommend it : a 
clear evidence that there was something in it beyond the craft 
and power of men. " Is not this (says an elegant apologist, 6 
making his address to the heathens) enough to make you believe 
and entertain it, to consider that in so short a time it has dif- 
fused itself over the whole world, civilized the most barbarous 
nations, softened the roughest and most intractable tempers; that 
the greatest wits and scholars, orators, grammarians, rhetoricians, 
lawyers, physicians, and philosophers, have quitted their formerly 
dear and beloved sentiments, and heartily embraced the precepts 
and doctrines of the gospel V Upon this account Theodoret 
does with no less truth than elegancy insult and triumph over 
the heathens : d he tells them, that whoever would be at the pains 
to compare the best law-makers, either among the Greeks or 
Romans, with our fishermen and publicans, would soon perceive 
what a divine virtue and efficacy there was in them above all 
others, whereby they did not only conquer their neighbours, not 

c Arnob. adv. Gent lib. ii p. 21. 

d De CurancL Graec. Affect Serm. ix. de Leg. 



only the Greeks and Romans, but brought over the most barbarous 
nations to a compliance with the laws of the gospel ; and that, 
not by force of arms, not by numerous bands of soldiers, 8 not by 
methods of torture and cruelty, but by meek persuasives, and a 
convincing the world of the excellency and usefulness of those 
laws which they propounded to them : a thing which the wisest 
and best men of the heathen world could never do, to make their 
dogmata and institutions universally obtain; nay, that Plato 
himself could never, by all his plausible and insinuative arts, 
make his laws to be entertained by his own dear Athenians/ 
He farther shews them, g that the laws published by our fisher- 
men and tent-makers could never be abolished (like those made 
by the best amongst them) by the policies of Caius, the power 
of Claudius, the cruelties of Nero, or any of the succeeding em- 
perors ; but still they went on conquering and to conquer, and 
made millions, both of men and women, willing to embrace 
flames, and to encounter death in its most horrid shapes, rather 
than disown and forsake them: h whereof he calls to witness 
those many churches and monuments every where erected to the 
memory of Christian martyrs, no less to the honour than ad- 
vantage of those cities and countries, and in some sense to all 

VII. The sum of the discourse is, in the apostle's words, 1 that 
"God chose the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; 
the weak to confound those that are mighty ; the base things of 
the world, things most vilified and despised, yea, and things 
which are not, to bring to nought things that are.'" These were 
the things, these the persons, whom God sent upon this errand, 
to silence the " wise, the scribe, and the disputer of this world ; 
and to make foolish the wisdom of this world." k For though 
"the Jews required a sign, and the Greeks sought after wisdom, 
though the preaching a crucified Saviour was a scandal to the 
Jews, and foolishness to the (learned) Grecians, yet by this 
foolishness of preaching God was pleased to save them that be- 
lieved and in the event made it appear that " the foolishness 
of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God stronger 
than men." That so the honour of all might entirely redound 

« Dc Curand. Graec Affect Serai, ix. de Leg. p. 125. f Ibid. p. 128. 

* Ibid. p. 126. >» Ibid. p. 135. 

» 1 Cor. i. 27, 28. * 1 Cor. i 22, 28, 24. 

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to himself, so the apostle concludes, " that no flesh should glory 
in his presence, but that he that glorieth, should glory in the 


Peter, before his coming to Christ, a disciple, (probably) of John the Baptist. His first 
approaches to Christ Our Lord's communication with him. His return to his trade. 
Christ's entering into Peter's ship, and preaching to the people at the Sea of Galilee. 
The miraculous draught of fishes. Peter's great astonishment at this evidence of our 
Lord's divinity. His call to be a disciple. Christ's return to Capernaum, and healing 
Peter's mother-in-law. 

Though we find not whether Peter, hefore his coming to Christ, 
was engaged in any of the particular sects at this time in the 
Jewish church, yet it is greatly probahle, that he was one of the 
disciples of John the Baptist. For, first, it is certain that his 
brother Andrew was so, and we can hardly think these two 
brothers should draw contrary ways, or that he, who was so 
ready to bring his brother the early tidings of the Messiah, that 
the " Sun of righteousness " was already risen in those parts, 
should not be as solicitous to bring him under the discipline and 
influences of J ohn the Baptist, the day-star that went before him. 
Secondly* Peter's forwardness and curiosity at the first news of 
Christ's appearing, to come to him, and converse with him, shew 
that his expectations had been awakened, and some light in this 
matter conveyed to him by the preaching and ministry of John, 
who was " the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye 
1 the way of the Lord, make his paths straight," shewing them 
who it was that was coming after him. 

II. His first acquaintance with Christ commenced in this 
manner. The blessed Jesus having for thirty years passed 
through the solitudes of a private life, had lately been baptized 
in Jordan* and there publicly owned to be the Son of God, 
by the most solemn attestations that heaven could give him ; 

1 Isti primi vocati sunt, ut Doroinum sequerentur : piscatores et illiterati mittuntur 
ad praedicandum, ne fides credentium non virtute Dei, sed eloquentia atque doctrina fieri 
putarentur. Hieron. comm. in Matt c. iv. 






whereupon he was immediately hurried into the wilderness to a 
personal contest with the devil for forty days together. So na- 
tural is it to the enemy of mankind to malign our happiness, 
and to seek to blast our joys, when we are under the highest in- 
stances of the divine grace and favour. His enemy being con- 
quered in three set battles, and fled, he returned hence, and 
came down to Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was bap- 
tizing his proselytes, and endeavouring to satisfy the Jews, who 
had sent to him curiously to inquire concerning this new Messiah 
that appeared among them. Upon the great testimony which 
the Baptist gave him, and his pointing to our Lord then passing 
by him,* two of John's disciples, who were then with him, pre- 
sently followed after Christ, one of which was Andrew, Simon's 
brother. It was towards evening when they came, and there- 
fore, probably, they stayed with him all night, during which 
Andrew had opportunity to inform himself, and to satisfy his 
most scrupulous inquiries. Early the next morning (if not that 
very evening) he hastened to acquaint his brother Simon with 
these glad tidings. It is not enough to be good and happy 
alone ; religion is a communicative principle, that, like the circles 
in the water, delights to multiply itself, and to diffuse its in- 
fluences round about it, and especially upon those whom nature 
has placed nearest to us. b He tells him, they had found the 
long-looked-for Messiah, him whom Moses and the prophets had 
so signally foretold, and whom all the devout and pious of that 
nation had so long expected. 

III. Simon, (one of those who "looked for the kingdom of 
God," and " waited for the redemption of Israel,") ravished with 
this joyful news, and impatient of delay, presently follows his 
brother to the place : whither he was no sooner come, but our 
Lord, to give him an evidence of his divinity, 0 salutes him at 
first sight by name, tells him what and who he was both as to 
his name and kindred, what title should be given him, that he 
should be called Cephas, or Peter ; a name which he afterwards 
actually conferred upon him. What passed farther between 
them, and whether these two brothers henceforward personally 
attended our Saviour's motions in the number of his disciples, 

» John i. 37. 

b Vid. Comm. dc S. Andr. in Menais Grsecor. fifity. A'. Noefipp. sub. lit V. 
« John i. 42. 


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the sacred story leaves us in the dark. It seems probable, that 
they stayed with him for some time, till they were instructed 
in the first rudiments of his doctrine, and by his leave departed 
home. For it is reasonable to suppose, that our Lord being un- 
willing, at this time especially, to awaken the jealousies of the 
state by a numerous retinue, might dismiss his disciples for some 
time, and Peter and Andrew amongst the rest, who hereupon 
returned home to the exercise of their calling, where he found 
them afterwards. 

IV. It was now somewhat more than a year since our Lord, 
having entered upon the public stage of action, constantly 
"went about doing 7 good, healing the sick, and preaching the 
gospel of the kingdom," 11 residing usually at Capernaum, and the 
parts about it ; where, by the constancy of his preaching and 
the reputation of his miracles, his fame spread about all those 
countries, by means whereof multitudes of people from all parts 
flocked to him, greedily desirous to become his auditors. And 
what wonder if the parched and barren earth thirsted for the 
showers of heaven ? It happened that our Lord retiring out of 
the city, to enjoy the privacies of contemplation upon the banks 
of the Sea of Galilee, it was not long before the multitude found 
him out ; to avoid the crowd and press whereof he stepped into a 
ship, or fisher-boat,° that lay near to the shore, which belonged 
to Peter, who together with his companions, after a tedious and 
unsuccessful night, were gone ashore to wash and dry their nets. 
He, who might have commanded, was yet pleased to entreat 
Peter (who by this time was returned into his ship) to put a 
little from the shore. Here being sat, he taught the people, 
who stood along upon the shore to hear him. Sermon ended, 
he resolved to seal up his doctrine with a miracle, that the 
people.might be the more effectually convinced, that "he was a 
teacher come from God." To this purpose, he bade Simon 
launch out farther, and cast his net into the sea: Simon tells 
hjm, they had done it already; that they had been fishing all the 
last night, but in vain ; and if they could not succeed then, (the 
most proper season for that employment,) there was less hope to 
speed now, it being probably about noon. But because where 
God commands, it is not for any to argue, but obey; at our 
Lord's instance he let down the net, which immediately inclosed 

n Matth. iv. 23. 

° Luke v. I. 



so great a multitude of fishes, that the net began to break, and 
they were forced to call to their partners, who were in a ship 
hard by them, to come in to their assistance. A draught so 
great, that it loaded both their boats, and that so fall, that it 
endangered their sinking before they could get safe to shore: 
an instance wherein our Saviour gave an ocular demonstration 
that, as Messiah, God had " put all things under his feet, not 
only fowls of the air, bat the fish of the sea, and whatsoever 
passed through the paths of the seas." p 

V. Amazed they were all at this miraculous draught of fishes, 
whereupon Simon, in an ecstacy of admiration, and a mixture of 
humility and fear, threw himself at the feet of Christ, and 
prayed him to depart from him, as a vile and a sinful person. 
So evident were the appearances of divinity in this miracle, that 
he was overpowered and dazzled with its brightness and lustre, 
and reflecting upon himself, could not but think himself un- 
worthy the presence of so great a person, so immediately sent 
from God; and considering his own state, (conscience being 
hereby more sensibly awakened,) was afraid that the divine 
vengeance might pursue and overtake him. But our Lord, to 
abate the edge of his fears, assures him that this miracle was 
not done to amaze and terrify him, but to strengthen and con- 
firm his faith ; that now he had nobler work and employment 
for him; instead of "catching fish,"" he should, by persuading 
men to the obedience of the gospel, " catch the souls of men 
and accordingly commanded him and his brother to follow him, 
(the same command which presently after he gave to the two 
sons of Zebedee.) The word was no sooner spoken, and they 
landed, but disposing their concerns in the hands of friends, (as 
we may presume prudent and reasonable men would,) they im- 
mediately left all, and followed him ; and from this time Peter 
and the rest became his constant and inseparable disciples, living 
under the rules of his discipline and institutions. 

VI. From hence they returned to Capernaum, where our 
Lord entering into Simon's house (the place, in all likelihood, 
where he was wont to lodge during his residence in that city,) 
found his mother-in-law visited with a violent fever. q No privi- 
leges afford an exemption from the ordinary laws of human 
nature; Christ, under her. roof, did not protect this woman from 

P Ps. viii. 6, 7, 8. 1 Matt viii. 14. Mark I 29. Luke iv. 38. John xi. 3. 


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the assaults and invasions of a fever. " Lord, behold, he whom 
thou lovest is sick," as they said concerning Lazarus. Here a 
fresh opportunity offered itself to Christ of exerting his divine 
power. No sooner was he told of it, but he came to her bed- 
side, rebuked the paroxisms, commanded the fever to be gone, 
and, taking her by the hand to lift her up, in a moment restored 
her to perfect health, and ability to return to the business of her 
family, all cures being equally easy to Omnipotence. 


Tlie election of the apostles ; and our Lord's solemn preparation for it The powers and 
commission given to them. Why twelve chosen. Peter the first in order, not power. 
The apostles, when and by whom baptized. The tradition of Euodius, of Peter's being 
immediately baptized by Christ, rejected, and its authorities proved insufficient. 
Three of the apostles more intimately conversant with our Saviour. Peter's being 
with Christ at the raising Jairus's daughter. His walking with Christ upon the sea. 
The creatures at God's command act contrary to their natural inclinations. The 
weakness of Peter's faith. Christ's power in commanding down the storm, an evidence 
of his divinity. Many disciples desert our Saviour's preaching. Peter's profession of 
constancy in the name of the rest of the apostles. 

Our Lord being now to elect some peculiar persons, as his im- 
mediate vicegerents upon earth, to whose care and trust he 
might commit the building up of his church, and the planting 
that religion in the world for which he himself came down from 
heaven ; in order to it he privately over-night withdrew himself 
into a solitary mountain/ (commonly called "the mount of 
Christ," from his frequent repairing thither, though some of the 
ancients will have it to be mount Tabor,) there to make his so- 
lemn address to heaven for a prosperous success on so great a 
work. Hereim leaving an excellent copy and precedent to the 
governors of his church, how to proceed in setting apart persons 
to so weighty and difficult an employment. Upon this mountain 
we may conceive there was an oratory, or place of prayer, (pro- 
bably intimated by St. Luke's f] irpoaevj(ri^ such proseuchas, 
or houses of prayer, usually uncovered, and standing in the fields, 

r Luke *L 12. 





the Jews had in several places,) wherein our Lord continued all 
night, not in one continued and entire act of devotion, but pro- 
bably by intervals and repeated returns of duty. 

II. Early the next morning his disciples came to him, out of 
whom he made choice of twelve to be his apostles, 8 that they 
might be the constant attendants upon his person, to hear, his 
discourses, and be eyewitnesses of his miracles ; to be always 
conversant with him while he was upon earth, and afterwards 
to be sent abroad up and down the world, to carry on that work 
which he himself had begun ; whom therefore he invested with 
the power of working miracles, which was more completely con- 
ferred upon them after his ascension into heaven. Passing by 
the seveTal fancies and conjectures of the ancients, why our 
Saviour pitched upon the just number of twelve, (whereof be- 
fore,) it may deserve to be considered, whether our Lord being 
now to appoint the supreme officers and governors of his church, 
which the apostle styles, the "commonwealth of Israel,"' might 
not herein have a more peculiar allusion to the twelve patriarchs, 
as founders of their several tribes, or to the constant heads and 
rulers of those twelve tribes of which the body of the Jewish 
nation did consist : especially since he himself seems elsewhere 
to give countenance to it, when he tells the apostles, that " when 
the Son of man shall sit on the throne of his glory," that is, be 
gone back to heaven, and have taken full possession of his evan- 
gelical kingdom, which principally commenced from his resur- 
rection, that then " they also should sit upon twelve thrones, 
judging the twelve tribes of Israel," that is, they should have 
great powers and authorities in the church, such as the power of 
the keys, and other rights of spiritual judicature and sovereignty, 
answerable in some proportion to the power and dignity which 
the heads and rulers of the twelve tribes of Israel did enjoy. 

III. In the enumeration of these twelve apostles, all the 
evangelists constantly place St. Peter in the front ; and St. 
Matthew expressly tells us, x that he was the first, that is, he was 
the first that was called to be an apostle : his age also, and the 
gravity of his person, more particularly qualifying him for a pri- 
macy of order amongst the rest of the apostles, as that without 
which no society of men can be managed or maintained. Less 

• Matt x. 1. Mark iii. 14. Luke ri. 13. 4 Ephet. ii. 12. 

u Matt. xix. 28. * Matt x. 2. 

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than this, as none will deny him, so more than this, neither 
scripture nor primitive antiquity do allow him. And now it was 
that our Lord actually conferred that name upon him, which 
before he had promised him; ** Simon he surnamed Peter." y It 
may here be inquired, when and by whom the apostles were 
baptized. That they were is unquestionable, being themselves 
appointed to confer it upon others; but when, or how, the 
scripture is altogether silent. Nicephorus, 1 from no worse an 
author, as he pretends, than Euodius, St. Peter's immediate 
successor in the see of Antioch, tells us, that of all the apostles 
Christ baptized none but Peter with his own hands ; that Peter 
baptized Andrew and the two sons of Zebedee, and they the 
rest of the apostles. This, if so, would greatly make for the 
honour of St. Peter ; but, alas, his authority is not only sus- 
picious, but supposititious, in a manner deserted by St. Peters 
best friends, and the strongest champions of his cause ; Baronius 
himself, however sometimes willing to make use of him, a else- 
where confessing, 5 that this epistle of Euodius is altogether un- 
known to any of the ancients. As for the testimony of Clemens j 
Alexandrinus, which to the same purpose he quotes out of 
Sophronius, c (though not Sophronius, but Johannes Moschus, as 
is notoriously known, is the author of that book,) besides that 
it is delivered upon an uncertain report, pretended to have been 
alleged in a discourse between one Dionysius, bishop of Ascalon, 
and his clergy, out of a book of Clemens, not now extant ; his 
authors are much alike, that is, of no great value and authority. 

IV. Amongst these apostles our Lord chose a triumvirate, 
Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, to be his more intimate 
companions, whom he admitted more familiarly than the rest 
unto all the more secret passages and transactions of his life ; 
the first instance of which was on this occasion : d Jairus, a ruler 
of the synagogue, had a daughter desperately sick, whose 
disease having baffled all the arts of physic, was only curable 
by the immediate agency of the God of nature. He there- 
fore, in all humility, addresses himself to our Saviour; which 
he had no sooner done, but servants came post to tell him, that 

y Mark iii. H>. • 2 Hist Eccl. 1. ii. c. 3. 

a Ad Ann. 31. num. 40. b Ad Ann. 71. num. 13. 

c Vid. Jos. Moschi Prat. Spir. cap. 176. BibL patr. Gr. Lat. vol. ii. p. 1 133. ed. 1624. 
J Mark v. '2'2. 


it was in vain to trouble our Lord, for that his daughter was 
dead. Christ bids him not despond ; if his faith held out, there 
was no danger: and suffering none to follow him but Peter, 
James, and John, goes along with him to the house, where he 
was derided by the sorrowful friends and neighbours, for telling 
them that she was not perfectly dead : but our Lord entering 
in, with the commanding efficacy of two words, restored her at 
once both to life and perfect health. 

V. Our Lord after this preached many sermons, and wrought 
many miracles ; amongst which, none more remarkable than his 
feeding a multitude of five thousand men, e besides women and 
children, with but five loaves and two fishes ; of which, never- 
theless, twelve baskets of fragments were taken up : which being 
done, and the multitude dismissed, he commanded the apostles 
to take ship, it being now near night, and to cross over to 
Capernaum, whilst he himself, as his* manner was, retired to a 
neighbouring mountain to dispose himself to prayer and con- 
templation. The apostles were scarce got into the middle of the 
sea, when on a sudden a violent storm and tempest began to 
arise, whereby they were brought into present danger of their 
lives. Our Saviour, who knew how the case stood with them, 
and how much they laboured under infinite pains and fears, 
having himself caused this tempest for the greater trial of their 
faith, a little before morning (for so long they remained in this 
imminent danger) immediately conveyed himself upon the sea, 
where the waves received him, being proud to carry their master. 
He who refused to gratify the devil, when tempting him to 
throw himself down from the pinnacle of the temple, did here 
commit himself to a boisterous and unstable element, and that 
in a violent storm, walking upon the water as if it had been dry 
ground. But that infinite power that made and supports the 
world, as it gave rules to all particular beings, so can, when it 
pleaseth, countermand the laws of their creation, &nd make them 
act contrary to their natural inclinations. If Ood say the word, 
the sun will stand still in the middle of the heavens ; if, Go back, 
it will retrocede, as upon the dial of Ahaz : if he command it, 
the heavens will become as brass, and the earth as iron, and that 
for three years and a half together, as in the case of Elijah's 
prayer; if he say to the sea, Divide, it will run upon heaps, and 

« Matt. xiv. 17. 

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become on both sides as firm as a wall of marble. Nothing can 
be more natural than for the fire to burn, and yet at God's com- 
mand it will forget its nature, and become a screen and a fence 
to the three children in the Babylonian furnace. What heavier 
than iron, or more natural than for gravity to tend downwards ! 
and yet, when God will have it, iron shall float like cork on the 
top of the water. The proud and raging sea, that naturally 
refuses to bear the bodies of men while alive, became here as 
firm as brass when commanded to wait upon and do homage to 
the God of nature. Our Lord walking towards the ship, as if 
he had an intention to pass by it, was espied by them, who 
presently thought it to be the apparition of a spirit. Hereupon 
they were seized with great terror and consternation, and their 
fears, in all likelihood, heightened by the vulgar opinion, that 
they are evil spirits that choose rather to appear in the night 
than by day. While they were in this agony, our Lord, taking 
compassion on them, calls to them, and bids them not be afraid, 
for that it was no other than he himself. Peter (the eagerness 
of whose temper carried him forward to all bold and resolute 
undertakings) entreated our Lord, that if it was he, he might 
have leave to come upon the water to him. Having received 
his orders, he went out of the ship, and walked upon the sea to 
meet his master; but when he found the wind to bear hard 
against him, and the waves to rise round about him, whereby, 
probably, the sight of Christ was intercepted, he began to be 
afraid ; and the higher his fears arose, the lower his faith began 
to sink, and, together with that, his body began to sink under 
water : whereupon, in a passionate fright, he cried out to our 
Lord to help him, who, reaching out his arm, took him by the 
hand, and set him again upon the top of the water, with this 
gentle reproof, "0 thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou 
doubt 2" it being the weakness of our faith that makes the in- 
fluences of the divine power and goodness to have no better 
effect upon us. Being come to the ship, they took them in, 
where our Lord no sooner arrived, but the winds and waves, 
observing their duty to their sovereign Lord, and having done 
the errand which they came upon, mannerly departed, and 
vanished away, and the ship in an instant was at the shore. 
All that were in the ship being strangely astonished at this 
miracle, and fully convinced of the divinity of his person, came 

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and did homage to him, with this confession, " Of a truth thou 
art the Son of God :* after which they went ashore, and landed 
in the country of Gennesareth, and there more fully acknow- 
ledged him before all the people. 

VI. The next day, great multitudes flocking after him, he 
entered into a synagogue at Capernaum,' and taking occasion 
from the late miracle of the loaves, which he had wrought 
amongst them, he began to discourse concerning himself as the 
" true manna, 1 ' and the " bread that came down from heaven 
largely opening to them many of the more *sublime and spiritual 
mysteries, and the necessary and important duties of the gospel. 
Hereupon a great part of his auditory, who had hitherto followed 
him, finding their understandings gravelled with these difficult 
and uncommon notions, and that the duties he required were 
likely to grate hard upon^them, and perceiving now that he was 
not the Messiah they took him for, whose kingdom should con- 
sist in an external grandeur and plenty, but was to be managed 
and transacted in a more inward and spiritual way, hereupon 
fairly left him in open field, and henceforth quite turned their 
backs upon him. Whereupon our Lord, turning about to his 
apostles, asked them, whether " they also would go away from 
him r Peter (spokesman generally for all the rest) answered, 
Whither should they go to mend and better their condition! 
should they return back to Moses ? Alas ! he " laid a yoke upon 
them, which neither they nor their fathers were able to bear.'" 
Should they go to the Scribes and Pharisees ? they would feed 
them with stones instead of bread, obtrude human traditions 
upon them for divine dictates and commands. Should they be- 
take themselves to the philosophers amongst the Gentiles? they 
were miserably blind and short-sighted in their notions of things, 
and their sentiments and opinions not only different from, but 
contrary to one another. No, it was " he only had the words of 
eternal life, 11 whose doctrine could instruct them in the plain way 
to heaven ; that they had fully assented to what both John and 
he had said concerning himself; that they were fully persuaded, 
both from the efficacy of his sermons, which they had heard, and 
the powerful conviction of his miracles, which they had seen, that 
he was " the Son of the living God, 11 the true Messiah and Saviour 
of the world. But notwithstanding this fair and plausible testi- 

John vi. 24. 



mooy, he tells them, that they were not all of this mind ; that 
there was a Satan amongst them, one that was moved by the 
spirit and impulse, and that acted according to the rules and 
interest of the devil ; intimating J udas who should betray him. 
So hard is it to meet with a body of so just and pure a consti- 
tution, wherein some rotten member or distempered part is not 
to be found. 



Our Saviour's journey with his apostles to Caesarea. The opinions of the people con- 
cerning him. Peter's eminent confession of Christ, and our Lord's great commen- 
dation of it " Thou art Peter, and upon this rock," &c The keys of the- kingdom 
of heaven, how given. The advantage the church of Rome makes of these passages. 
This confession made by Peter in the name of the rest, and by others before him. No 
personal privilege intended to St Peter : the same things elsewhere promised to the 
other apostles. Our Lord's discourse concerning his passion. Peter's unseasonable 
zeal in dissuading him from it, and our Lord's severe rebuking him. Christ's trans- 
figuration, and the glory of it : Peter, how affected with it Peter's paying tribute for 
Christ and himself! This tribute, what Our Saviour's discourse upon it Offending 
brethren, how oft to be forgiven. The young man commanded to sell all. What 
compensation made to the followers of Christ Our Lord's triumphant entrance into 
Jerusalem. Preparation made to keep the passover. 

It was some time since our Saviour had kept his third passover 
at Jerusalem, when he directed his journey towards Caesarea 
Philippi ; * where, by the way, having like a careful master of his 
family first prayed with his apostles, he began to ask them 
(having been more than two years publicly conversant amongst 
them) what the world thought concerning him 2 They answered, 
that the opinions of men about him were various and different ; 
that some took him for John the Baptist, lately risen from the 
dead, between whose doctrine, discipline, and way of life, in the 
main, there was so great a correspondence. That others thought 
be was Elias ; probably judging so from the gravity of his person, 
freedom of his preaching, the fame and reputation of his miracles, 
especially since the scriptures assured them he was not dead, but 
taken up into heaven; and had so expressly foretold that he 

« Mark viii. 27. Matt xvi. 21. Luke ix. 18. 

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should return back again. That others looked upon him as the 
prophet Jeremiah alive again, of whose return the Jews had 
great expectations, insomuch that some of them thought the soul 
of Jeremiah was reinspired into Zacharias. Or if not thus, at 
least that he was one of the more eminent of the ancient pro- 
phets, or that the souls of some of these persons had been breathed 
into him ; the doctrine of the fierefiyfrv^eoaL^ or " transmigration 
of souls," first broached and propagated by Pythagoras, being at 
this time current amongst the Jews, and owned by the Pharisees 
as one of their prime notions and principles. 

II. This account not sufficing, our Lord comes closer and 
nearer to them; tells them, it was no wonder if the common people 
were divided into these wild thoughts concerning him ; but since 
they had been always with him, had been hearers of his sermons, 
and spectators of his miracles, he inquired, what they themselves 
thought of him ? Peter, ever forward to return an answer, and 
therefore by the fathers frequently styled, 46 the mouth of the 
apostles," h told him, in the name of the rest, that he was the 
Messiah, " the Son of the living God," promised of old in the law 
and the prophets, heartily desired and looked for by all good 
men, anointed and set apart by God to be the King, Priest, and 
Prophet of his people. To this excellent and comprehensive con- 
fession of St. Peter's, our Lord returns this great eulogy and 
commendation : u Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jonah, flesh and 
blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in 
heaven." That is, this faith which thou hast now confessed, is 
not human, contrived by man's wit, or built upon his testimony, 
but upon those notions and principles which I was sent by God 
to reveal to the world, and those mighty and solemn attestations 
which he has given from heaven to the truth both of my person 
and my doctrine. And because thou hast so freely made this 
confession, therefore " I also say unto thee, that thou art Peter, 
and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell 
shall not prevail against it." That is, that as thy name signifies 
a stone or rock, such shalt thou thyself be ; firm, solid, and im- 
movable, in building of the church, which shall be so orderly 
erected by thy care and diligence, and so firmly founded upon 

h Tb ffT6fia twv h.iroirr6\<av 6 Tl&pos, 6 xavraxov depths, 6 rod x°P°v T « y faro<rr6\(av 
Kopwf>aios, irimwv ipccTrjOeuTuu, afobs faroKplutrai. Cbrysost in Matt. Horn. liv. (aL 
lv.) s. 1. vol vii. p. 54b". 

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that faith which thou hast now confessed, that all the assaults 
and attempts which the powers of hell can make against it, shall 
not be able to overturn it. Moreover, " I will give unto thee the 
keys of the kingdom of heaven ; and whatsoever thou shalt bind 
on earth, shall be bound in heaven ; and whatsoever thou shalt 
loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven." That is, thou shalt 
have that spiritual authority and power within the church, 
whereby, as with keys, thou shalt be able to shut and lock out 
obstinate and impenitent sinners, and upon their repentance to 
unlock the door, and take them in again : and what thou shalt 
thus regularly do, shall be owned in the court above, and ratified 
by God in heaven. 

III. Upon these several passages, the champions of the 
church of Rome mainly build the unlimited supremacy and 
infallibility of the bishops of that see ; with how much truth, 
and how little reason, it is not my present purpose to discuss. 
It may suffice here to remark, that though this place does very 
much tend to exalt the honour of St. Peter, yet is there nothing 
herein personal and peculiar to him alone, as distinct from, and 
preferred above the rest of the apostles. Does he here make 
confession of Christ's being " the Son of God ?" Yet, besides 
that herein he spake but the sense of all the rest, this was no 
more than what others had said as well as he, yea, before he 
was so much as called to be a disciple. Thus Nathanael, at his 
first coming to Christ, expressly told him, " Rabbi, thou art the 
Son of God, thou art the King of Israel." 1 Does our Lord here 
style him a "rock?" All the apostles are elsewhere equally- 
called " foundations," yea, said to be the " twelve foundations 
upon which the wall of the new Jerusalem," that is, the 
evangelical church, is erected ; k and sometimes others of them 
besides Peter are called " pillars," as they have relation to the 
church already built. Does Christ here promise the " keys " to 
Peter? that is, power of governing, and of exercising church- 
censures, and of absolving penitent sinners ? The very same is 
elsewhere promised to all the apostles, and almost in the very- 
same terms and words. "If thine offending brother prove 
obstinate, tell it unto the church : but if he neglect to hear the 
church, let him be unto thee an heathen and a publican. Verily 
I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be 

8 John i. 49. k Rev. xxi. 14. Eph. ii. 20. Gal. ii. 9. 

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bound in heaven ; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall 
be loosed in heaven." 1 And elsewhere, when ready to leave 
the world, he tells them, " As my Father hath sent me, even so 
send I you : whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto 
them ; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained." m By 
all which it is evident, that our Lord did not here give any 
personal prerogative to St. Peter, as universal pastor and head 
of the Christian church, much less to those who were to be his 
successors in the see of Rome ; but that as he made his confes- 
sion in the name of the rest of the apostles, so what was here 
promised unto him, was equally intended unto all. Nor did the 
more considering and judicious part of the fathers (however 
giving a mighty reverence to St. Peter) ever understand it in 
any other sense. Sure I am that Origen tells us, n that every 
true Christian that makes this confession with the same spirit 
and integrity which St. Peter did, shall have the same blessing 
and commendation from Christ conferred upon him. 

IV. The Holy Jesus, knowing the time of his passion to 
draw on, began to prepare the minds of his apostles against 
that fatal hour ; 0 telling them what hard and bitter things he 
should suffer at Jerusalem, what affronts and indignities he must 
underg-o, and be at last put to death with all the arts of torture 
and disgrace, by the decree of the Jewish Sanhedrim. Peter, 
whom our Lord had infinitely encouraged and endeared to him, 
by the great things which he had lately said concerning him, so 
that his spirits were now afloat, and his passions ready to over- 
run the banks, not able to endure a thought that so much evil 
should befall his master, broke out into an over-confident and 
unseasonable interruption of him : " He took him, and began to 
rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord, this shall not be 
unto thee" Besides his great kindness and affection to his 
Master, the minds of the apostles were not yet throughly purged 
from the hopes and expectations of a glorious reign of the 
Messiah, so that Peter could not but look upon these sufferings 
as unbecoming and inconsistent with the state and dignity of 
the Son of God; and therefore thought good to advise his 
Lord, to take care of himself, and, while there was time, to pre- 
vent and avoid them. This, our Lord, who valued the re- 

1 Matt xviii. 17, 18. m John xx. 21—23. 

■ Comment, in loc. ° Matt. xri. 21. Mark viii, 31. Luke ix. 22. - 



demption of mankind infinitely before his own ease and safety, 
resented at so high a rate, that he returned upon him with this 
tart and stinging reproof, " Get thee behind me, Satan the 
very same treatment which he gave once to the devil himself, 
when he made that insolent proposal to him, " to fall down and 
worship him p though in Satan it was the result of pure 
malice and hatred ; in Peter, only an error of love and great 
regard. However, our Lord could not but look upon it as a 
mischievous and diabolical counsel, prompted and promoted by 
the great adversary of mankind. Away therefore, says Christ, 
with thy hellish and pernicious counsel, "thou art an offence 
unto me; 11 in seeking to oppose and undermine that great 
design, for which I purposely came down from heaven: in this 
" thou savourest not the things 4 of God, but those that be of 
men," in suggesting to me those little shifts and arts of safety 
and self-preservation which hutnan prudence, and the love of 
men's own selves, are wont to dictate to them : by which, though 
we may learn Peter's mighty kindness to our Saviour, yet that 
herein he did not take his measures right ; a plain evidence that 
his infallibility had not yet taken place. 

V. About a week after this, q our Saviour being to receive a 
type and specimen of his future glorification, took with him his 
three more intimate apostles, Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, 
and went up into a very high mountain, which the ancients ge- 
nerally conceive to have been mount Tabor, a round and very 
high mountain, situate in the plains of Galilee. And now was 
even literally fulfilled what the Psalmist had spoken, " Tabor 
and Hermon shall rejoice in thy name r for what greater joy 
and triumph, than to be peculiarly chosen to be the holy mount, 
whereon our Lord in so eminent a manner " received from God 
the Father honour and glory," and made such magnificent dis- 
plays of his divine power and majesty ? For while they were 
here earnestly employed in prayer, (as seldom did our Lord 
enter upon any eminent action but he first made his addres^ to 
heaven,) he was suddenly transformed into another manner of 
appearance ; such a lustre and radiancy darted from his face, 
that the sun itself shines not brighter at noon-day ; such beams 
of light reflected from his garments, as outdid the light itself 
that was round about them, so exceeding pure and white, that 
p Luke iv. 8. i Matt, xvii 1. Mark ix, % Luke ix. 28. ' Ps. lxxxix. 12. 



the snow might blush to compare with it ; nor could the fuller's 
art purify any thing into half that whiteness ; an evident and 
sensible representation of the glory of that state, wherein the 
"just shall walk in white, and shine as the sun in the kingdom 
of the Father." During this heavenly scene, there appeared 
Moses and Elias, (who, as the Jews say, shall come together,) 
clothed with all the brightness and majesty of a glorified state, 
familiarly conversing with him, and discoursing of the death 
and sufferings which he was shortly to undergo, and his de- 
parture into heaven. Behold here together the three greatest 
persons that ever were the ministers of heaven : Moses, under 
God, the institutor and promulgator of the law; Elias, the 
great reformer of it, when under its deepest degeneracy and 
corruption ; and the blessed Jesus, the Son of God, who came 
to take away what was weak and imperfect, and to introduce a 
more manly and rational institution, and to communicate the 
last revelation which God would make of his mind to the world. 
Peter and the two apostles that were with him, were in the 
mean time fallen asleep, heavy through want of natural rest, (it 
being probably night when this was done,) or else overpowered 
with these extraordinary appearances, which the frailty and 
weakness of their present state could not bear, were fallen into 
a trance: but now awaking, were strangely surprised to behold 
our Lord surrounded with so much glory, and those two great 
persons conversing with him ; knowing who they were, probably, 
by some particular marks and signatures that were upon them, 
or else by immediate revelation, or from the discourse which 
passed betwixt Christ and them, or possibly from some commu- 
nication which they themselves might have with them. While 
these heavenly guests were about to depart, Peter, in a great 
rapture and ecstacy of mind, addressed himself to our Saviour, 
telling him how infinitely they were pleased and delighted with 
their being there ; and to that purpose desiring his leave, that 
they might erect three tabernacles, one for Him, one for Moses, 
and one for Elias. While he was thus saying, a bright cloud sud- 
denly overshadowed the two great ministers, and wrapped them 
up ; out of which came a voice, " This is my beloved Son, in 
whom I am well pleased, hear ye him which when the apostles 
heard, and saw the cloud coming over themselves, they were 
seized with a great consternation, and fell upon their faces to 



the ground, whom our Lord gently touched, bade them arise, and 
disband their fears : whereupon looking up, they saw none but 
their Master, the rest having vanished and disappeared. In me- 
mory of these great transactions, Bede tells us,* that in pursuance 
of St. Peter's petition about the three tabernacles, there were 
afterwards three churches built upon the top of this mountain, 
which in after-times were had in great veneration, which might 
possibly give some foundation to that report which one makes,* 
that in his time there were shewed the ruins of those three ta- 
bernacles which were built according to St. Peter's desire. 

VI. After this, our Lord and his apostles, having travelled 
through Galilee, the gatherers of the tribute-money came to 
Peter, and asked him, u whether his master was not obliged to 
pay the tribute which God, under the Mosaic law, commanded 
to be yearly paid by every Jew above twenty years old, to 
the use of the temple, which so continued to the times of 
Vespasian, under whom the temple being destroyed, it was by 
him transferred to the use of the capitol at Rome, being to the 
value of half a shekel, or fifteen pence of our money. To this 
question of theirs, Peter positively answers, Yes ; knowing his 
Master would never be backward, either to u give unto Caesar 
the things that are Caesar's, or to God the things that are 
God's." Peter going into the house to give an account to his 
Master, and to know his mind concerning it, Christ prevented 
him with this question, " What thinkest thou, Simon, of whom 
do earthly kings exact tribute," of their own children and 
family, or from other people ! Peter answered, Not from their 
own servants and family, but from strangers. To which our 
Lord presently replied, that then, according to his own argument 
and opinion, both he himself, as being the Son of God, and they 
whom he had taken to be his menial and domestic servants, were 
free from this tax of head-money, yearly to be paid to God. 
But rather than give offence, by seeming to despise the temple, 
and to undervalue that authority that had settled this tribute, 
he resolves to put himself to the expense and charges of a 
miracle, and therefore commanded Peter to go to the sea, and 
take up the first fish which came to his hook, in whose mouth he 

• De Loc. Sanct c. 17. 

1 Bern, a Bridenb. Itiner. Terrae Sanct Vid. J. Cotovic. Itm. 1. iii. c. 7. 
■ Matt, xrii 24. 



should find a piece of money, (a stater, in value a shekel, or half 
a crown,) which he took, and gave to the collectors, both for his 
master and himself. 

VII. Our Lord, after this, discoursing to them, how to carry 
themselves towards their offending brethren, Peter, x being de- 
sirous to be more particularly informed in this matter, asked our 
Saviour, how oft a man was obliged to forgive his brother, iii 
case of offence and trespass, whether seven times was not enough? 
He told him, that upon his neighbour's repentance, he was not 
only bound to do it " seven times," but " until seventy times 
seven;" that is, he must be indulgent to him, as oft as the 
offender returns and begs it, and heartily professes his sorrow 
and repentance : which he further illustrates by a plain and ex- 
cellent parable, and thence draws this conclusion, that the same 
measures, either of compassion or cruelty, which men shew to 
their fellow brethren, they themselves shall meet with at the 
hands of God, the supreme ruler and justiciary of the world. 
It was not long after, when a brisk young man addressed himself 
to our Saviour, to know of him by what methods he might best 
attain eternal life. y Our Lord, to humble his confidence, bade 
him " sell his estate, and give it to the poor and, putting him- 
self under his discipline, he should have a much better " treasure 
in heaven." The man was rich, and liked not the counsel, nor 
was he willing to purchase happiness at such a rate ; and ac- 
cordingly went away under great sorrow and discontent : upon 
which Christ takes occasion to let them know, how hardly those 
men would get to heaven, who built their comfort and happiness 
upon the plenty and abundance of these outward things. Peter, 
taking hold of this opportunity, asked, what return they them- 
selves should make, who had quitted and renounced whatever 
they had for his sake and service ? Our Saviour answers, that 
no man should be a loser by his service ; that, for their parts, 
they should be recompenced with far greater privileges; and 
that whoever should forsake houses or lands, kindred and 
relations, out of love to him and his religion, should enjoy 
them again, with infinite advantages in this world, if con- 
sistent with the circumstances of their state, and those troubles 
and persecutions which would necessarily arise from the pro- 
fession of the gospel : however, they should have what would 
* Matt xviii. 21. ' Matt. xix. 16. Mark z. 17. Luke xyiii. 16. 




make infinite amends for all ; " eternal life in the other 
world.' 1 

VIII. Our Saviour, in order to his last fatal journey to Jeru- 
salem, that he might the better comply with the prophecy that 
went before of him, sent two of his apostles, who in all proba- 
bility were Peter and John, with an authoritative commission to 
fetch him an ass to ride on, z (he had none of his own ; he, who 
" was rich, for our sakes made himself poor he lived upon 
charity all his life; had neither an ass to ride on, nor a house 
where to lay his head ; no, nor after his death, a tomb to lie in, 
but what the charity of others provided for him,) whereon being 
mounted, and attended with the festivities of the people, he set 
forward in his journey ; wherein there appears an admirable 
mixture of humility and majesty : the ass he rode on became 
the meanness and meekness of a prophet ; but his arbitrary 
commission for the fetching it, and the ready obedience of its 
owners, spake the prerogative of a king : the palms borne before 
him, the garments strewed in his way, and the joyful hosannahs 
and acclamations of the people, proclaim at once' both the ma- 
jesty of a prince, and the triumph of a Saviour : for such ex- 
pressions of joy we find were usual in public and festival solem- 
nities ; thus the historian,* describing the emperor Commodus's 
triumphant return to Borne, tells us, that the senate and whole 
people of Rome, to testify their mighty kindness and veneration 
for him, came out of the city to meet him, 8a<f)vr)if>6pol t€ teal 
iravra iira^epofievoi av0t} totc aKfid^ovra^ " carrying palms and 
laurels along with them, and throwing about all sorts of flowers 
that were then in season. 11 In this manner our Lord being entered 
the city, he soon after retired to Bethany, whence he despatched 
Peter and John to make preparations for the passover ; b giving 
them instructions where he would have it kept. Accordingly, 
they found the person he had described to them, whom they 
followed home to his house. Whether this was the house of 
John the Evangelist, (as Nicephorus tells us, c ) situate near mount 
Sion, or of Simon the Leper, or of Nicodemus, or of Joseph of 
Arimathea, as others severally conjecture, seeing none of the 
evangelists have thought fit to tell us, it may not become us 
curiously to inquire. 

1 Matt. xxi. 1. » Herod. 1. i. s. 17. in vit Comm. 

b Matt, *xvi. 17. Mark xiv. 12. I<uke audi. 7. * Hist. Ecci Lie 28. 





The passover celebrated by our Lord and his apostles. His washing their feet. Peter's 
imprudent modesty. The mystery and meaning of the action. The traitor, who. 
The Lord's supper instituted. Peter's confident promise of suffering with and for 
Christ Our Lord's dislike of his confidence, and foretelling his denial Their going to 
the Mount of Olives. Peter renews his resolution. His indiscreet zeal and affection. 
Our Saviour's passion, why begun in a garden. The bitterness of his ante-passion. 
The drowsiness of Peter and the two sons of Zebedee. Our Lord's great candour 
towards them, and what it ought to teach us. Christ's apprehension, and Peter's bold 
attempt upon Malchus. Christ deserted by the apostles. Peter's following his Master 
to the high-priest's hall, and thrice denying him with oaths and imprecations. The 
Galilean dialect, what The cock-crowing, and Peter's repentance upon it. 

All things being now prepared, our Saviour, with his apostles, 
comes down for the celebration of the passover : and being 
entered into the house, they all orderly took their places. Our 
Lord, who had always taught them by his practice, no less than 
by his doctrine, did now particularly design to teach them hu- 
mility and charity by his own example ; and that the instance 
might be the greater, he underwent the meanest offices of the 
ministry. Towards the end, therefore, of the paschal supper, 
he arose from the table, and laying aside his upper garment, d 
(which, according to the fashion of those eastern countries, 
being long, was unfit for action,) and himself taking a towel, and 
pouring water into a bason, he began to wash all the apostles'* 
feet, not disdaining those of Judas himself. Coming to Peter, 
he would by. no means admit an instance of so much condescen- 
sion. What ? the master do this to the servant ? the Son of 
God to so vile a sinner? This made him a second time refuse it : 
" thou shalt never wash my feet." But our Lord soon corrects 
his imprudent modesty, by telling him, that " if he washed him 
not, he could have no part with him insinuating the mystery 
of this action, which was to denote remission of sin, and the 
purifying virtue of the Spirit of Christ to be poured upon all 
true Christians. Peter, satisfied with the answer, soon altered 
his resolution ; " Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and 
my head if the case be so, let me be washed all over, rather 
than come short of my portion in thee. This being done, he 

d John xiii. 4. 

M 2 

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returned again to the table, and acquainted them with the mean- 
ing and tendency of this mystical action, and what force it ought 
to have upon them towards one another.* The washing itself 
denoted their inward and spiritual cleansing by the blood and 
Spirit of Christ, symbolically typified and represented by all the 
washings and baptisms of the Mosaic institution : the washing 
of the feet respected our entire sanctification of our whole spirit, 
soul and body, no part being to be left impure. And then, that all 
this should be done by so great a person, their Lord and Master, 
preached to their very senses a sermon of the greatest humility 
and condescension, and taught them how little reason they bad 
to boggle at the meanest offices of kindness towards 
others, when he himself had stooped to so low an abasure to- 
wards them. And now he began more immediately to reflect 
upon his sufferings, and upon him who was to be the occasion of 
them ; telling them, that one of them would be the traitor to 
betray him : whereat they were strangely troubled, and every 
one began to suspect himself, till Peter (whose love and care for 
his Master commonly made him start sooner than the rest) made 
signs to St. John, who lay in our Saviour's bosom, to ask him 
particularly who it was? which our Saviour presently did, by 
making them understand that it was Judas Iscariot ; who not 
long after left the company. 

II. And now our Lord began the institution of his supper, 
that great solemn institution which he was resolved to leave 
behind him, to be constantly celebrated in all ages of the church, 
as the standing monument of his love in dying for mankind. 
For now he told them, that he himself must leave them, and 
that " whither he went, they could not come." f Peter, not well 
understanding what he meant, asked him, whither it was that 
he was going ? Our Lord replied, it was to that place, whither 
he could not now follow him ; but that he should do it afterwards: 
intimating the martyrdom he was to undergo for the sake of 
Christ. To which Peter answered, that he knew no reason why 
he might not follow him ; seeing that if it was even to the 
laying down of his life for his sake, he was most ready and re- 
solved to do it. Our Lord liked not this over-confident pre- 
sumption, and therefore told him, they were great things which 
he promised, but that he took not the true measures of his 
• Vid. Nonn. Paraphr. in loc. f John xiii. 36. Luke xxii. 31. 

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own strength, nor espied the snares and designs of Satan, who 
desired no better an occasion than this, to sift and winnow them. 
But that he prayed to heaven for him, " that his faith might not 
fail by which means being strengthened himself, he should be 
obliged to strengthen and confirm his brethren. And whereas 
he so confidently assured him, that he was ready to go along 
with him, not only into prison, but even to death itself ; our 
Lord plainly told him, that notwithstanding all his confident 
and generous resolutions, before " the cock crowed twice," that 
is, before three of the clock in the morning, he would that very 
night three several times deny his Master. With which answer 
our Lord wisely rebuked his confidence, and taught him (had he 
understood the lesson) not to trust to his own strength, but 
entirely to depend upon him, who is able to keep us from falling : 
withal insinuating, that though by his sin he would justly for- 
feit the divine grace and favour, yet upon his repentance he 
should be restored to the honour of the apostolate, as a certain 
evidence of the divine goodness and indulgence to him. g 

III. Having sung an hymn, and concluded the whole affair, 
he left the house where all these things had been transacted, 
and went with his apostles unto the Mount of Olives : h where 
he again put them in mind how much they would be offended at 
those things which he was now to suffer ; and Peter again re- 
newed his resolute and undaunted promise of suffering, and 
dying with him ; yea, out of an excessive confidence, told him, 
that " though all the rest should forsake and deny him, yet 
would not he deny him." How far will zeal and an indiscreet 
affection transport even a good man into vanity and presump- 
tion ! Peter questions others, but never doubts himself. So 
natural is self-love, so apt are we to take the fairest measures of 
ourselves. Nay, though our Lord had, but a little before, once 
and again reproved this vain humour, yet does he still not only 
persist, but grow up in it : so hardly are we brought to espy 
our own faults, or to be so thoroughly convinced of them, as to 
correct and reform them. This confidence of his inspired all 
the rest with a mighty courage, all the apostles likewise assuring 
him of their constant and unshaken adhering to him ; our Lord 
returning the same answer to Peter which he had done before; 

* Vid. Tit. Bostr, Com. in Luc. xxii. in BiU. patr. Gr. Lat vol. ii. p. 029. ed. 1G24, 
h Matt, xxvi. 30. Mark xiv. 26. 



From hence they went down into the village of Gethsemane, 
where, leaving the rest of the apostles, he, accompanied with 
none but Peter, James, and John, retired into a neighbouring 
garden, (whither, Eusebius tells us, 1 Christians even in his time 
were wont to come, solemnly to offer up their prayers to heaven ; 
and where, as the Arabian geographer informs us, k a fair and 
stately church was built to the honour of the Virgin Mary,) to 
enter upon the ante-scene of the fatal tragedy that was now 
approaching; it bearing a very fit proportion, (as some of the 
fathers have observed, 1 ) that as the first Adam fell and ruined 
mankind in a garden, so a garden should be the place where the 
second Adam should begin his passion, in order to the redemp- 
tion of the world. Gardens, which to us are places of repose 
and pleasure, and scenes of divertisement and delight, were to 
our Lord a school of temptation, a theatre of great honours and 
sufferings, and the first approaches of the hour of darkness. 

IV. Here it was that the blessed Jesus laboured under th« 
bitterest agony that could fall upon human nature, which the 
holy story describes by words sufficiently expressive of the 
highest grief and sorrow, he was afraid, sorrowful, and very 
heavy ; yea, his soul was irepiXwrros, " exceeding sorrowful,™ 
and that even unto death ; he was u sore amazed, and very 
heavy ;" he was " troubled," irapaxdij, his soul was shaken with 
a vehement commotion ; yea, he was " in an agony," a word by 
which the Greeks were wont to represent the greatest conflicts 
and anxieties. The effect of all which was, that " he prayed 
more earnestly," offering up " prayers and supplications with 
strong cries and tears," as the apostle expounds it, and u sweat 
as it were great drops of blood falling to the ground." What 
this bloody sweat was, and how far natural or extraordinary, I 
am not now concerned to inquire. Certain it is, it was a plain 
evidence of the most intense grief and sadness * for if an ex- 
treme fear or trouble will many times cast us into a cold sweat, 
how great must be the commotion and conflict of our Saviour's 
mind, which could force open the pores of his body, locked up 
by the coldness of the night, and make not drops of sweat, but 
"great drops" or (as the word dpopftoi signifies) "clods" of 
blood to issue from them. While our Lord was thus contending 

1 De loc. Hebr. in voc. rcBtrcfiowri. k Geogr. Nub. Clim. Hi. par. v. p. 114. 

1 Cyril. Comment, in Joan, xviii. Thcophylact. in Joan, xviii. 



with these ante-passions, the three apostles, whom he had left 
at some distance from him, being tired out with watching, and 
disposed by the silence of the night, were fallen fast asleep. Our 
Lord, who had made three several addresses unto heaven, that; 
if it might consist with his Fathers will, this bitter " cup might 
pass from him," (expressing herein the harmless and innocent 
desires of human nature, which always studies its own preserva- 
tion,) between each of them came to visit the apostles; and 
calling to Peter, asked him, " whether they could not watch 
with him one hour? 1 ' advising them "to watch and pray, that 
they entered not into temptation adding this argument, that 
44 the spirit indeed was willing, but that the flesh was weak," 
and that therefore there was the more need that they should 
stand upon their guard. Observe here the incomparable sweet- 
ness, the generous candour of our blessed Saviour, to pass so 
charitable a censure upon an action, from whence malice and 
ill-nature might have drawn monsters and prodigies, and have 
represented it black as the shades of darkness. The request 
which our Lord made to these apostles was infinitely reasonable, 
to watch with him in his bitter agony, their company at least 
being some refreshment to one under such sad fatal circum- 
stances ; and this, but for a little time, one hour, it would soon 
be over, and then they might freely consult their own ease and 
safety : it was their dear Lord and Master whom they now 
were to attend upon, ready to lay down his life for them, 
sweating already under the first skirmishes of his sufferings, and 
expecting every moment when all the powers of darkness would 
fall upon him. But all these considerations were drowned in a 
profound security ; the men were fast asleep, and though often 
awakened and told of it, regarded it not, as if nothing but ease 
and softness had been then to be dreamed of : an action that 
looked like the most prodigious ingratitude, and the highest m> 
concernedness for their Lord and Master, and which one would 
have thought had argued a very great coldness and indifferency 
of affection towards him. But he would not set it upon the 
tenters, nor stretch it to what it might easily have been drawn 
to : he imputes it not to their un thankfulness, or want of 
affection, nor to their carelessness of what became of him, but 
merely to their infirmity, and the weakness of their bodily temper, 
himself making the excuse, when they could make none for 

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themselves, " the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.* 1 
Hereby teaching us, to put the most candid and favourable con- 
struction upon those actions of others, which are capable of 
various interpretations ; and rather with the bee to suck honey, 
than with the spider to draw poison from them. His last prayer 
being ended, he came to them, and told them, with a gentle 
rebuke, that now they might 44 sleep on" if they pleased ; that 
44 the hour was at hand that he should be betrayed, and delivered 
into the hands of men." 

V. While he was thus discoursing to them, a band of soldiers, 
sent from the high-priests, with the traitor Judas to conduct 
and direct them, rushed into the garden and~ seized upon him ; 
which when the apostles saw, they asked him whether they 
should attempt his rescue? Peter, (whose ungovernable zeal 
put him upon all dangerous undertakings,) without staying for 
an answer, drew his sword, and espying one more busy than the 
rest in laying hold upon our Saviour, which was Malchus, (who, 
though carrying kingship in his name, was but servant to the 
high-priest,) struck at him, with an intention to despatch him ; 
but God overruling the stroke, it only cut off his right ear. 
Our Lord liked not this wild and unwarrantable zeal, and there- 
fore entreated their patience, whilst he miraculously healed the 
wound. And turning to Peter, bade him put up his sword again ; 
told him, that they who unwarrantably used the sword, should 
themselves perish by it ; that there was no need of these violent 
and extravagant courses ; that if he had a mind to be rid of his 
keepers, he could ask his Father, who would presently send more 
than twelve legions of angels to his rescue and deliverance : but 
he must drink the cup which his father had put into his hand : 
lor how else should the scriptures be fulfilled, which had expressly 
foretold, 44 that these things must be?" Whereupon all the 
apostles forsook him, and fled from him ; and they who before 
in their promises were as bold as lions, now it came to it, like 
fearful and timorous hares, ran away from him : Peter and John, 
though staying last with him, yet followed the same way with 
the rest, preferring their own safety before the concernments of 
iheir Master. 

YI. No sooner was he apprehended by the soldiers, and 
brought out of the garden, but he was immediately posted from 
duo tribunal to another: brought first to Annas, then carried to 

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Caiaphas, where the J ewish Sanhedrim met together in order to his 
trial and condemnation." 1 Peter having a little recovered himself, 
and gotten loose from his fears, probably encouraged by his com- 
panion St. John, returns back to seek his Master ; and finding 
them leading him to the high-priest's hall, followed afar off, to 
see what would be the event and issue. But coming to the 
door, could get no admittance, till one of the disciples, who was 
acquainted there, went out and persuaded the servant who kept 
the door to let him in. Being let into the hall, where the 
servants and officers stood round the fire, Peter also came thither 
to warm himself ; where being espied by the servant-maid that 
Jet him in, she, earnestly looking upon him, charged him with 
being one of Christ's disciples ; which Peter publicly denied be- 
fore all the company, positively affirming that "he knew him 
not ;" and presently withdrew himself into the porch, where he 
heard the cock crow: an intimation which, one would have 
thought, should have awakened his conscience into a quick sense 
of his duty, and the promise he had made unto his Master. In 
the porch, another of the maids set upon him, charging him that 
" he also was one of them that had been with Jesus of Nazareth :" 
which Peter stoutly denied, saying, that " he knew not Christ ;" 
and the better to gain their belief to what he said, ratified it 
with an oath. So natural is it for one sin to draw on another. 

VII. About an hour after, he was a third time set upon by 
a servant of the high-priest, Malchus's kinsman, whose ear 
Peter had lately cut off : by him he was charged to be one of 
Christ's disciples ; yea, " that his very speech betrayed him to 
be a Galilean." For the Galileans, though they did not speak 
a different language, had yet a different dialect, using a more 
confused and barbarous, a broader and more unpolished way of 
pronunciation than the rest of the Jews, whereby they were 
easily distinguishable in their speaking from other men; abundant 
instances whereof there are extant in the Talmud at this day. 
Nay, not only gave this evidence, but added, that he himself 
had seen him with Jesus in the garden. Peter still resolutely 
denied the matter; and to add the highest accomplishment to 
his sin, ratified it not only with an oath, but a solemn curse and 
execration, that "he was not the person," that "he knew not 
the man." It is but a very weak excuse which St. Ambrose 

m Matt, xx vi. 57. Mark xiv. 53. Luke xxii. 54. John xviii. 12. 

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and some others make for this act of PeterV in saying, w I knew 
not the man.*" " He did well (says he) to deny him to be man, 
whom he knew to be God." St. Hierom takes notice of this 
pious and well-meant excuse made for Peter, 0 though out of 
modesty he conceals the name of its author, but yet justly 
censures it as trifling and frivolous, and which, to excuse man 
from folly, would charge God with falsehood : for if he did not 
deny him, then our Lord was out, when he said, that " that 
night he should thrice deny him," that is, his person, and not 
only his humanity. Certainly the best apology that can be 
made for Peter is, that he quickly repented of this great sin ; 
for no sooner had he done it, but the cock crew again ; at which 
intimation our Saviour turned about, and earnestly looked upon 
him : a glance that quickly pierced him to the heart, and brought 
to his remembrance what our Lord had once and again foretold 
him of, how foully and shamefully he should deny him : where- 
upon, not being able to contain his sorrow, he ran out of doors 
to give it vent, and wept bitterly, passionately bewailing his 
folly, and the aggravations of his sin ; thereby endeavouring to 
make some reparation for his fault, and recover himself into 
the favour of heaven, and to prevent the execution of divine 
justice, by taking a severe revenge upon himself: by these 
penitential tears he endeavoured to wash off his guilt, as indeed 
repentance is the next step to innocence. 



Our Lord's care to acquaint Peter with his resurrection. His going to the sepulchre* 
Christ's appearance to Peter, when, and the reasons of it. The apostle's journey into 
Galilee. Christ's appearing to them at the sea at Tiberias. His being discovered by 
the great draught of fishes. Christ's questioning Peter's love, and why. u Feed my 
sheep," commended to Peter, imports no peculiar supereminent power and sovereignty. 
Peter's death and sufferings foretold. Our Lord takes his last leave of the apostles at 

n Bene negavit hominem, quern sciebat Deum. Ambr. in Luc. xxii. vid. Hilar, com- 
ment in Matt. c. xxxii. s. 5. 

° Hier. in Matt, xxvi vol. iv. par. i. p. 132. vid. August, in Joan. Tract, lxvi. s. 2. 
vol Hi. par. ii. p. 676. 

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Bethany. His ascension into heaven. The chapel of the ascension. The apostles' 
joy at their Lord's exaltation. 

What became of Peter after his late prevarication, whether he 
followed our Saviour through the several stages of his trial, and 
personally attended as a mourner at the funeral of his Master, 
we have no account left upon record. No doubt he stayed at 
Jerusalem, and probably with St. John, together with whom 
we first find him mentioned, when both setting forwards to the 
sepulchre: which was in this manner. Early on that morning, p 
whereon our Lord was to return from the grave, Mary Magdalen, 
and some other devout and pious women, brought spices and oint- 
ments, with a design to embalm the body of our crucified Lord. 
Coming to the sepulchre at sun-rising, and finding the door open, 
they entered in, where they were suddenly saluted by an angel, 
who told them that Jesus was risen, and bade them go and ac- 
quaint his apostles, and particularly Peter, that he was returned 
from the dead ; and that he would go before them into Galilee, 
where they should meet with him. Hereupon they returned 
back, and acquainted the apostles with what had passed : who 
beheld the story as the product of a weak frighted fancy. But 
Peter and John presently hastened towards the garden ; q John, 
being the younger and nimbler, outran his companion, and came 
first thither, where he only looked, but entered not in, either out 
of fear in himself or a great reverence to our Saviour. Peter, 
though behind in space, was before in zeal, and being elder and 
more considerate, came and resolutely entered in, where they 
found nothing but the linen clothes lying together in one place, 
and the napkin that was about his head wrapped together in 
another ; which being disposed with so much care and order, 
shewed (what was falsely suggested by the Jews) that our 
Saviour's body was not taken away by thieves, who are wont 
more to consult their escape, than how to leave things orderly 
disposed behind them. 

II. The same day, about noon we may suppose it was that, 
our Lord himself appeared alone to Peter ; being assured of the 
thing, though not so precisely of the time. That he did so, St. 
Paul expressly tells us ; r and so did the apostles to the two 
disciples that came from Emmaus, 8 " the Lord is risen, and hath 

P Mark xvi. 1. 9 Luke xxiv. 12. John xx. 2. 

r 1 Cor. xv. 5. 8 Luke xxiv. 34. 



appeared unto Simon which probably intimates, that it was 
before his appearing to those two disciples. And, indeed, we 
cannot but think that onr Lord wonld hasten the manifestation 
of himself to him, as compassionating his case, being over- 
whelmed with sorrow for the late shameful denial of his Master : 
and was therefore willing in the first place to honour him with 
his presence, at once to confirm him in the article of his resur- 
rection, and to let him see that he was restored to the place 
which before he had in his grace and favour. St. Paul, men- 
tioning his several appearances after his resurrection, seems to 
make this the first of them, " that he was seen of Cephas." Not 
that it was simply the first, for he first appeared to the women. 
But, as Chrysostom observes,* it was the first that was made to 
men. He was first seen by him who most desired to see him. 
He also adds several probable conjectures, why our Lord first 
discovered himself to Peter : as, that it required a more than 
ordinary firmness and resolution of mind, to be able to bear such a 
sight ; for they who beheld him after others had seen him, and had 
heard their frequent testimonies and reports, had had their faith 
greatly prepared and encouraged to entertain it ; but he who was 
to be honoured with the first appearance had need of a bigger 
and more undaunted faith, lest he should be overborne, t& 
irapaZ61;<p T779 Oeas, " with such a strange and unwonted sight 
that Peter was the first that had made a signal confession of his 
Master, and therefore it was fit and reasonable that he should 
first see him alive after his resurrection : that Peter had lately 
denied his lord, the grief whereof lay hard upon him, that there- 
fore our Saviour was willing to administer some consolation to 
him, and, as soon as might be, to let him see that he had not cast 
him off : like the kind Samaritan, he made haste to help him, and 
to pour oil into his wounded conscience. 

IIL Some time after this, the apostles began to resolve upon 
their journey into Galilee, as # he himself had commanded thein< 
If it be inquired, why they went no sooner, seeing this was the 
first iriessage and intimation they had received from him ; St. 
Ambrose^ resolution seems very rational," that our Lord indeed 
had commanded them to go thither, but that their fears for some 

1 'Ev fohpd<ri Tointf rrpdoTy, r$ fid\i<rra aurbu troBovvri l$uu. Chrys. in 1 ad Cor. 
c. xv. Horn, xxxviii. s. 4. vol. x. p. 355, 6. 
u Comm. in Luc. xxiv. in fin. 

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time kept them at home ; not being as yet fully satisfied in the 
truth of his resurrection, till our Lord, by often appearing to them, 
had confirmed their minds, and put the case beyond all dispute. 
They went, as we may suppose, in several companies, lest going 
all in one body they should awaken the power and malice of 
their enemies, and alarm the care and vigilancy of the state, 
which, by reason of the noise that our Saviour's trial and execu- 
tion had made up and down the city and country, was yet full 
of jealousies and fears. We find Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, w 
and the two sons of Zebedee, and two more of the disciples, 
arrived at some town about the sea of Tiberias ; where, the pro- 
vidence of God guiding the instance of their employment, Peter, 
accompanied with the rest, returns to his old trade of fishing. 
They laboured all night, but caught nothing. Early in the morn- 
ing, a grave person, probably in the habit of a traveller, presents 
himself upon the shore ; and calling to them, asked them whether 
they had any meat : when they told him, No ; he advised them 
to cast the net on the right side of the ship, that so the miracle 
might not seem to be the effect of chance, and they should not 
fail to speed. They did so, and the net presently inclosed so 
great a draught, that they were scarce able to drag it ashore. St. 
John, amazed with the strangeness of the matter, told Peter that 
surely this must be the Lord, whom the winds and the sea, and 
all the inhabitants of that watery region, were so ready to obey. 
Peter's zeal presently took fire, notwithstanding the coldness of 
the season, and impatient of the least moments being kept from 
the company of his dear Lord and Master, without any consi- 
deration of the danger to which he exposed himself, he girt his 
fisher's coat about him, and throwing himself into the sea, swam 
to shore, not being able to stay till the ship could arrive, which 
came presently after. x Landing, they found a fire ready made, 
and fish laid upon it, either immediately created by his divine 
power, or which came to the shore of its own accord, and offered 
itself to his hand : which notwithstanding, he commands them 
to bring of the fish which they had lately caught, and prepare it 
for their dinner, he himself dining with them ; both that he 
might give them an instance of mutual love and fellowship, and 
also assure them of the truth of his human nature, since his re- 
turn from the dead. 

* John xxi. 1. * Vid. Norm. Paraphs in loc. 



IV. Dinner being ended, our Lord more particularly addressed 
himself to Peter, urging him to the utmost diligence in his care 
of souls : and because he knew that nothing but a mighty love 
to himself could carry him through the troubles and hazards of 
so dangerous and difficult an employment, an employment at- 
tended with all the impediments which either the perverseness 
of men or the malice and subtilty of the devil could cast in the 
way to hinder it, therefore he first inquired of him, whether he 
loved him more than the rest of the apostles ? herein mildly re- 
proving his former over-confident resolution, that " though all 
the rest should deny him, yet would not he deny him." Peter 
modestly replied, not censuring others, much less preferring him- 
self before them, that our Lord knew the integrity of his affec- 
tion towards him. This question he puts three several times to 
Peter, who as often returned the same answer: it being but just 
and reasonable, that he who by a threefold denial had given so 
much cause to question, should now by a threefold confession 
give more than ordinary assurance of his sincere affection to his 
Master.* Peter was a little troubled at his frequent questioning 
of his love, and therefore more expressly appeals to our Lord's 
omnisciency, that he, who knew all things, must needs know that 
he loved him. To each of these confessions, our Lord added this 
signal trial of his affection, then " Feed my sheep that is* 
faithfully instruct and teach them, carefully rule and guide 
them; persuade, not compel them; feed, not fleece, nor kill 
them. And so it is plain St. Peter himself understood it, by the 
charge which he gives to the guides and rulers of the church, 
that " they should feed the flock of God, taking the oversight 
thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but 
of a ready mind ; neither as being lords over God's heritage, but 
as examples to the flock." z But that u by feeding Christ's sheep 
and lambs," here commended to St. Peter, should be meant an 
universal and uncontrollable monarchy and dominion over the 
whole Christian church, and that over the apostles themselves and 
their successors in ordinary, and this power and supremacy 
solely invested in St. Peter, and those who were to succeed him 
in the see of Eome, is so wild an inference, and such a melting 

? Isid. Pelus. L i. ep. 103. Redditur riegationi trinae trina confessio, ne minus amori 
linguae serviat, quam timori ; et plus vocis elicuisse videatur mors imminens, quam vita 
preesens. Aug. in Joan. Tract, exxiii. s. 5. vol iii. par. ii. p. 817. z 1 Pet. v. 1, 8, 3. 



down words to run into any shape, as could never with any face 
have been offered, or been possible to have been imposed upon 
the belief of mankind, if men had not first subdued their reason 
to their interest, and captivated both to an implicit faith and a 
blind obedience. For granting that our Lord here addressed 
his speech only unto Peter, yet the very same power in equivalent 
terms is elsewhere indifferently granted to all the apostles, and 
in some measure to the ordinary pastors and governors of the 
church : as when our Lord told them, that " all power was given 
him in heaven and in earth, 11 by virtue whereof " they should 
go teach and baptize all nations, 11 and "preach the gospel to 
every creature that " they should feed God's flock, 11 " rule 
well, 11 inspect and " watch over 11 those over whom they had the 
authority and rule : words of as large and more express signi- 
fication, than those which were here spoken to St. Peter. 

V. Our Lord having thus engaged Peter to a cheerful com- 
pliance with the dangers that might attend the discharge and 
execution of his office, now particularly intimates to him what 
that fate was that should attend him : telling him, that though 
when he was young he girt himself, lived at his own pleasure, 
and went whither he pleased ; yet when he was old, he should 
stretch forth his hands, and another should gird and bind him, 
and lead him whither he had no mind to go : intimating, as the 
evangelist tells us, " by what death he should glorify God, 11 that 
is by crucifixion, the martyrdom which he afterward underwent: 
and then rising up, commanded him to follow him; by this 
bodily attendance mystically implying his conformity to the 
death of Christ, that he should follow him in dying for the truth 
and testimony of the gospel. It was not long after, that our 
Lord appeared to them to take his last farewell of them ; a when 
leading them out unto Bethany, a little village upon the Mount 
of Olives, he briefly told them, that they were the persons whom 
he had chosen to be the witnesses both of his death and resur- 
rection ; a testimony which they should bear to him in all parts 
of the world : in order to which he would after his ascension 
pour out his Spirit upon them in larger measures than they had 
hitherto received, that they might be the better fortified to 
grapple with that violent rage and fury wherewith both men 
and devils would endeavour to oppose them ; and that in the 

a Acts i. 8. Luke xxiv. 49. 



mean time they should return to Jerusalem, and stay till these 
miraculous powers were from on high conferred upon them. His 
discourse being ended, laying his hands upon them, he gave them 
his solemn blessing; which done, he was immediately taken from 
them, and,being attended with a glorious guard and train of angels, 
was received up into heaven. Antiquity tells us, b that in the place 
where he last trod upon the rock, the impression of his feet did 
remain, which could never afterwards be filled up or impaired, 
over which Helena, mother of the great Constantine, afterwards 
built a little chapel, called the Chapel of the Ascension : in the 
floor whereof, upon a whitish kind of stone, modern travellers 
tell us, c that the impression of his foot is shewed at this day ; 
but it is that of his right foot only, the other being taken away 
by the Turks, and, as it is said, kept in the temple at Jerusalem. 
Our Lord being thus taken from them, the apostles were filled 
with a greater sense of his glory and majesty, than while he was 
wont familiarly to converse with them ; and having performed 
their solemn adorations to him, returned back to Jerusulem, 
waiting for the promise of the Holy Ghost, which was shortly 
after conferred upon them, "They worshipped him, and re^ 
turned to Jerusalem with great joy." d They who lately were 
overwhelmed with sorrow at the very mention of their Lord^s 
departure from them, entertained it now with joy and triumph; 
being fully satisfied of his glorious advancement at God's right 
hand, and of that particular care and providence which they 
were sure he would exercise towards them, in pursuance of those 
great trusts he had committed to them. 




The apostles return to Jerusalem. The inrtpwow, or " upper room," where they assembled, 
what. Peter declares the necessity of a new apostle's being chosen in the room of 
Judas. The promise of the Holy Ghost made upon the day of pentecost The Spirit 
descended in the likeness of fiery cloven tongues, and why. The greatness of the 
miracle. Peter's vindication of the apostles from the slanders of the Jews, and proving 

b Paulin. Epist. iii. ad Sever, de invent cruris. Sulp. Sever. Hist. Sacr. L ii. c 33. 
Hieron. de loc Heb. in Act App. 
c J. Cotovic. Itin. L ii. c. 11. vid Sands. Relat. 1. iii. p. 156. d Luke x»y. 52. 

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Christ to be the promised Messiah. Great numbers converted by his sermon. His 
going up to the temple. What their stated hours of prayer. His curing the impotent 
cripple there, and discourse to the Jews upon it. What numbers converted by him. 
Peter and John seized, and cast into prison. Brought before the Sanhedrim, and their 
resolute carriage there. Their refusing to obey, when commanded not to preach 
Christ The great security the Christian religion provides for subjection to magistrates 
in all lawful instances of obedience. The severity used by Peter towards Ananias and 
Sapphire. The great miracles wrought by him. Again cast into prison, and delivered 
by an angel. Their appearing before the Sanhedrim; and deliverance, by the 
prudent counsels of Gamaliel. 

The holy Jesus being gone to heaven, the apostles began to 
act according to the power and commission he had left with 
them. In order whereunto, the first thing they did after his 
ascension, was to fill up the vacancy in their college, lately 
made by the unhappy fall and apostacy of Judas. To which 
end, no sooner were they returned to Jerusalem, but they went 
€49 virep&oV) " into an upper room." Where this virep&ov was, 
whether in the house of St. John, or of Mary, John Mark's 
mother, or in some of the out-rooms belonging to the temple, 
(for the temple had, over the cloisters, several chambers for the 
service of the priests and Levites, and as respositories where 
the consecrated vessels and utensils of the temple were laid up ; 
though it be not probable that the Jews, and especially the 
priests, would suffer the apostles and their company to be so 
near the temple,) I stand not to inquire. It is certain that the 
Jews usually had their virep&a, " private oratories," in the upper 
parts of their houses, called m*by, for the more private exercises 
of their devotions. Thus Daniel 6 had his m»by, "upper- 
chamber," (ra virep&a, the Seventy render it,) whither he was 
wont to retire to pray to his God : and Benjamin the Jew tells 
us/ that in his time, (Ann. Chr. 1172,) the Jews at Babylon 
were wont to pray, both in their synagogues, tow ni^bin, and 
in that ancient upper-room of Daniel which the prophet him- 
self built. Such an vTrep&ov, or " upper chamber," was that 
wherein St. Paul preached at Troas : g and such probably this, 
where the apostles were now met together, and in all likelihood 
the same where our Lord had lately kept the passover, where 
the apostles and the church were assembled on the day of pente- 
cost, and which was then the usual place of their religious as- 
semblies, as we have elsewhere observed more at large. h Here 

• Dan. vL 10. f Benj. Itin. p. 76. * Acts xx. 8. h Prim. Christ par. i. c 6. 


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the church being met, to the number of about one hundred and 
twenty, Peter, as president of the assembly, began to speak, 
and, applying himself to the whole congregation, proposed to 
them the choice of a new apostle. And it is the remark which 
St. Chrysostom makes upon this passage, 1 that Peter herein 
would do nothing without the common consent and approbation, 
ovBkv av0€VTL/cm, ovBe apxi/c&s, assuming no peculiar super- 
eminent power and authority to himself. He put them in mind, 
that Judas, j one of our Lord's apostles, being betrayed by his 
own covetous and insatiable mind, had lately fallen from the 
honour of his place and ministry : that this was no more than 
what the prophet had long since foretold should come to pass, 
and that the rule and oversight in the church, which had been 
committed unto him, should be devolved upon another: that 
therefore it was highly necessary, that one should be substituted 
in his room, and especially such a one as had been familiarly 
conversant with our Saviour, from first to last, that so he might 
be a competent witness both of his doctrine and miracles, his 
life and death, but especially of his resurrection from the dead. 
For, seeing no evidence is so valid and satisfactory as the testi- 
mony of an eyewitness, the apostles all along mainly insisted 
upon this, that they delivered no other things concerning our 
Saviour to the world, than what they themselves had seen and 
heard. And seeing his rising from the dead was a principle 
likely to meet with a great deal of opposition, and which would 
hardliest gain belief and entertainment with the minds of men, 
therefore they principally urged this at every turn, that " they 
were eyewitnesses of his resurrection that they had seen, felt, 
eaten, and familiarly conversed with him after his return from 
the grave. That therefore such an apostle might be chosen, two 
candidates were proposed: Joseph, called Barsabas, and Matthias. 
And having prayed that the divine providence would immediately 
guide and direct the choice, they cast lots, and the lot fell upon 
Matthias, who was accordingly admitted into the number of the 
twelve apostles. 

II. Fifty days since the last passover being now run out, 
made way for the feast of pentecost : k at what time the great 
promise of the Holy Ghost was fully made good unto them. The 
Christian assembly being met together for the public services 

1 Homil. iii. in Act. J Acts i. 15 k Acts ii. 1. 

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of their worship, on a sudden a sound, like that of a mighty 
wind, rushed in upon them ; representing the powerful efficacy 
of that Divine Spirit that was now to be communicated to them; 
after which there appeared little flames of fire, which, in the 
fashion of cloven tongues, not only descended, but sat upon each 
of them, probably to note their perpetual enjoyment of this gift 
upon all occasions, that, when necessary, they should never be 
without it ; not like the prophetic gifts of old, which were con- 
ferred but sparingly, and only at some particular times and 
seasons ; as the 44 seventy elders prophesied and ceased not," 1 
but it was only at such times " as the Spirit came down and 
rested upon them. ,, Hereupon they were all immediately filled 
with the Holy Ghost, which enabled them in an instant to speak 
several languages, which they had never learned, and probably 
never heard of, together with other miraculous gifts and powers. 
Thus as the confounding of languages became a curse to the old 
world, separating men from all mutual offices of kindness and 
commerce, rendering one part of mankind barbarians to another ; 
so here, the multiplying several languages became a blessing, 
being intended as the means to bring men of all nations " into 
the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God," 
into the fellowship of that religion that would banish discords, 
cement differences, and unite men's hearts in the bond of peace. 
The report of so sudden and strange an action presently spread 
itself into all corners of the city, and there being at that time at 
Jerusalem multitudes of Jewish proselytes, " devout men out of 
every nation under heaven;" "Parthians, Medes, Elamites, (or 
Persians,) the dwellers in Mesopotamia and Judea, Cappadocia, 
Pontus, and Asia Minor, from Phrygia and Pamphylia, from 
Egypt and the parts of Libya and Cyrene, from Rome, from 
Crete, from Arabia, Jews and proselytes;" (probably drawn 
thither by the general report and expectation which had spread 
itself over all the Eastern parts, *> and in a manner over all places 
of the Roman empire, of the Jewish Messiah, that about this 
time should be born at Jerusalem;) they no sooner heard of 
it, but universally flocked to this Christian assembly; where 

1 Numb. xi. 25. 

m Percrebuerat Oriente toto vetus et constans opinio, esse in fatis, ut eo tempore 
Judaea profecti rerum potirentur. Id de Imperatore, etc. Sueton. in vit Vespas. c. 4. 
eadem habet Tacitus Histor. 1. v. c. 13. 

N 2 

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they were amazed to hear these Galileans speaking to them in 
their own native languages, so various, so vastly different from 
one other. And it could not but exceedingly increase the 
wonder, to reflect upon the meanness and inconsiderableness of 
the persons, neither assisted by natural parts, nor polished by 
education, nor improved by use and custom : which three things 
philosophers require to render a man accurate and extraordinary 
in any art or discipline: <f)v<ri$ yap avev fiaOriaem rv<f>\6v 
fiddrjcrts §i%a <f>v<reoi><; aXXuri^' ac/crjo'i? x&pl? afi<f>ow areX^ 
says Plutarch ; n "natural disposition, without institution, is blind; 
instruction, without a genius and disposition, is defective ; and 
exercise, without both, is lame and imperfect.' ,, Whereas^ these 
disciples had not one of these to set them off : their parts were 
mean, below the rate of the common people, the Galileans being 
generally accounted the rudest and most stupid of the whole 
Jewish nation : their education had been no higher than to 
catch fish, and to mend nets ; nor had they been used to plead 
causes, or to deliver themselves before great assemblies; but 
spoke on a sudden, not premeditated discourses, not idle stories, 
or wild roving fancies, but the great and admirable works of 
God, and the mysteries of the gospel beyond human apprehen- 
sions to find out ; and this delivered in almost all the languages 
of the then known world. Men were severally affected with it, 
according to their different tempers and apprehensions: some 
admiring, and not knowing what to think of it ; others, deriding 
it, said, that it was nothing else but the wild raving effect of 
drunkenness and intemperance. At so wild a rate are men of 
profane minds wont to talk, when they take upon them to pass 
their censure in the things of God. 

III. Hereupon the apostles rose up, and Peter, in the name of 
the rest, took this occasion of discoursing to them : he told them, 
that this scandalous slander proceeded from the spirit of malice 
and falsehood ; that their censure was as uncharitable as it was 
unreasonable ; that " they that are drunken are drunk in the 
night ;" that it was against nature and custom for men to be in 
drink so soon, too early for such a suspicion to take place, it 
being now but about nine of the clock, the hour for morning 
prayer, till when men, even of ordinary sobriety and devotion, on 
festival-days were wont to fast; 0 that these extraordinary and 

n Ilep. volt, kyury. p. 2. ° Vid. Joseph, de vit. sua, p. 1020. 



miraculous passages Were but the accomplishment of an ancient 
prophecy, the fulfilling of what God had expressly foretold should 
come to pass in the times of the Messiah : that Jesus of Naza- 
reth had evidently approved himself to be the Messiah sent from 
God, by many unquestionable miracles, of which they themselves 
bad been eyewitnesses : and though, by God's permission, who 
had determined by this means to bring about the salvation of 
mankind, they had wickedly crucified and slain him, yet that 
God had raised him from the dead : that it was not possible he 
should be holden always under the dominion of the grave ; nor 
was it consistent with the justice and goodness of God, and 
especially with those divine predictions which had expressly 
foretold he should rise again from the dead : David having more 
particularly foretold, " that his flesh should rest in hope that 
" God would not leave his soul in hell, neither suffer his Holy One 
to see corruption, 11 but " would make known to him the ways of 
life that this prophecy could not be meant concerning David 
himself, by whom it was spoken, he having many ages since been 
turned to ashes, his body resolved into rottenness and putre- 
faction, his tomb yet visible among them, from whence he never 
did return ; that therefore it must needs have been prophetically 
spoken concerning Christ, having never been truly fulfilled in 
any but him, who both died, and was risen again, whereof they 
Were witnesses ; yea, that he was not only risen from the dead, 
but ascended into heaven, and, according to David's prediction, 
" sat down on God's right hand, until he made his enemies his 
footstool which could not be primarily meant of David, he 
never having yet bodily ascended into heaven; that therefore 
the whole house of Israel ought to believe and take notice, that 
this very Jesus, whom they had crucified, was the person whom 
God had appointed to be the Messiah and the Saviour of his 

IV. This discourse, in every part of it, like so many daggers, 
pierced them to the heart ; who thereupon cried out to Peter and 
his brethren, to know what they should do. Peter told them, that 
there was no other way, than by an hearty and sincere repentance, 
and a being baptized into the religion of this crucified Saviour, 
to expiate their guilt, to obtain pardon of sin, and the gifts and 
benefits of the Holy Ghost. That upon these terms, #ie promises 
of the new covenant, which was ratified by the death of Christ, 



did belong to them and their children, and to all that should 
effectually believe and embrace the gospel : farther pressing and 
persuading them, by doing thus to save themselves from that 
unavoidable ruin and destruction which this wicked and unto- 
ward generation of obstinate unbelieving Jews were shortly to be 
exposed to. The effects of his preaching were strange and won- 
derful : as many as believed were baptized ; there being that day 
added to the church no less than three thousand souls : a quick 
and plentiful harvest ; the late sufferings of our Saviour, as yet 
fresh bleeding in their memories, the present miraculous powers of 
the Holy Ghost that appeared upon them, the zeal of his auditors, 
though heretofore misplaced and misguided, and, above all, the 
efficacy of divine grace, contributing to this numerous conversion. 

V. Though the converting so vast a multitude might justly 
challenge a place amongst the greatest miracles, yet the apostles 
began now more particularly to exercise their miraculous power. 
Peter and John., going up to the temple, p about three of the 
clock in the afternoon, towards the conclusion of one of the solemn 
hours of prayer, (for the Jews divided their day into four greater 
hours, each quarter containing three lesser under it, three of 
which were public and stated times of prayer, instituted, say 
they, q by the three great patriarchs of their nation : the first, 
from six of the clock in the morning until nine, called hence, " the 
third hour of the day," instituted by Abraham ; this was called 
rmrw nban, or " morning prayer :" the second, from nine till 
twelve, called " the sixth hour," and this hour of prayer ordained 
by Isaac ; this was called tD^rftf nban, or " mid-day prayer :" 
the third, from twelve till three in the afternoon, called "the 
ninth hour," appointed by Jacob, called TOUl nb&n, or " evening 
prayer ;" and at this hour it was that these two apostles went 
up to the temple, where) they found a poor impotent cripple, 
who, though above forty years old, had been lame from his birth, 
lying at the beautiful gate of the temple, and asking an alms of 
them. Peter, earnestly looking on him, told him, he had no 
money to give him, but that he would give him that which was 
a great deal better, restore him to his health ; and lifting him up 
by the hand, commanded him, in the n#me of " Jesus of Naza- 
reth, to rise up and walk." The word was no sooner said, than 
the thing was done: immediately the nerves and sinews were 

p Acts iii. 1. *> Vid. Drus. in Act. iii. 1. 



enlarged, and the joints returned to their proper use : the man 
standing up, went into the temple, walking, leaping, and praising 
God. The beholding so sudden and extraordinary a cure begot 
great admiration in the minds of the people, whose curiosity 
drew them to the apostles, to see those who had been the authors 
of it : which Peter taking notice of, began to discourse to them 
to this effect : that there was no reason why they should wonder 
at them, as if by their own skill and art they had wrought this 
cure, it being entirely done in the name of their crucified Master, 
by the power of that very Christ, that holy and just person, 
whom they themselves had denied and delivered up to Pilate, 
and preferred a rebel and a murderer before him, when his judge 
was resolved to acquit him ; and that though they had put him 
to death, yet that they were witnesses that God had raised him 
up again, and that he was gone to heaven, where he must remain 
till the times of the general restitution : that he presumed that 
this in them, as also in their rulers, was, in a great measure, 
the effect of ignorance, and the not being throughly convinced 
of the greatness and divinity of his person ; which yet God 
made use of for the bringing about his wise and righteous de- 
signs, the accomplishing of what he had foretold, concerning 
Christ's person and sufferings, by Moses and Samuel, and all the 
holy " prophets which had been since the world began that, 
therefore it was no\j& high time for them to repent, and turn to 
God, that their great wickedness might be expiated, and that 
when Christ should shortly come in judgment upon the Jewish 
nation, it might be a time of comfort and refreshing to them, 
what would be of vengeance and destruction to other men : that 
they were the peculiar persons to whom the blessings of the 
promises did primarily appertain, and unto whom God in the 
first place sent his Son, that he might derive his blessing upon 
them, by " turning them away from their iniquities.'" While 
Peter was thus discoursing to the people in one place, we may 
suppose that John was preaching to tbem in another ; and the 
success was answerable : the apostles cast out the seed, and God 
immediately " gave the increase there being by this means no 
fewer than five thousand brought over to the faith : r though it 
is possible the whole body of believers might be comprehended 
in that number. 

r Acts iv. 4. 

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VI. While the apostles were thus preaching, 8 the priests and 
Sadducees, (who particularly appeared in this business, as being 
enemies to all tumults, or whatever might disturb their present 
ease and quiet, the only portion of happiness they expected ; 
besides that they hated Christianity, because so expressly as- 
serting the resurrection,) being vexed to hear this doctrine 
vented amongst the people, intimated to the magistrate that 
this concourse might probably tend to an uproar and insurrec- 
tion: whereupon they came with the captain of the temple, 
(commander of the tower of Antonia, which stood close by, on 
the north side of the temple, wherein was a Roman garrison to 
prevent or suppress, especially at festival times, popular tumults 
and uproars,) who seized on the apostles, and put them into 
prison. The next day they were convented before the Jewish 
Sanhedrim ; and, being asked by what power and authority they 
had done this? Peter resolutely answered, that as to the cure 
done to this impotent person, be it known to them and all the 
Jews, that it was perfectly wrought in the name of that Jesus 
of Nazareth whom they themselves had crucified, and God had 
raised from the dead, and whom, though they had thrown him 
by, as waste and rubbish, yet God had made u head of the 
corner and that there was no other way wherein they or 
others could expect salvation, but by this crucified Saviour. 
Great was the boldness of the apostles, admired by the Sanhe- 
drim itself, in this matter ; especially if we consider that this 
probably was the very court that had so lately sentenced and 
condemned their Master, and being fleshed in such sanguinary 
proceedings, had no other way but to go on and justify one 
cruelty with another : that the apostles did not say these things 
in corners and behind the curtain, but to their very faces, and 
that in the open court of judicature, and before all the people : 
that the apostles had not been used to plead in such public 
places, nor had been polished with the arts of education, but 
were ignorant, unlearned men, known not to be versed in the 
study of the Jewish law. 

VII. The council (which all this while had beheld them with 
a kind of wonder, and now remembered that they had been the 
companions and attendants of the late crucified Jesus) com- 
manded them to withdraw, and debated amongst themselves 

• Acts iv. 1. 

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what they should do with them. The miracle they could not 
deny, the fact being so plain and evident, and therefore resolved 
strictly to charge them, that they should preach no more in the 
name of Jesus. Being called in again, they acquainted them 
with the resolution of the council : to which Peter and John re- 
plied, that they could by no means yield obedience to it, ap- • 
pealing to themselves, whether it was not more fit that 44 they 
should obey God rather than them and that they could not 
but 44 testify what they had seen and heard." Nor did they in 
this answer make any undue reflection upon the power of the 
magistrates, and the obedience due to them, it being a ruled case 
by the first dictates of reason, and the common vote and suffrage 
of mankind, that parents and governors are not to be obeyed 
when their commands interfere with the obligations under which 
we stand to a superior power. 1 All authority is originally de- 
rived from God, and our duty to him may not be superseded by 
the laws of any authority deriving from him : and even Socrates 
himself, in a parallel instance, when persuaded to leave off his 
excellent way of institution and instructing youth, and to comply 
with the humour of his Athenian judges to save his life, returned 
this answer : that 44 indeed he loved and honoured the Athenians ; 
but yet resolved to obey God rather than them:" u an answer 
almost the same, both in substance and words, with that which 
was here given by our apostles. In all other cases, where the 
laws of the magistrate did not interfere with the commands of 
Christ, none more loyal, more compliant than they : as indeed 
no religion in the world ever secured the interests of civil au- 
thority like the religion of the gospel. It positively charges 
every soul, of what rank or condition soever, 44 to be subject to 
the higher powers," as a divine ordinance and institution ; and 
that 44 not for wrath only, but for conscience sake it 44 puts 
men in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, and to 
obey magistrates, to submit to every ordinance of man for the 
Lord's sake, both to the king as supreme, and unto governors as 
unto them that are sent by him : for so is the will of God." So 
far is it from allowing us to violate their persons, that it suffers 
us not boldly to censure their actions, 44 to revile the gods, 
despise dominions, and speak evil of dignities or to vilify and 

* Vid. Muson. apud Stob. Serm. 77. de honor, et obed. parent debit p. 458. ubi 
pluribus strenue et eleganter hac de re dissent 0 goer. in. ApoL apud Plat n. U, 

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injure them so much as by a dishonourable thought; com- 
manding us, when we cannot obey, to suffer the most rigorous 
penalties imposed upon us with calmness, and " to possess our 
souls in patience." Thus when these two apostles were shortly 
after again summoned before the council, commanded no more 
to preach the Christian doctrine, and to be scourged for what 
they had done already, though they could not obey the one, 
they cheerfully submitted to the other, without any peevish or 
tart reflections, but went away rejoicing. But what the carriage 
of Christians was in this matter in the first and best ages of the 
gospel, we have in another place sufficiently discovered to the 
world. x We may not withhold our obedience, till the magistrate 
invades God's throne, and countermands his authority, and may 
then appeal to the sense of mankind, whether it be not most rea- 
sonable, that God's authority should first take place, as the apo- 
stles here appealed to their very judges themselves. Nor do we find 
that the Sanhedrim did except against the plea. At least, what- 
ever they thought, yet not daring to punish them for fear of the 
people, they only threatened them, and let them go : who there- 
upon presently returned to the rest of the apostles and believers. 

VIII. The church exceedingly multiplied by these means : 
and that so great a company (most whereof were poor) might be 
maintained, they generally sold their estates, and brought the 
money to the apostles, to be by them deposited in one common 
treasury, and thence distributed according to the several exi- 
gencies of the church : which gave occasion to this dreadful in- 
stance/ Ananias and his wife Sapphira, having taken upon them 
the profession of the gospel, according to the free and generous 
spirit of those times, had consecrated and devoted their estate 
to the honour of God and the necessities of the church; and 
accordingly sold their possessions, and turned them into money. 
But as they were willing to gain the reputation of charitable 
persons, so were they loath wholly to cast themselves upon the 
divine providence, by letting go all at once, and therefore pri- 
vately withheld part of what they had devoted, and bringing 
the rest, laid it at the apostles' feet : hoping herein they might 
deceive the apostles, though immediately guided by the Spirit 
of God. But Peter, at his first coming in, treated Ananias with 
these sharp inquiries: why he would suffer Satan to fill his 

x Prim. Christ, par. iii. c. 4. y Acts v. 1. 

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heart with so big a wickedness, as, by keeping back of his estate, 
to think to " deceive the Holy Ghost !" That before it was 
sold, it was wholly at his own disposure; and after, nt was per- 
fectly in his own power fully to have performed his vow: so 
th at it was capable of no other interpretation, than that herein 
he had not only abused and injured men, but mocked God, and, 
what in him lay, lied to and cheated the Holy Ghost ; who, he 
knew, was privy to the most secret thoughts and purposes of his 
heart. This was no sooner said, but suddenly, to the great terror 
and amazement of all that were present, Ananias was arrested 
with a stroke from heaven, and fell down dead to the ground. 
Not long after, his wife came in, whom Peter entertained 
with the same severe reproofs wherewith he had done her hus- 
band; adding, that the like sad fate and doom should imme- 
diately seize upon her, who thereupon dropped down dead ; as 
she had been copartner with him in the sin, becoming sharer 
with him in the punishment : an instance of great severity, filling 
all that heard of it with fear and terror, and became a seasonable 
prevention of that hypocrisy and dissimulation wherewith many 
might possibly think to have imposed upon the church. 

IX. This severe case being extraordinary, the apostles usually 
exerted their power in such miracles as were more useful and 
beneficial to the world ; curing all manner of diseases, and dis- 
possessing devils : z insomuch that they brought the sick into the 
streets, and laid them upon beds and couches, that at least 
Peter's shadow, as he passed by, might come upon them. These 
astonishing miracles could not but mightily contribute to the 
propagation of the gospel, and convince the world that the apo- 
stles were more considerable persons than they took them for, 
poverty and meanness being no bar to true worth and greatness. 
And, methinks, Erasmus's reflection is here not unseasonable:* 
that no honour or sovereignty, no power or dignity, was com- 
parable to this glory of the apostle ; that the things of Christ, 
though in another way, were more noble and excellent than any 
thing that this world could afford. And therefore he tells us, 
that when he beheld the state and magnificence wherewith pope 
Julius the Second appeared first at Bononia, and then at Borne, 
equalling the triumphs of a Pompey or a Caesar, he could not 
but think how much all this was below the greatness and 

* Acts v. 12. 

* Annot. in loc. 



majesty of St. Peter, who converted the world, not by power or 
armies, not by engines or artifices of pomp and grandeur, but by 
faith in the power of Christ, and drew it to the admiration of 
himself ; and the same state (says he) would no doubt attend 
the apostles'* successors, were they men of the same temper and 
holiness of life. The Jewish rulers, alarmed with this news, and 
awakened with the growing numbers of the church, send to ap- 
prehend the apostles, and cast them into prison. But God, who 
is never wanting to his own cause, sent that night an angel from 
heaven to open the prison doors, commanding them to repair to 
the temple, and to the exercise of their ministry : which they 
did early in the morning, and there taught the people. How 
unsuccessful are the projects of the wisest statesmen, when God 
frowns upon them ! how little do any counsels against heaven 
prosper ! In vain is it to shut the doors, where God is resolved 
to open them: the firmest bars, the strongest chains, cannot 
hold, where once God has designed and decreed our liberty. 
The officers returning the next morning, found the prison shut 
and guarded, but the prisoners gone : wherewith they ac- 
quainted the council, who much wondered at it : but being told 
where the apostles were, they sent to bring them, without any 
noise or violence, before the Sanhedrim ; where the high-priest 
asked them, how they durst go on to propagate that doctrine 
which they had so strictly commanded them not to preach! 
Peter, in the name of the rest, told them, that they must in this 
case "obey God rather than men:" that though they had so 
barbarously and contumeliously treated the Lord Jesus, yet that 
God had raised him up, and exalted him to be a prince and a 
Saviour, to give both " repentance and remission of sins :" that 
they were witnesses of these things, and so were those miracu- 
lous powers which the Holy Ghost conferred upon all true Chris- 
tians. Vexed was the council with this answer, and began to 
consider how to cut them off. But Gamaliel, a grave and learned 
senator, having commanded the apostles to withdraw, bade the 
council take heed what they did to them; putting them in 
mind, that several persons had heretofore raised parties and fac- 
tions, and drawn vast numbers after them ; but that they had 
miscarried, and they and their designs come to nought: that 
therefore they should do well to let these men alone: that if 
their doctrines and designs were merely human, they would in 

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time of themselves fall to the ground ; but if they were of God, 
it was not all their power and policies would be able to defeat 
and overturn them : and that they themselves would herein ap- 
pear to oppose the counsels and designs of heaven. With this 
prudent and rational advice they were satisfied; and having 
commanded the apostles to be scourged, and charged them no 
more to preach this doctrine, restored them to their liberty: 
who, notwithstanding this charge and threatening, returned 
home in a kind of triumph, that they were accounted worthy to 
suffer in so good a cause, and to undergo shame and reproach 
for the sake of so good a master. b Nor could all the hard usage 
they met with from men discourage them in their duty to God, 
or make them less zealous and diligent both publicly and pri- 
vately to preach Christ in every place. 


op st. Peter's acts, from the dispersion of the church at 
jerusalem till his contest with st. paul at antioch. 

The great care of the Diyine Providence over the church. Peter despatched by the 
apostles to confirm the chnrch newly planted at Samaria. His baffling and silencing 
Simon Magus there. His going to Lydda, and curing iEneas. His raising Dorcas at 
Joppa. The vision of all sorts of creatures presented to him, to prepare him for the 
conversion of the Gentiles. His going to Cornelius, and declaring God's readiness to 
receive the Gentiles into the church. The baptizing Cornelius and his family. Peter 
censured by the Jews for conversing with the Gentiles. The mighty prejudices of 
the Jews against the Gentiles noted out of heathen writers. Peter cast into prison by 
Herod Agrippa : miraculously delivered by an angel. His discourse in the synod at 
Jerusalem, that the Gentiles might be received without being put under the obliga- 
tion of the law of Moses. His unworthy compliance with the Jews at Antioch, in 
opposition to the Gentiles, severely checked and resisted by St PauL The ill use 
Porphyry makes of this difference. The conceit of some that it was not Peter the 
apostle, but one of the Seventy. 

The church had been hitherto tossed with gentle storms, but 
now a more violent tempest overtook it, which began in the 
protomartyr Stephen, 6 and was more vigorously carried on 
afterwards ; by occasion whereof the disciples were dispersed : 
and God, who always brings good out of evil, hereby provided 
that the gospel should not be confined only to Jerusalem. 
. b Vid. Arrian. dissert 1. i. c 29. c Acta viii. 1. 

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Hitherto the church had been crowded up within the city Walk, 
and the religion had crept up and down in private corners ; but 
the professors of it being now dispersed abroad by the malice 
and cruelty of their enemies, carried Christianity along with 
them, and propagated it into the neighbour countries, accom- 
plishing hereby an ancient prophecy, d that " out of Sion should 
go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem." 
Thus God overrules the malice of men, and makes intended 
poison to become food or physic. That Divine Providence that 
governs the world, more particularly superintends the affairs 
and interests of his church, so that no weapon formed against 
Israel shall prosper ; curses shall be turned into blessings, and 
that become an eminent means to enlarge and propagate the 
gospel, which they designed as the only way to suppress and 
stifle it. Amongst those that were scattered, Philip the deacon 
was driven down unto Samaria ; where he preached the gospel, 
and confirmed his preaching by many miraculous cures, and dis- 
possessing devils. In this city there was one Simon, who, by 
magic arts and diabolical sorceries sought to advance himself 
into a great fame and reputation with the people, insomuch that 
they generally beheld him as the great power of God ; for so 
the ancients tell us, e he used to style himself, giving out himself 
to be the first and chiefest deity, the Father, who is God over 
all ; that is, that he was that which in every nation was ac- 
counted the supreme deity. This man hearing the sermons, 
and beholding the miracles that were done by Philip, gave up 
himself amongst the number of believers, and was baptized with 
them. The apostles, who yet remained at Jerusalem, having 
heard of the great success of Philip's ministry at Samaria, 
thought good to send some of their number to his assistance ; 
and accordingly deputed Peter and John, who came thither : 
where having prayed for, and laid their hands upon these new 
converts, they presently received the Holy Ghost. Simon the 
magician, observing that by laying on of the apostles' hands 
miraculous gifts were conferred upon men, offered them a con- 
siderable sum of money to invest him with this power, that on 
whom he laid his hands they might receive the Holy Ghost. 
Peter perceiving his rotten and insincere intentions, rejected his 

d Isai. ii. 3. 

e Just. Mart. Apol. L b. 11. Iren. 1. i. c. 20. Tertull. de prescript. Haeret. c. 46. 



impious motion with scorn and detestation : " thy money perish 
with thee" He told him that his heart was naught and hypo- 
critical ; that he could have no share nor portion in so great a 
privilege ; that it more concerned him to repent of so great a 
wickedness, and sincerely seek to God, that so the thought of his 
heart might he forgiven him ; for that he perceived that he had 
a very vicious and corrupt temper and constitution of mind, and 
was as yet bound up under a very wretched and miserable 
state, displeasing to God, and dangerous to himself. The con- 
science of the man was a little startled with this, and he prayed 
the apostles to intercede with heaven, that God would pardon 
his sin, and that none of these things might fall upon him. 
But how little cure this wrought upon him, we shall find else- 
where, when we shall again meet with him afterwards. The 
apostles having thus confirmed the church at Samaria, and 
preached up and down in the villages thereabouts, returned 
back to Jerusalem, to join their counsel and assistance to the 
rest of the apostles. 

II. The storm, though violent, being at length blown over, the 
church enjoyed a time of great calmness and serenity ; during 
which Peter went out to visit the churches lately planted in 
those parts by those disciples who had been dispersed by the 
persecution at Jerusalem. Coming down to Lydda, the first 
thing he did was to work a cure upon one JEneas/ who being 
crippled with the palsy, had lain bed-rid for eight years to- 
gether. Peter coming to him, bade him, in the name of Christ, 
to arise; and the man was immediately restored to perfect 
health : a miracle that was not confined only to his person, for, 
being known abroad, generally brought over the inhabitants of 
that place. The fame of this miracle having flown to Joppa, a 
sea-port town, some six miles thence, the Christians there 
presently sent for Peter upon this occasion. Tabitha, whose 
Greek name was Dorcas, a woman venerable for her piety and 
diffusive charity, was newly dead, to the great lamentation of 
all good men, and much more to the loss of the poor that had 
been relieved by her. Peter, coming to the house, found her 
dressed up for her funeral solemnity, and compassed about with 
the sorrowful widows, who shewed the coats and garments 
wherewith she had clothed them, the badges of her charitable 

f Acts ix. 32. 

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liberality. Peter, shutting all out, kneeled down and prayed, 
and then turning him to the body, commanded her to arise ; and 
lifting her up by the hand, presented her in perfect health to 
her friends, and those that were about her : by which he con- 
firmed many, and converted more to the faith : after which he 
stayed seme considerable time at Joppa, lodging in the house of 
Simon, a tanner* 

III. While he abode in this city, 8 retiring one morning to the 
house-top to pray, (as the Jews frequently did, having thence a 
free and open prospect towards Jerusalem and the temple,) it 
being now near noon, which was the conclusion of one of their 
stated times of prayer, he found himself hungry, and called for 
meat ; but while it was preparing, he himself fell into a trance, 
wherein was presented to him a large sheet let down from 
heaven, containing all sorts of creatures, clean and unclean ; a 
voice at the same time calling to him, that he should rise, kill 
freely, and indifferently feed upon them. Peter, tenacious as yet 
of the rites and institutions of the Mosaic law, rejoined, that he 
could not do it, having never eaten any thing that was common 
or unelean : to which the voice replied, that what God had 
cleansed he should not account or call common : which being 
done thrice, the vessel was again taken up into heaven, and the 
vision presently disappeared. By this symbolic representment, 
though Peter at present knew not what to make of it, God was 
teaching him a new lesson, and preparing him to go upon an 
errand and embassy, which the Spirit at the same time expressly 
commanded him to undertake. While he was in this doubtful 
posture of mind, three messengers knocked at the door, inquiring 
for him, from whom he received this account : that Cornelius, a 
Roman, captain of a band of Italian soldiers at Csesarea, a person 
of great piety and religion, (being a proselyte at the gate, who, 
though not observing an exact conformity to the rites of the 
Mosaic law, did yet maintain some general correspondence with 
it, and lived under the obligation of the seven precepts of the 
sons of Noah,) had by an immediate command from God sent 
for him. The next day, Peter, accompanied with some of the 
brethren, went along with them, and the day after they came to 
Csesarea: against whose arrival Cornelius had summoned his 
friends and kindred to his house. Peter arriving, Cornelius 

s Acts z. 9. 



(who was affected with a mighty reverence for so great a person) 
fell at his feet and worshipped him ; a way of address frequent 
in those eastern countries towards princes and great men, but 
by the Greeks and Romans appropriated as a peculiar honour 
to the gods. Peter, rejecting the honour, as due only to God, 
entered into the house ; where he first made his apology to the 
company, that though they could not but know that it was not 
lawful for a Jew to converse in the duties of religion with those 
of another nation, yet that now God had taught him another 
lesson ; and then proceeded particularly to inquire the reason of 
Cornelius's sending for him. Whereupon Cornelius told him, that 
four days since, being conversant in the duties of fasting and 
prayer, an angel had appeared to him, and told him that his 
prayers and alms were come up for a memorial before God ; that 
he should send to Joppa for one Simon Peter, who lodged in a tan- 
ner's house by the sea-side, who should farther make known his 
mind to him : that accordingly he had sent; and being now come, 
they were there met to hear what he had to say to them. Where 
we see, that though God sent an angel to Cornelius, to acquaint 
him with his will, yet the angel was only to direct him to the 
apostle for instruction in the -faith : which no doubt was done, 
partly that God might put the greater honour upon an institu- 
tion, that was likely to meet with contempt and scorn enough 
from the world ; partly to let us see, that we are not to expect 
extraordinary and miraculous ways of teaching and information, 
where God affords ordinary means. 

IV. Hereupon Peter began this discourse : that by comparing 
things, it was now plain and evident, that the partition-wall 
was broken down ; that God had no longer a particular kindness 
for nations or persons ; that it was not the nation, but the re- 
ligion; not the outward quality of the man, but the inward 
temper of the mind, that recommends men to God ; that the 
devout and the pious, the righteous and the good man, where- 
ever he be, is equally dear to heaven ; b that God has as much 
respect for a just and virtuous man in the wilds of Scythia, as 
upon Mount Sion; that the reconciling and making peace between 
God and man by Jesus Christ, was the doctrine published by the 
prophets of old, and of late, since the times of John, preached 
through Galilee and Judea, viz. that God had anointed and con- 
h Vid.'Hieron. ad Paulin. p. 102. torn. L 




secrated Jesus of Nazareth with divine powers and graces, in the 
exercise whereof he constantly went about to do good to men : 
that they had seen all he had done amongst the Jews, whom 
though they had slain and crucified, yet that God had raised him 
again the third day, and had openly shewed him to his apostles 
and followers, whom he had chosen to be his peculiar witnesses, 
and whom, to that end, he had admitted to eat and drink with 
him after his resurrection, commanding them to preach the gospel 
to mankind, and to testify that he was the person whom God had 
ordained to be the great judge of the world: that all the prophets, 
with one consent, bore witness of him : that this Jesus is he, in 
whose name whosoever believes, should certainly receive remis- 
sion of sins. While Peter was thus preaching to them, the Holy 
Ghost fell upon a great part of his auditory, enabling them to 
speak several languages, and therein to magnify the giver of 
them : whereat the Jews who came along with Peter did suffici- 
ently wonder, to see that the gifts of the Holy Ghost should be 
poured upon the Gentiles. Peter seeing this, told the company* 
that he knew no reason why these persons should not be bap- 
tized, having received the Holy Ghost as well as they ; and ac- 
cordingly commanded them to be baptized : for whose farther 
confirmation he stayed some time longer with them. This act of 
Peter's made a great noise among the apostles and brethren at 
Jerusalem, who, being lately converted from their Judaism, were 
as yet zealous for the religion of their country, and therefore se- 
verely charged Peter, at his return, for his too familiar conversing 
with the Gentiles. 1 See here the powerful prejudice of educa- 
tion. The Jews had, for several ages, conceived a radicated and 
inveterate hatred against the Gentiles : indeed, the law of Moses 
commanded them to be peculiarly kind to their own nation ; and 
the rites and institutions of their religion, and the peculiar form 
of their commonwealth, made them different from the fashion of 
other countries : a separation which in after times they drew 
into a narrower compass. Besides, they were mightily puffed 
up with their external privileges, that they were the seed of 
Abraham, the people whom God had peculiarly chosen for him- 
self, above all other nations of the world, and therefore, with a 
lofty scorn, proudly rejected the Gentiles as dogs and reprobates, 
utterly refusing to shew them any office of common kindness and 

1 Acts xi. l. 

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converse. We find the heathens frequently charging them with 
this rudeness and inhumanity. Juvenal accuses them, k that they 
would not shew a traveller the right way, nor give him a draught 
of water, if he were not of their religion. Tacitus tells us, 1 that 
they had adversus omnes alios hostile odium, " a bitter hatred of 
all other people." Haman represented them to Ahasuerus,"* as 
eOvos afii/CTOv, aavfMpvXov, &c. ; u a people that would never 
kindly mix and correspond with any other, as different in their 
manners as in their laws and religion from other nations.'" The 
friends of Antiochus (as the historian reports") charged them, 
fiovovs airdvTtov eOv&v a/coivavqTovs etvai rr}? irpb? aWo eOvos 
i7rifii^la^ teal TroXejjLiovs viroXafi^dvecv iravra^ jirjSevl aXkqy 
eOvei TpaTrifr? KOLvcovelv to irapamav, firjBe evvoelv, " that they 
alone, of all others, were the most unsociable people under 
heaven : that they held no converse or correspondence with any 
other, but accounted them as their mortal enemies ; that they 
would not eat or drink with men of another nation, no, nor so 
much as wish well to them, their ancestors having leavened them 
with a hatred of all mankind." This was their humour ; and that 
the Gentiles herein did not wrong them, is sufficiently evident 
from their ordinary practice, and is openly avowed by their own 
writings :° nay, at their first coming over to Christianity, though * 
one great design of it was to soften the manners of men, and to 
oblige them to a more extensive and universal charity, yet could 
they hardly quit this common prejudice, quarrelling with Peter 
for no other reason but that he had eaten and drunken with the 
Gentiles ; insomuch that he was forced to apologize for himself, 
and to justify his actions, as immediately done by divine warrant 
and authority. And then, no sooner had he given them a naked 
and impartial account of the whole transaction, from first to 
last, but they presently turned their displeasure against him into 
thanks to God, that had granted to the Gentiles also repentance 
unto life. 

V. It was now about the end of Caligula's reign, when Peter, 
having finished his visitation of the new-planted churches, was 
returned unto Jerusalem. Not long after, Herod Agrippa, grand- 
child to Herod the Great, having attained the kingdom, the 

k Satyr, xiv. 103, 4. 1 Hist. 1. v. c. 4, 5. ™ Ap. Joseph. Ant. Jud. 1. xi. c. 6. 
n Diod. SicuL 1. xxxiv. apud Phot. Cod. CCXLIV. col. 1149. 
e Vid. Maiman. in WH cap. 12. et in Gezelah. cap. 11. 

o 2 



better to ingratiate himself with the people, had lately put St. 
James to death and finding that this gratified the vulgar, 
resolved to send Peter the same way after him. In order where- 
unto he apprehended him, cast him into prison, and set strong 
guards to watch him : the church in the mean time being very 
instant and importunate with heaven for his life and safety. 
The night before his intended execution, God purposely sent an 
angel from heaven, who coming to the prison, found him fast 
asleep between two of his keepers : so soft and secure a pillow 
is a good conscience, even in the confines of death, and the 
greatest danger. The angel raised him up, knocked off his 
chains, bade him gird on his garments, and follow him. He did 
so ; and having passed the first and second watch, and entered 
through the iron-gate into the city, (which opened to them of 
its own accord,) after having passed through one street more, 
the angel departed from him. By this time Peter came to him- 
self, and perceived that it was no vision, but a reality that had 
happened to him. Whereupon he came to Mary's house, where 
the church were met together at prayer for him. Knocking at 
the door, the maid, who came to let him in, perceiving it was his 
voice, ran back to tell them that Peter was at the door : which 
they at first looked upon as nothing but the effect of fright or 
fancy ; but she still affirming it, they concluded that it was his 
angel, or some peculiar messenger sent from him. The door 
being open, they were strangely amazed at the sight of him : 
but he briefly told them the manner of his deliverance, and 
charging them to acquaint the brethren with it, presently with- 
drew into another place. It is easy to imagine what a bustle 
and stir there was the next morning among the keepers of the 
prison, with whom Herod was so much displeased, that he com- 
manded them to be put to death. 

VI. Some time after this, it happened that a controversy 
arising between the Jewish and the Gentile converts, q about the 
observation of the Mosaic law, the minds of men were ex- 
ceedingly disquieted and disturbed with it ; the Jews zealously 
contending for circumcision, and the observance of the ceremonial 
law to be joined with the belief and profession of the gospel, as 
equally necessary to salvation. To compose this difference, the 
best expedient that could be thought on was to call a general 

p Acts xii. 1. i Acts xv. 1. 

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council of the apostles and brethren to meet together at Je- 
rusalem, which was done accordingly, and the case throughly 
scanned and canvassed. At last Peter stood up, and acquainted 
the synod, that God having made choice of him, among all the 
apostles, to be the first that preached the gospel to the Gentiles ; 
God, who was best able to judge of the hearts of men, had borne 
witness to them, that they were accepted of him, by giving them 
his Holy Spirit as well a& he had done to the Jews ; having put 
no difference between the one and the other. That therefore it 
was a tempting and a provoking God, to put a yoke upon the 
necks of the disciples, which neither they themselves nor their 
fathers were able to bear : there being ground enough to believe, 
that the Gentiles as well as the Jews should be saved by the 
grace of the gospel. After some other of the apostles had de- 
clared their judgments in the case, it was unanimously decreed, 
that except the temporary observance of some few particular 
things, equally convenient both for Jew and Gentile, no other 
burthen should be imposed upon them. And so the decrees of 
the council being drawn up into a sy nodical epistle, were sent 
abroad to the several churches, for allaying the heats and con- 
troversies that had been raised about this matter, 

VII. Peter, a while after the celebration of this council, left 
Jerusalem, and came down to Antioch/ where, using the liberty 
which the gospel had given him, he familiarly ate and conversed 
with the Gentile converts, accounting them, now that the " parti- 
tion-wall was broken down," no longer strangers and foreigners, 
" but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of 
God this he had been taught by the vision of the sheet let 
down from heaven ; this had been lately decreed, and he himself 
had promoted and subscribed it in the synod at Jerusalem ; this 
he had before practised towards Cornelius and his family, and 
justified the action to the satisfaction of his accusers ; and this 
he had here freely and innocently done at Antioch, till some of 
the Jewish brethren coming thither, for fear of offending and 
displeasing them, he withdrew his converse with the Gentiles, 
as if it had been unlawful for him to hold communion with un- 
circumcised persons, when yet he knew, and was fully satisfied, 
that our Lord had wholly removed all difference, and broken 
down the wall of separation between Jew and Gentile. In 
which affair, as he himself acted against the light of his own 

* GaLii. 11. 

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mind and judgment, condemning what he had approved, and de- 
stroying what he had before built up, so hereby he confirmed 
the Jewish zealots in their inveterate error, cast infinite scruples 
into the minds of the Gentiles, filling their consciences with 
fears and dissatisfactions, reviving the old feuds and prejudices 
between Jew and Gentile ; by which means many others were 
ensnared; yea, the whole number of Jewish converts followed 
his example, separating themselves from the company of the 
Gentile Christians. Yea, so far did it spread, that Barnabas 
himself was carried away with the stream and torrent of this 
unwarrantable practice. St. Paul, who was at this time come 
to Antioch, unto whom Peter gave the " right hand of fellow- 
ship," acknowledging his apostleship of the circumcision, ob- 
serving these evil and unevangelical actings, resolutely withstood 
Peter to the face, and publicly reproved him as a person worthy 
to be blamed for his gross prevarication in this matter ; severely 
expostulating and reasoning with him, that he who was himself 
a Jew, and thereby under a more immediate obligation to the 
Mosaic law, should cast off that yoke himself, and yet endea- 
vour to impose it upon the Gentiles, who were not in the least 
under any obligation to it : a smart, but an impartial charge ; 
and indeed so remarkable was this carriage of St. Paul towards 
our apostle, that though it set things right for the present, yet 
it made some noise abroad in the world. Yea, Porphyry him- 
self, 5 that acute and subtle enemy of Christianity, makes use of 
it as an argument against them both : charging the one with 
error and falsehood, and the other with rudeness and incivility ; 
and that the whole was but a compact of forgery and deceit, 
while the princes of the church did thus fall out among them- 
selves. And so sensible were some of this in the first ages of 
Christianity, that rather than such a dishonour and disgrace, as 
they accounted it, should be reflected upon Peter, they tell us 
of two several Cephases,* one the apostle, the other one of the 
seventy disciples ; and that it was the last of these that was 
guilty of this prevarication, and whom St. Paul so vigorously 
resisted and reproved at Antioch. But for this plausible and 
well-meant evasion the champions of the Romish church conn 
them no great thanks at this day. Nay, St. Jerome long since 
fully confuted it in his notes upon this place. 

* Apud Hieron. prooera. in Ep. .id Gal. 1 Hieron. Com. in Gal. ii. 

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of st. Peter's acts, from the end of the sacred story till 

Peter's story prosecuted out of ecclesiastical writers. His planting of a church and an 
episcopal see at Antioch, when said to be. His first journey to Rome, and the happi- 
ness it brought to the Roman empire. His preaching in other places, and return to 
Rome. His encounter with Simon Magus. The impostures of the magician. His 
familiarity with the emperors, and the great honours said to be done to him. His 
statue and inscription at Rome. . Peter's victory over him by raising one from the 
dead. Simon attempting to fly, is by Peter's prayers hindered, fells down, and dies. 
Nero's displeasure against Peter, whence. His being cast into prison. His flight 
thence, and being brought back by Christ appearing to him. Crucified with his head 
downwards, and why. The place of his martyrdom and burial. The original and 
greatness of St Peter's church in Rome. His episcopal chair pretended to be still 
kept there. 

Hitherto, in drawing up the life of this great apostle, we have 
had an infallible guide to conduct and lead us : but the sacred 
story breaking off here, forces us to look abroad, and to pick up 
what memoir the ancients have left us in this matter : which 
we shall for the main digest according to the order # wherein 
Baronius and other ecclesiastical writers have disposed the series 
of St. Peter's life ; reserving what is justly questionable, to a 
more particular examination afterward. And that we may pre- 
sent the account more entire and perfect, we must step back a 
little in point of time, that so we may go forward with greater 
advantage. We are to know, therefore, that during the time of 
peace and calmness which the church enjoyed after Saul's per- 
secution, when St. Peter went down to visit the churches, he is 
said to have gone to Antioch, where great numbers of Jews in- 
habited, and there to have planted the Christian faith. That he 
founded a church here, Eusebius expressly tells us; u and by others 
it is said, x that he himself was the first bishop of this see. Sure 
I am that St. Chrysostom7 reckons it one of the greatest honours 
of that city that St. Peter stayed so long there, and that the 
bishops of it succeeded him in that see. The care and pre- 
cedency of the church he had between six and seven years. Not 
that he stayed there all that time, but that having ordered and 

u Chron. ad Ann. Chr. 43. * Ilieron. Comment, in ii. ad Galat. 

y Encom. S. Ignat, Mart. p. 503. torn. i. 




disposed things to the best advantage, he returned to other 
affairs and exigencies of the church : confirming the new planta- 
tions, bringing in Cornelius and his family, and in him the first- 
fruits of the Gentiles'* conversion to the faith of Christ : after 
which he returned unto Jerusalem, where he was imprisoned 
by Herod, and miraculously delivered by an angel sent from 

II. What became of Peter after his deliverance out of prison 
is not certainly known : probably he might preach in some parts 
a little farther distant from Judea, as we are told he did at 
Byzantium/ and in the countries thereabout ; (though, I confess, 
the evidence to me is not convincing.) After this, he resolved 
upon a journey to Rome ; where most agree he arrived about the 
second year of the emperor Claudius. Orosius tells us, a that 
coming to Rome, he brought prosperity along with him to that 
city : for besides several other extraordinary advantages which 
at that time happened to it, this was not the least observable, 
that Camillus Scribonianus, governor of Dalmatia, soliciting the 
army to rebel against the emperor, the eagles, their military 
standard, remained so fast in the ground, that no power nor 
strength was able to pluck them up : with which unusual acci- 
dent the minds of the soldiers were surprised and startled, and 
turning their swords against the author of the sedition, continued 
firm and loyal in their obedience : whereby a dangerous rebellion 
was prevented, likely enough otherwise to have broken out. This 
he ascribes to St. Peter's coming to Rome, and the first planta- 
tion of the Christian faith in that city : heaven beginning more 
particularly to smile upon that place at his first coming thither. 
It is not to be doubted, but that at his first arrival, he disposed 
himself amongst the Jews, his countrymen, who,- ever since the 
time of Augustus, had dwelt in the region beyond Tiber. But 
when afterwards he began to preach to the Gentiles, he was 
forced to change his lodging, and was taken in by one Pudens, 
a senator, lately converted to the faith. Here he closely plied 
his main office and employment to establish Christianity in that 
place. Here, we are told, b he met with Philo the Jew, lately 
come on his second embassy unto Rome, in the behalf of his 

2 Bar. ad Ann. ,Chr. 44. num. 12. Vid. Epist Agap. ad Petr. Hieros. in v. Synod, 
sub Men. Cone. a Hj 8t# j vii. c. 6. 

b Euseb. Hist. Eccl. 1. ii. c. 17. Hieron. de script. Eccl. in Phil. 

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countrymen at Alexandria, and to Lave contracted an intimate 
friendship and acquaintance with him. And now it was, says 
Baronius, c that Peter being mindful of the churches which he had 
founded in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Bithynia, and Asia the 
Less, wrote his first epistle to them, which he probably infers 
hence, that St. Mark being yet with him at the time of the date 
of this epistle, it must be written at least some time this year, 
for that now it was that St. Mark was sent to preach and pro- 
pagate the faith in Egypt. Next to the planting religion at 
Rome, he took care to propagate it in the western parts. And 
to that end, (if we may believe one of those that pretend to be 
his succe8Sors, d ) he sent abroad disciples into several provinces, 
that so u their sound might go into all the earth, and their words 
into the ends of the world." 

III. It happened that after St. Peter had been several years 
at Rome, Claudius, the emperor, taking advantage of some sedi- 
tions and tumults raised by the Jews, by a public edict banished 
them out of Rome. 6 In the number of whom, St. Peter (they 
say) departed thence, and returned back to Jerusalem, where he 
was present at that great apostolical synod, of which before. 
After this we are left under great uncertainties how he disposed 
of himself for many years. Confident we may be, that he was 
not idle, but spent his time sometimes in preaching in the eastern 
parts, sometimes in other parts of the world, as in Africa, Sicily, 
Italy, and other places/ And here it may not be amiss to insert 
a claim in behalf of our own country : Eusebius telling us (as 
Metaphrastes reports it 8 ) that Peter was not only in these 
western parts, but particularly that he was a long time in 
Britain, where he converted many nations to the faith. But we 
had better be without the honour of St. Peter's company, than 
build the story upon so sandy a foundation: Metaphrastes's 
authority being of so little value in this case, that it is slighted 
by the more learned and moderate writers of the church of Rome. 
But wherever it was that St. Peter employed his time, towards the 
letter part of Nero's reign he returned to Rome ; where he found 
the minds of the people strangely bewitched and hardened against 
the embracing of the Christian religion by the subtleties and 

c Ad Ann. 45. num. 16. d Innoc. Ep. i. ad Dec. Eug. 

e Vid. Oros. 1. vil c. 6. f Vid. Innoc. Epist ubi supra. 

k De Petr. et Paul ad diem 29 Jun. num. 23. Vid. etiam n. 10. ibid. 



magic arts of Simon Magus, whom (as we have before related) 
he had formerly baffled at Samaria. This Simon was bora at 
Gitton, a village of Samaria, 1 * bred up in the arts of sorcery and 
divination, and by the help of the diabolical powers performed 
many strange feats of wonder and activity, insomuch that 
people generally looked upon him as some great deity come down 
from heaven : but being discovered and confounded by Peter at 
Samaria, he left the East and fled to Borne ; where, by witch- 
craft and sorceries, he insinuated himself into the favour of the 
people, and at last became very acceptable to the emperors them- 
selves, insomuch that no honour and veneration was too great for 
him. Justin Martyr assures us, 1 that he was honoured as a deity ; 
that a statue was erected to him in the Insula Tyberina, between 
two bridges, with this inscription, simoni deo sancto ; " To 
Simon, the holy God that the Samaritans generally, and very 
many of other nations, did own and worship him as the chief 
principal deity. I know the credit of this inscription is shrewdly 
shaken by some later antiquaries, who tell us, that the good 
father being a Greek, might easily mistake in a Latin inscription, 
or be imposed upon by others; and that the true inscription was 
simoni sango deo fidio, &c, such an inscription being in the 
last age dug up in the Tyberine island, and there preserved to 
this day. It is not impossible but this might be the foundation 
of the story ; but sure I am, that it is not only reported by the 
Martyr, who was himself a Samaritan, and lived but in the next 
age, but by others almost of the same time, Irenseus, k Tertullian, 1 
and by others after them. m It farther deserves to be considered, 
that Justin Martyr was a person of great learning and gravity, in- 
quisitive about matters of this nature ; at this time at Rome, 
where he was capable fully to satisfy himself in the truth of 
things ; that he presented this apology to the emperor and the 
senate of Borne, to whom he would be careful what he said ; and 
who, as they knew whether it was true or no, so, if false, could 
not but ill resent to be so boldly imposed upon by so notorious a 
fable : but, be it as it will, he was highly in favour both with 
the people and their emperors, especially Nero, who was the 
great patron of magicians, and all who maintained secret ways 

h J. Mart. Apol. ii. p. 69—91. Vid. Dial, cum Tryph. p. 349. 

1 Ubi supra, Apol. ii. k Iren. adv. Hser. 1. i. c. 20. p. 115. 1 Tertull. Apol. c. 13. 

m Euseb.l. ii. c. 14. Aug. dc Hueres. in Simon, torn. vi. col. 13. Niceph. 1. ii. c. 14. 

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of commerce with the infernal powers." With him St. Peter 
thought fit in the first place to encounter, 0 and to undeceive 
the people, by discovering the impostures and delusions of that 
wretched man. 

IV. That he did so, is generally affirmed by the ancient 
fathers; 0 who tell us of some particular instances, wherein he 
baffled and confounded him. But because the matter is more 
entirely drawn up by Hegesippus 0 - the younger, an author con- 
temporary with St. Ambrose, if not (which is most probable) St. 
Ambrose himself, we shall from him represent the summary of 
the story. There was at this time at Borne an eminent young 
gentleman, and a kinsman of the emperor's, lately dead. The 
fame which Peter had for raising persons to life, persuaded his 
friends that he might be called : others also prevailing that 
Simon the magician might be sent for, Simon, glad of the 
occasion to magnify himself before the people, propounded to 
Peter, that if he raised the gentleman unto life, then Peter, who 
had so injuriously provoked the " great power of God," (as he 
styled himself,) should lose his life: but if Peter prevailed, he 
himself would submit to the same fate and sentence. Peter 
accepted the terms, and Simon began his charms and enchant- 
ments ; whereat the dead gentleman seemed to move his hand. 
The people that stood by, presently cried out, that he was alive, 
and that' he talked with Simon, and began to fall foul upon 
Peter, for daring to oppose himself against so great a power. 
The apostle entreated their patience ; told them that all this was 
but a phantasm and appearance ; that if Simon was but taken 
from the bed-side, all this pageantry would quickly vanish : who 
being accordingly removed, the body remained without the least 
sign of motion. Peter, standing at a good distance from the 
bed, silently made his address to heaven, and then before them 
all commanded the young gentleman, in the name of the Lord 
Jesus, to arise : who immediately did so, spoke, walked, aud ate, 
and was by Peter restored to his mother. The people who saw 
this, suddenly changed their opinions, and fell upon the magician 
with an intent to stone him: but Peter begged his life; and 

n Vid. Plin. Nat Hist 1. xxx. c 2. 0 Euseb. Hist EccL L ii. c. 14. 

p Damasc. in vit Petr. Cone. voL i. Const Apost L vi. c. 8, 9. Arnob. adv. Gent 
L ii. p. 23. Epiph. Haeres. xxi. c. 1. Sulp. Sev. L ii. p. 137. et alii. 
* Heges. dc Excid. Hieros. 1. iii. c. 2. 

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told them, that it would be a sufficient punishment to him to 
live and see that, in despite of all his power and malice, the 
kingdom of Christ should increase and flourish. The magician 
was inwardly tormented with this defeat, and vexed to see the 
triumph of the apostle; and therefore mustering up all his powers, 
summoned the people, told them that he was offended at the 
Galileans, whose protector and guardian he had been, and there- 
fore set them a day, when he promised that they should see him 
fly up into heaven. At the time appointed he went up to the 
mount of the capitol, and throwing himself from the top of the 
rock, began his flight : a sight which the people entertained 
with great wonder and veneration, affirming that this must be 
the power of God, and not of man. Peter, standing in the 
crowd, prayed to our Lord, that the people might be undeceived, 
and that the vanity of the impostor might be discovered in such 
a way that he himself might be sensible of it. Immediately 
the wings which he had made himself began to fail him, and he 
fell to the ground, miserably bruised and wounded with the fall: 
whence being carried into a neighbouring village, he soon after 
died. This is the story, for the particular circumstances whereof 
the reader must rely upon the credit of my author, the thing in 
general being sufficiently acknowledged by most ancient writers. 
This contest of Peter's with Simon Magus is placed by Eusebius 
under the reign of Claudius, but by the generality both of ancient 
and later authors, it is referred to the reign of Nero. 

V. Such was the end of this miserable and unhappy man : 
which no sooner came to the ears of the emperor, to whom by 
wicked artifices he had endeared himself, but it became an 
occasion of hasteniug Peter's ruin. The emperor probably had 
been before displeased with Peter, not only upon the account of 
the general disagreement and inconformity of his religion, but 
because he had so strictly pressed temperance and chastity/ and 
reclaimed so many women in Rome from a dissolute and vicious 
life, thereby crossing that wanton and lascivious temper, to which 
that prince was so immoderate a slave and vassal. And being 
now by his means robbed of his dear favourite and companion, 
he resolved upon revenge, commanded Peter (as also St. Paul, 
who was at this time at Borne) to be apprehended, and cast into 
the Mamertine prison : where they spent their time in the 

r Vid. Ambr. Orat in Auxent. Ep. L v. p. 125. torn. iii. 



exercises of religion, 3 and especially in preaching to the prisoners, 
and those who resorted to them. And here we may suppose 
it was (if not a little before) that Peter wrote his second epistle 
to the dispersed Jews, wherein he endeavours to confirm them 
in the belief and practice of Christianity, and to fortify them 
against those poisonous and pernicious principles and practices 
which even then began to break in upon the Christian church. 

VI. Nero returning from Achaia, and entering Borne with a 
great deal of pomp and triumph, resolved now the apostles 
should fall as a victim and sacrifice to his cruelty and revenge. 
While the fatal stroke was daily expected, the Christians in 
Borne did by daily prayers and importunities solicit St. Peter to 
make an escape,* and to reserve himself to the uses and services 
of the church. This at first he rejected, as what would ill 
reflect upon his courage and constancy, and argue him to be 
afraid of those sufferings for Christ to which he himself had so 
often persuaded others ; but the prayers and tears of the people 
overcame him, and made him yield. Accordingly, the next 
night, having prayed with and taken his farewell of the brethren, 
he got over the prison wall ; and coming to the city gate, he is 
there said to have met with our Lord, who was just entering 
into the city.. Peter asked him, " Lord, whither art thou going V 
from whom he presently received this answer, " I am come to 
Borne, to be crucified a second time/' By which answer Peter 
apprehended himself to be reproved, and that our Lord meant it 
of his death, that he was to be crucified in his servant. Where- 
upon he went back to the prison, and delivered himself into the 
hands of his keepers, shewing himself most ready and cheerful 
to acquiesce in the will of God. And we are told," that in the 
stone whereon our Lord stood while he talked with Peter, he 
left the impression of his feet ; which stone has been ever since 
preserved as a very sacred relic, and after several translations 
was at length fixed in the church of St. Sebastian the martyr, 
where it is kept and visited with great expressions of reverence 
and devotion at this day. Before his suffering he was, no 
question, scourged, according to the manner of the Bomans, who 
were wont first to whip those malefactors who were adjudged 

" Vid. Martyr. Rom. ad diem 14 Mart p. 165. 

1 Vid. Ambr. ut supra et Heges. de ezcid. Hieros. 1. iii. c. 2. 

u Rom. Subteran. 1. iii. c. 21. n. 15. 

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to the most severe and capital punishments. Having saluted his 
brethren, and especially having, taken his last farewell of St. 
Paul, he was brought out of the prison, and led to the top of 
the Vatican mount, near to Tiber, the place designed for his 
execution. The death he was adjudged to was crucifixion, as 
of all others accounted the most shameful, so the most severe 
and terrible. But he entreated the favour of the officers, that 
he might not be crucified in the ordinary way, but might suffer 
with his head downwards, 1 and his feet up to heaven, affirming 
that he was unworthy to suffer in the same posture wherein his 
Lord had suffered before him. Happy man, (as Chrysostom 
glosses,*) to be set in the readiest posture of travelling from 
earth to heaven. His body being taken from the cross, is said 
to have been embalmed by Marcellinus, the presbyter, after the 
Jewish manner, and was then buried in the Vatican, near the 
Triumphal Way. Over his grave a small church was soon after 
erected ; z which being destroyed by Heliogabalus, his body was 
removed to the cemetery in the Appian Way, two miles from 
Rome ; where it remained till the time of pope Cornelius, who 
reconveyed it to the Vatican, where it rested somewhat ob- 
scurely until the reign of Constantine : who, out of the mighty 
reverence which he had for the Christian religion, caused many 
churches to be built at Rome, but especially rebuilt and enlarged 
the Vatican to the honour of St. Peter; in the doing whereof 
himself is said to have been the first that began to dig the 
foundation, and to have carried thence twelve baskets of rubbish 
with his own hands, in honour, as it should seem, of the twelve 
apostles. He infinitely enriched the church with gifts and 
ornaments, which in every age increased in splendour and riches, 
till it is become one of 4he wonders of the world at this day. 
Of whose glories, stateliness, and beauty, and those many 
venerable monuments of antiquity that are in it,^hey who desire 
to know more, may be plentifully satisfied by Onuphrius.* Only 
one amongst the rest must not be forgotten : there being kept that 
very wooden chair wherein St. Peter sat when he was at Rome, 

* Orig. L iii. in Genes, apud Euseb. Hist. Eccl. L iii. c. 1. Hieron. de Script Eccl. in 
Petr. Heges. de excid. Hieros. 1. iii. c. 2. Prudent. Peristeph. Hymn. xi. in Pass. Pet et 


y Serm. in Petr. et Paul p. 267. torn. vi. 
* Vid. Onuphr. de vii. Urb. Basil, c. 4. 

* Loc. supra laudat 



by the only touching whereof many miracles are said to be 
performed. But, surely, Baronius's wisdom and gravity were 
from home, b when, speaking of this chair, and fearing that here- 
tics would imagine that it might be rotten in so long a time, he 
tells us, that it is no wonder that this chair should be preserved 
so long, when Eusebius affirms, that the wooden chair of St. 
James, bishop of Jerusalem, was extant in the time of Oon- 
stantine. But the cardinal, it seems, forgot to consider, that 
there is some difference between three and sixteen hundred years. 
But of this enough. St. Peter was crucified, according to the 
common computation, in the year of Christ sixty-nine, and the 
thirteenth (or, as Eusebius, the fourteenth) of Nero ; how truly 
may be inquired afterwards. 



The description of St Peter's person. An account of his temper. A natural fervour and 
eagerness predominant in him. Fierceness and animosity peculiarly remarkable in the 
Galileans. The abatements of his zeal and courage. His humility and lowliness of 
mind. His great love to, and zeal for Christ. His constancy and resolution in con- 
fessing of Christ His faithfulness and diligence in his office. His writings, genuine 
and supposititious. His first epistle, what the. design of it What meant by Ba- 
bylon, whence it was dated. His second epistle a long time questioned, and why. 
Difference in the style, no considerable objection. Grotius's conceit of its being 
written by Symeon, bishop of Jerusalem, exploded. A concurrence of circumstances 
to entitle St Peter to it Some things in it referred to, which he had preached at 
Home, particularly the destruction of Jerusalem, written but a little before his death. 
The spurious writings attributed to him, mentioned by the ancients. His Acts. 
GospeL Petri Prcedicatio. His Apocalypse. Judicium Petri. Peter's married re- 
lation. His wife the companion of his travels. Her martyrdom. His daughter 

Having run through the current history of St. Peter's life, it 
may not be amiss in the next place to survey a little his person 
and temper. His body (if we may believe the description given . 
of him by Nicephorus c ) was somewhat slender, of a middle size, 
but rather inclining to tallness ; his complexion very pale, and 
almost white : the hair of his head and beard curled and thick, 

b Ad Ann. 45. num. 11. c Hist. Eccl. 1. ii. c. 37. 

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but withal short ; though St. Jerome tells us, d out of Clemens's 
Periods, that he was bald, which probably might be in his de- 
clining age ; his eyes black, but specked with red, which Ba- 
ronius will have to proceed from his frequent weeping; 6 his 
eye-brows thin, or none at all ; his nose long, but rather broad 
and flat than sharp : such was the case and outside. Let us next 
look inwards, and view the jewel that was within. Take him 
as a man, and there seems to have been a natural eagerness pre- 
dominant in his temper, which as a whetstone sharpened his soul 
for all bold and generous undertakings. It was this in a great 
measure that made him so forward to speak, and to return an- 
swers, sometimes before he had well considered them. f It was 
this made him expose his person to the most eminent dangers, 
promise those great things in behalf of his Master, and resolutely 
draw his sword in his quarrel against a whole band of soldiers, 
and wound the high-priest's servant ; and possibly he had at- 
tempted greater matters, had not our Lord restrained, and 
taken him off by that seasonable check that he gave him. 

II. This temper he owed in a great measure to the genius 
and nature of his country, of which Josephus gives this true 
character^ that it naturally bred in men a certain fierceness 
and animosity, whereby they were fearlessly carried out upon 
any action, and in all things shewed a great strength and courage 
both of mind and body. The Galileans (says he) being fighters 
from their childhood, the men being as seldom overtaken with 
cowardice as their country with want of men. And yet, not- 
withstanding this, his fervour and fierceness had its intervals ; 
there being some times when the paroxisms of his heat and 
courage did intermit, and the man was surprised and betrayed 
by his own fears. Witness his passionate crying out, when he 
was upon the sea in danger of his life, and his fearful deserting 
his Master in the garden ; but especially his carriage in the high- 
priest's hall, when the confident charge of a sorry maid made 
him sink so far beneath himself, and, notwithstanding his great 
and resolute promises, so shamefully deny his Master, and that 
with curses and imprecations. But he was in danger, and pas- 
sion prevailed over his understanding, and " fear betrayed the 

d Com. in Gal. ii. p. 164. vol. ix. ex lib. dicto, Tlpd^eis, seu Tie piotioi T\4rpov. 

e Ad Ann. 69. n. 31. f Chrysost. Horn, xxxii. in Joan. p. 170. 

8 De Bello Jud. L iii. c. 4. 



succours which reason offered and, being intent upon nothing 
but the present safety of his life, he heeded not what he did, 
when he disowned his Master, to save himself; so dangerous is 
it to be left to ourselves, and to have our natural passions let 
loose upon us. 

III. Consider him as a disciple and a Christian, and we shall 
find him exemplary in the great instances of religion. Singular 
his humility and lowliness of mind. With what a passionate 
earnestness, upon the conviction of a miracle, did he beg of our 
Saviour to depart from him: accounting himself not worthy 
that the Son of God should come near so vile a sinner. When 
our Lord, by that wonderful condescension, stooped to wash his 
apostles' feet, he could by no means be persuaded to admit it, 
not thinking it fit that so great a person should submit himself 
to so servile an office towards so mean a person as himself; 
nor could he be induced to accept it, till our Lord was in a 
manner forced to threaten him into obedience. When Cornelius, 
heightened in his apprehensions of him by an immediate com- 
mand from God concerning him, would have entertained him 
with expressions of more than ordinary honour and veneration, 
so far was he from complying with it, that he plainly told him, 
he was no other than such a man as himself. With how much 
candour and modesty does he treat the inferior rulers and mi- 
nisters of the church ? He, upon whom antiquity heaps so many 
honourable titles, styling himself no other than their fellow- 
presbyter. Admirable his love to, and zeal for his Master, 
which he thought he could never express at too high a rate: 
for his sake venturing on the greatest dangers, and exposing 
himself to the most imminent hazards of life. It was in his 
quarrel that he drew his sword against a band of soldiers, and 
an armed multitude ; and it was love to his Master drew him 
into that imprudent advice, that he should seek to save himself, 
and avoid those sufferings that were coming upon him; that 
made him promise and engage so deep, to suffer and die with 
him. Great was his forwardness in owning Christ to be the 
Messiah and Son of God; which drew from our Lord that 
honourable encomium, "Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jonah." 
But greater his courage and constancy in confessing Christ be- 
fore his most inveterate enemies, especially after he had re- 
covered himself of his fall. With how much plainness did he 




tell the Jews at every turn to their very faces, that they were 
the murderers and crucifiers of the Lord of glory? Nay, with 
what an undaunted courage, with what an heroic greatness of 
mind, did he tell that very Sanhedrim, that had sentenced and 
condemned him, that they were guilty of his murder, and that 
they could never be saved any other way than by this very 
Jesus whom they had crucified and put to death ? 

IV. Lastly, let us reflect upon him as an apostle, as a pastor 
and guide of souls. And so we find him faithful and diligent in 
his office, with an infinite zeal endeavouring to instruct the ig- 
norant, reduce the erroneous, to strengthen the weak, and confirm 
the strong, to reclaim the vicious, and " turn souls to righteous- 
ness." We find him taking all opportunities of preaching to the 
people, converting many thousands at once. How many voyages 
and travels did he undergo ? with how unconquerable a patience 
did he endure all conflicts and trials, and surmount all difficulties 
and oppositions, that he might plant and propagate the Christian 
faith ? not thinking much to lay down his own life to promote 
and further it. Nor did he only do his duty himself, but as one 
of the prime superintendents of the church, and as one that was 
sensible of the value and the worth of souls, he was careful to 
put others in mind of theirs, earnestly pressing and persuading 
the pastors and governors of it, " to feed the flock of God, to 
take upon them the rule and inspection of it freely and willingly , r>h 
not out of a sinister end, merely of gaining advantages to them- 
selves, but out of a sincere design of doing good to souls ; that 
they would treat them mildly and gently, and be themselves ex- 
amples of piety and religion to them, as the best way to make 
their ministry successful and effectual. And because he could 
not be always present to teach and warn men, he ceased not by 
letters " to stir up their minds" to the remembrance and practice 
of what they had been taught : a course, he tells them, 1 which 
he was resolved to hold as long as he lived, as " thinking it meet, 
while he was in this tabernacle, to stir them up, by putting them 
in mind of these things ; that so they might be able after his 
decease, to have them always in remembrance." And this may 
lead us to the consideration of those writings which he left be- 
hind him for the benefit of the church. 

V. Now the writings that entitle themselves to this apostle, 

h 1 Pet v. 3, 4. 1 2 Pet. i. 12, 13, 15. 



were either genuine, or supposititious. The genuine writings are 
his two epistles, which make up part of the sacred canon. For 
the first of them, no certain account can be had when it was 
written ; though Baronius and most writers commonly assign it 
to the year of Christ forty-four : but this cannot be, Peter not 
being at Rome (from whence it is supposed to have been written) 
at that time, as we shall see anon. He wrote it to the Jewish 
converts dispersed through Pontus, Galatia, and the countries 
thereabouts, chiefly upon the occasion of that persecution which 
had been raised at Jerusalem ; and accordingly, the main design 
of it is to confirm and comfort them under their present sufferings 
and persecutions, and to direct and instruct them how to carry 
themselves in the several states and relations, both of the civil 
and the Christian life. For the place whence it was written, it is 
expressly dated from Babylon ; but what, or where this Babylon 
is, is not so easy to determine : some think it was Babylon in 
Egypt, and probably Alexandria, and that there Peter preached 
the gospel ; others will have it to have been Babylon, the ancient 
metropolis of Assyria, and where great numbers of Jews dwelt 
ever since the times of their captivities. But we need not send 
Peter on so long an errand, if we embrace the notion of a learned 
man, k who, by Babylon, will figuratively understand Jerusalem, 
no longer now the " holy city, 11 but a kind of spiritual Babylon, in 
which the church of God did at this time groan under great ser- 
vitude and captivity : and this notion of the word he endeavours 
to make good, by calling in to his assistance two of the ancient 
fathers, 1 who so understand that of the prophet, "We have healed 
Babylon, but she was not healed ; 11 where the prophet (say they) 
by Babylon means Jerusalem, as differing nothing from the 
wickedness of the nations, nor conforming itself to the law of God. 
But, generally, the writers of the Romish church, and the more 
moderate of the reformed party, acquiescing herein in the judg- 
ment of antiquity, by Babylon understand Rome ; and so, it is 
plain, St. John calls it in his Revelation," 1 either from its con- 
formity in power and greatness to that ancient city, or from that 
great idolatry which at this time reigned in Rome : and so we may 
suppose St. Peter to have written it from Rome, not long after 
his coming thither, though the precise time be not exactly known. 

k L. Capell. Append, ad Hist. Apost p. 42. 

1 Cyril. Alex, et Procop. Gaz. in Esa. liii. m Chap, xviii. 2, 10, 21. 

P 2 



VI. As for the second epistle, it was not accounted of old of 
equal value and authority with the first, and therefore, for some 
ages, not taken into the sacred canon ; as is expressly affirmed by 
Eusebius," and many of the ancients before him. The ancient 
Syriac church did not receive it ; and accordingly it is not to be 
found in their ancient copies of the New Testament :° yea, those 
of that church at this day do not own it as canonical, but only 
read it privately, as we do the apocryphal books. The greatest 
exception that I can find against it, p was the difference of its 
style from the other epistle ; and therefore it was presumed that 
they were not both written by the same hand. But St. Jerome, 
who tells us the objection, does elsewhere himself return the 
answer, q that the difference in the style and manner of writing 
might very well arise from hence, that St. Peter, according to his 
different circumstances, and the necessity of affairs, was forced 
to use several amanuenses and interpreters; sometimes St. Mark, 
and after his departure some other person ; which might justly 
occasion a difference in the style and character of these epistles : 
not to say, that the same person may vastly alter and vary his 
style, according to the times when, or the persons to whom> or 
the subjects about which he writes, or the temper and disposition 
he is in at the time of writing, or the care that is used in doing 
it. Who sees not the vast difference of Jeremy's writing in his 
prophecy and in his book of Lamentations ? between St. John's 
in his gospel, his epistles, and apocalypse ? How oft does St. 
Paul alter his style in several of his epistles, in some more lofty 
and elegant, in others more rough and harsh S besides hundreds 
of instances that might be given, both in ecclesiastical and foreign 
writers, too obvious to need insisting on in this place. The learned 
Grotius r will have this epistle to have been written by Symeon, 
St. James's immediate successor in the bishopric of Jerusalem, 
and that the word [Peter] was inserted into the title by another 
hand : but, as a judicious person of our own observes, 8 these were 
but his posthume annotations, published by others, and no doubt 
never intended as the deliberate result of that great man's judg- 
ment ; especially since he himself tacitly acknowledges, that all 

n Hist EccL L iii. c. 3. Orig. apud Niceph. 1. v. c. 16. 
° Vid. Edv. Pocock. Praefat ad Epist. Syr. a se edit. 

p Hier. de script. Eccl. in Petr. i Qusest. 11. ad Hedib. torn. iii. p. 151. 

' Annot. in 2 Pet. c. i. ■ Dr. Ham. in Argum. Epist. 

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copies extant at this day read the title and inscription as it is in 
our books. And indeed there is a concurrence of circumstances 
to prove St. Peter to be the author of it : it bears his name in 
the front and title ; yea, somewhat more expressly than the 
former, which has only one, this, both his names. There is a 
passage in it that cannot well relate to any but him : when he tells 
us,* that he was present with Christ in the holy mount ; " when 
he received from God the Father honour and glory ; where he 
heard the voice which came from heaven, from the excellent 
glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." 
This evidently refers to Christ's transfiguration, where none were 
present but Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, neither of which 
were ever thought of to be the author of this epistle. Besides, 
that there is an admirable consent and agreement in many pas- 
sages between these two epistles, as it were easy to shew in par- 
ticular instances. Add to this, that St. Jude, u speaking of the 
" scoffers who should come in the last time, walking after their own 
ungodly lusts," cites this as that which had been " before spoken 
by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ wherein he plainly 
quotes the words of this second epistle of Peter, affirming, 
44 that there should come in the last days scoffers, walking after 
their own lusts."* And that this does agree to Peter, will farther 
appear by this, that he tells us of these scoffers that should come 
in the last days, that is, before the destruction of Jerusalem, (as 
that phrase is often used in the New Testament,) that they should 
say, 44 Where is the promise of his coming ?" which clearly re- 
spects their making light of those threatenings of our Lord, 
whereby he had foretold, that he would shortly come in judg- 
ment for the destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish nation. 
This he now puts them in mind of, as what probably he had before 
told them of viva voce, when he was amongst them : for so we 
find he did elsewhere ; Lactantius assuring us, y 44 that amongst 
many strange and wonderful things which Peter and Paul 
preached at Borne, and left upon record, this was one : that 
within a short time God would send a prince, who should destroy 
the Jews, and lay their cities level with the ground ; straitly be- 
siege them, destroy them with famine, so that they should feed 
upon one another: that their wives and daughters should be 

« 2 Pet. i. 16, 17, 18. u Jude v. 17, 18. 

* 2 Pet iii. 2, 3. * Lib. iv, c. 21. 

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ravished, and their children's brains dashed out before their 
faces : that all things should be laid waste by fire and sword, 
and themselves perpetually banished from their own country : 
and this for their insolent and merciless usage of the innocent 
and dear Son of God." All which, as he observes, came to pass 
soon after their death, when Vespasian came upon the J ews, and 
extinguished both their name and nation. And what Peter here 
foretold at Borne, we need not question but he had done before 
to those Jews to whom he wrote this epistle : wherein he es- 
pecially antidotes them against those corrupt and poisonous prin- 
ciples wherewith many, and especially the followers of Simon 
Magus, began to infect the church of Christ ; and this but a 
little time before his death, as appears from that passage in it, 
where he tells them, 2 " that he knew he must shortly put off his 
earthly tabernacle." 

VII. Besides these divine epistles, there were other suppositi- 
tious writings which in the first ages were fathered upon St. Peter. 
Such was the book called " his Acts," mentioned by Origen, a 
Eusebius, b and others, but rejected by them. Such was his gospel, 
which probably at first was nothing else but the gospel written by 
St. Mark, dictated to him (as is generally thought) by St. Peter : 
and, therefore, as St. Jerome tells us, c said to be his. Though 
in the next age there appeared a book under that title, mentioned 
by Serapion, bishop of Antioch, d and by him at first suffered to 
be read in the church ; but afterwards, upon a more careful 
perusal of it, he rejected it as apocryphal, as it was by others 
after him. Another was the book styled " his Preaching," 
mentioned and quoted both by Clemens Alexandrinus 6 and by 
Origen/ but not acknowledged by them to be genuine; nay, 
expressly said to have been forged by heretics, by an ancient 
author contemporary with St. Cyprian. g The next was his 
Apocalypse, or Revelation, rejected, as Sozomen tells us, h by the 
ancients as spurious, but yet read in some churches in Palestine 
in his time. The last was the book called, " his Judgment," 
which probably was the same with that called Hermes,* or Pastor, 

* Chap. i. 14. * Orig. torn. xx. in Joan. b Euseb. Hist Eccl. 1. iii. c. 3. 
c De Script Eccl in Petr. * Apud Euseb. I vi. c. 12. 

e Strom. L vi. p. 635. et in Excerpt Graec. ex Hypotyp. p. 809, 

f Orig. torn. xiii. in Joan. * De Haeret non rebapt. apud Cypr. p. 142. 

»' Hist. Eccl. 1. vii. c. 19. 

* Vid. Rufin. Exposit. Symbol, inter Oper. Hier. tom.iv. p. 113. 

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a book of good use and esteem in the first times of Christianity, 
and which, as Eusebius tells ns, k was not only frequently cited 
by the ancients, but also publicly read in churches. 

VIII. We shall conclude this section by considering Peter 
with respect to his several relations. That he was married is 
unquestionable, the sacred history mentioning his wife's mother ; 
his wife (might we believe Metaphrastes 1 ) being the daughter 
of Aristobulus, brother to Barnabas the apostle. And though 
St. Jerome would persuade us, m that he left her behind him, 
together with his nets, when he forsook all to follow Christ ; yet 
we know that father too well, to be over-confident upon his word 
in a case of marriage or single life, wherein he is not over-scru- 
pulous sometimes to strain a point, to make his opinion more fair 
and plausible. The best is, we have an infallible authority which 
plainly intimates the contrary, the testimony of St. Paul ; n who 
tells us of Cephas, that " he led about a wife, a sister," along 
with him, who, for the most part, mutually cohabited and lived 
together, for aught that can be proved to the contrary. Clemens 
Alexandrinus gives us this account, 0 though he tells us not the 
time or place ; that Peter, seeing his wife going towards martyr- 
dom, exceedingly rejoiced that she was called to so great an 
honour, and that she was now returning home, encouraging and 
earnestly exhorting her, and calling her by her name, " bade her 
to be mindful of out Lord." Such (says he) was the wedlock of 
that blessed couple, and the perfect disposition and agreement in 
those things that were dearest to them. By her he is said to 
have had a daughter called Petronilla, p (Metaphrastes adds a 
son, q ) how truly I know not. This only is certain, that Clemens 
of Alexandria/ reckons Peter for one of the apostles that was 
married and had children. And surely he who was so good a 
man, and so good an apostle, was as good in the relation both of 
an husband and a father. 

k Hist Eccl. 1. iii. c. 3. 1 Comment de S. Pet apud Sur. ad diem 29 Jun. n. 2. 

m Ep. ad Julian, torn. i. p. 207. 

M 1 Cor. ix. 5. Vid. Clem. Recognit 1. vii. foL 76. p. 2. ° Strom. 1. vii. p. 736. 
p Bar. ad Ann. 60. n. 32. i Ubi supra. r Strom. L iiL p. 448. 





Peter's being at Rome granted in general The account of it given by Baronius, and the 
writers of that church, rejected and disproved. No foundation for it in the history of 
the apostolic acts. No mention of it in St Paul's Epistle to the Romans. No news 
of his being there at St. Paul's coming to Rome, nor intimation of any such thing in 
the several epistles which St. Paul wrote from thence. St Peter's first being at Rome 
inconsistent with the time of the apostolical synod at Jerusalem ; and with an ancient 
tradition, that the apostles were commanded to stay twelve years in Judea after Christ's 
death. A passage out of Clemens Alexandrinus noted and corrected to that purpose. 
Difference among the writers of the Romish church in their accounts. Peter's being 
twenty-five years bishop of Rome, no solid foundation for it in antiquity. The planting 
and governing that church equally attributed to Peter and PauL St Peter, when 
(probably) came to Rome. Different dates of his martyrdom assigned by the ancients. 
A probable account given of it 

It is not my purpose to swim against the stream and current of 
antiquity in denying St. Peter to have been at Rome ; an asser- 
tion easilier perplexed and entangled, than confuted and dis- 
proved : we may grant the main, without doing any great service 
to that church, there being evidence enough to every impartial 
and considering man to spoil that smooth and plausible scheme 
of times, which Baronius and the writers of that church hath 
drawn with so much care and diligence. And in order to this 
we shall first inquire, whether that account which Bellarmine 
and Baronius give us of Peter's being at Borne be tolerably re- 
concileable with the history of the apostles'' acts recorded by St. 
Luke, which will be best done by briefly presenting St. Peter's 
acts in their just series and order of time, and then see what 
countenance and foundation their account can receive from 

II. After our Lord's ascension, we find Peter, for the first year 
at least, staying with the rest of the apostles at Jerusalem. In 
the next year he was sent, together with St. John, by the com- 
mand of the apostles, to Samaria, to preach the gospel to that 
city, and the parts about it. About three years after, St. Paul 
meets him at Jerusalem, with whom he stayed some time. In 
the two following years he visited the late planted churches, 
preached at Lydda and Joppa, where having " tarried many 
days," he thence removed to Caesarea, where he preached to 



and baptized Cornelius and his family : whence, after some time, 
he returned to Jerusalem, where he probably stayed, till cast into 
prison by Herod, and delivered by the angel. After which we 
hear no more of him, till three or four years after we find him in 
the council at Jerusalem : after which he had the contest with 
St. Paul at Antioch, and thenceforward the sacred story is 
altogether silent in this matter : so that in all this time we find 
not the least footstep of any intimation that he went to Borne. 
This Baronius well foresaw, 8 and therefore once and again inserts 
this caution, that St. Luke did not design to record all the 
apostles' acts, and that he has omitted many things which were 
done by Peter: which surely no man ever intended to deny. 
But then that he should omit a matter of such vast moment and 
importance to the whole Christian world, that not one syllable 
should be said of a church planted by Peter at Rome ; a church 
that was to be paramount, the seat of all spiritual power and 
infallibility, and to which all other churches were to veil and do 
homage ; nay, that he should not so much as mention that ever 
he was there, and yet all this said to be done within the time 
he designed to write of, is by no means reasonable to suppose ; 
especially considering, that St. Luke records many of his 
journeys and travels, and his preaching at several places, of far 
less consequence and concernment. Nor let this be thought the 
worse of, because a negative argument, since it carries so much 
rational evidence along with it, that any man, who is not plainly 
biassed by interest, will be satisfied with it. 

III. But let us proceed a little further to inquire, whether we 
can meet any probable footsteps afterwards. About the year 
53, towards the end of Claudius's reign, St. Paul is thought to 
have writ his epistle to the church of Rome, wherein he spends 
the greatest part of one chapter in saluting particular persons 
that were there ; amongst whom it might reasonably have been 
expected, that St. Peter should have had the first place. And 
supposing with Baronius, 1 that Peter at this time might be 
absent from the city, preaching the gospel in some parts in the 
West, yet we are not sure that St. Paul knew of this ; and if 
he did, it is strange that in so large an epistle, wherein he had 
occasion enough, there should be neither direct nor indirect 
mention of him, or of any church there founded by him : nay, 
* Ad Ann. 39. num. 12. ad Ann. 34. num. 285. 1 Ad Ann. 58. num. 51. 

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St. Paul himself intimates, 0 what an earnest desire he had to 
come thither, that he might " impart unto them some spiritual 
gifts, to the end they might be established in the faith for 
which there could have been no such apparent cause, had Peter 
been there so lately, and so long before him. Well, St. Paul 
himself, not many years after, is sent to Borne, Ann. Chr. 56, or, 
as Eusebius, 57, (though Baronius makes it two years after,) 
about the second year of Nero ; when he comes thither, does he 
go to sojourn with Peter, as it is likely he would, had he been 
there ? No ; but dwelt by himself, in his own hired house. No 
sooner was he come, x but he called the chief of the Jews to- 
gether, acquainted them with the cause and end of his coming, 
explains the doctrine of Christianity, which when they rejected, 
he tells them, that " henceforth the salvation of God was sent 
unto the Gentiles," who would hear it, to whom he would now 
address himself : which seems to intimate, that however some 
few of the Gentiles might have been brought over, yet that no 
such harvest had been made before his coming, as might reason- 
ably have been expected from St. Peter's having been so many 
years amongst them. Within the two first years after St. Paul's 
coming to Rome, he wrote epistles to several churches ; to the 
Golossians, Ephesians, Philippians, and one to Philemon ; in 
none whereof there is the least mention of St. Peter, or from 
whence the least probability can be derived that he had been 
there. In that to the Golossians, 7 he tells them, that of the 
Jews at Rome, he had " no other fellow- workers unto the king- 
dom of God, which had been a comfort unto him, save only 
Aristarchus, Marcus, and Jesus who was called J ustus," which 
evidently excludes St. Peter. And in that to Timothy, which 
Baronius confesses to have been written a little before his mar- 
tyrdom, (though probably it was written the same time with the 
rest above mentioned,) he tells him, z that, " at his first answer 
at Rome, no man stood with him, but that all men forsook him 
which we can hardly believe St. Peter would have done, had he 
then been there. He farther tells him, that " only Luke was 
with him that Oresceus was gone to this place, Titus to that, 
and Tychicus left at another. Strange ! that if Peter was at 
this time gone from Rome, St. Paul should take no notice of it 

« Rom. i. 10, 11, 12. x Acts xxviii. 17. 

y Chap. iv. 10, 11. •* 2 Tim. iv. 16. 

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as well as the rest. Was he so inconsiderable a person, as not 
to be worth the remembering? or his errand of so small im- 
portance, as not to deserve a place in St. Paul's account, as well 
as that of Orescens to Galatia, or of Titus to Dalmatia ? Surely, 
the true reason was, that St. Peter as yet had not been at Rome, 
and so there could be no foundation for it, 

IV. It were no hard matter farther to demonstrate the incon- 
sistency of that account which Bellarmine and Baronius give us 
of Peter's being at Rome, from the time of the apostolical synod 
at Jerusalem. For if St. Paul went up to that council fourteen 
years after his own conversion, as he plainly intimates; 8 and 
that he himself was converted anno 35, somewhat less than two 
years after the death of Christ ; then it plainly appears, that this 
council was holden anno 48, in the sixth year of Claudius, if not 
somewhat sooner : for St. Paul's Sia Bexareaadpayv ir&v does not 
necessarily imply, that fourteen years were completely past, Bta 
signifying circa, as well as post, but that it was near about that 
time. This being granted, (and if it be not, it is easy to make 
it good,) then three things, amongst others, will follow from it. 
First, that whereas, according to Bellarmine 5 and Baronius, 0 
St. Peter, after his first coming to Rome, (which they place anno 
44, and the second of Claudius,) was seven years before he re- 
turned thence to the council at Jerusalem, they are strangely 
out in their story, there being but three, or at most four years, 
between his going thither and the celebration of that council. 
Secondly, that when they tell us, d that St. Peter's leaving Rome 
to come to the council, was upon the occasion of the decree of 
Claudius, banishing all Jews out of the city, this can no ways 
be. For Orosius does not only affirm,* but prove it from 
Josephus, that Claudius's decree was published in the ninth year 
of his reign, or Ann. Chr. 51, three years at least after the cele- 
bration of the council. Thirdly, that when Baronius tells us, f 
that the reason why Peter went to Rome after the breaking up 
of the synod, was because Claudius was now dead, he not daring 
to go before for fear of the decree ; this can be no reason at all, 
the council being ended at least three years before that decree 
took place ; so that he might safely have gone thither, without 

a Gal. ii. 1. b Bellarmin. de Rom. Pontif. 1. ii. c. 6. 

c Bar. ad Ann. 39. num. 15. d Bellarmin. ut supra, et Bar. ad Ann. 51. num. 1. 3. 

« Lib. vil c. 6. 

v Ad Ann. 58. num. 51. 



the least danger from it. It might farther be shewed, (if it were 
necessary,) that the account which even they themselves give us, 
is not very consistent with itself : so fatally does a bad cause 
draw men, whether they will or' no, into errors and mistakes. 

V. The truth is, the learned men of that church are not well 
agreed among themselves to give in their verdict in this case. 
And, indeed, how should they, when the thing itself affords no 
solid foundation for it ? Onuphrius, a man of great learning and 
industry in all matters of antiquity, and who (as the writer of 
Baronius's Life informs us g ) designed before Baronius to write the 
history of the church, goes a way by himself in assigning the time 
of St. Peter's founding his see both at Antioch and Rome. h For 
finding, by the account of the sacred story, that Peter did not 
leave Judea for the ten first years after our Lord's ascension, 
and consequently could not in that time erect his see at Antioch, 
he affirms, that he went first to Borne ; whence returning to the 
council at Jerusalem, he thence went to Antioch, where he re- 
mained seven years, till the death of Claudius ; and having spent 
almost the whole reign of Nero in several parts of Europe, re- 
turned, in the last of Nero's reign, to Borne, and there died : an 
opinion for which he is sufficiently chastised by Baronius and 
others of that party. 1 And here I cannot but remark the in- 
genuity (for the learning sufficiently commends itself) of Monfeieur 
Valois, k who freely confesses the mistake of Baronius, Petavius, 
&c, in making Peter go to Borne, anno 44, the second year of 
Claudius, whenas it is plain (says he) from the history of the 
Acts, that Peter went not out of Judea and Syria till the death of 
Herod, Claudil anno 4, two whole years after. Consonant to 
which, as he observes, is what Apollonius, a writer of the second 
century, reports from a tradition current in his time, that the 
apostles did not depart asunder till the twelfth year after Christ's 
ascension, our Lord himself having so commanded them. In con- 
firmation whereof, let me add a passage that I met with in Clemens 
of Alexandria, 1 where from St. Peter he records this speech of our 
Saviour to his apostles, spoken probably either a little before his 
death, or after his resurrection : 'Eav fikv oZv rt? Oekrjar) rov 
*I<rparj\ fA€Tavofj<rai,, Sea rov ovofiaro^ fjuov Tnarevew iwl rov 

* Hier. Barnab. de vit Bar. 1. i. c. 1 8. 

h Onuphr. Annot ad Plat in vit Petr. p. 9. et in Fast 1 Ad Ann. 39. n. 12. 
k Annot ad Euseb. lii.c.16. i Stromat L vi. p. 636. 

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Oeov, a<fyr)0icrovrai avrfi ai dfjuapriat jjuerct, ScoSe/ca erfj' igiX- 
0€T€ €19 rbv /coa/AOV, fMTi Tt9 €?7ri7, ovtc rj/covcrafiev. 44 If any 
Israelite shall repent, and believe in God through my name, his 
sins shall be forgiven him after twelve years. Go ye into the 
world, lest any should say, we have not heard This passage, 
as ordinarily pointed in all editions that I have seen, is scarce 
capable of any tolerable sense : for what is the meaning of a 
penitent Israelite's being pardoned after twelve years? It is 
therefore probable, yea, certain with me, that the stop ought to 
be after afiaprla^ and /jlctu Sa>Se/ca errj joined to the following 
clause, and then the sense will run clear and smooth : 44 If any 
Jew shall repent, and believe the gospel, he shall be pardoned ; 
but after twelve years go ye into all the world, that none may 
pretend that they have not heard the sound of the gospel." The 
apostles were first to preach the gospel to the Jews for some con- 
siderable time, twelve years after Christ's ascension, in and about 
Judea, and then to betake themselves to the provinces of the 
Gentile world, to make known to them the glad tidings of salva- 
tion ; exactly answerable to the tradition mentioned by Apol- 
lonius. Besides, the Ghronicon Alexandrinum tells us, that Peter 
came not to Borne til] the seventh year of Claudius, anno Christi 
49 : so little certainty can there be of any matter, wherein there 
is no truth. Nay, the same excellent man before mentioned does 
not stick elsewhere to profess, 1 " he wonders at Baronius, that 
he should make Peter come from Borne, banished thence by 
Claudius's edict to the synod at Jerusalem, the same year, viz. 
anno Claudii 9 : a thing absolutely inconsistent with that story 
of the apostles' acts, recorded by St. Luke, wherein there is the 
space of no less than three years from the time of that synod to 
the decree of Claudius. It being evident, what he observes, that 
after the celebration of that council, St. Paul went back to 
Antioch, afterwards into Syria and Cilicia, to preach the gospel ; 
thence into Phrygia, Galatia, and Mysia ; from whence he went 
into Macedonia, and first preached at Philippi, then at Thes- 
salonica and Bercea, afterwards stayed some considerable time at 
Athens, and last of all went to Corinth, where he met with 
Aquila and Priscilla, lately come from Italy, banished Borne with 
the rest of the Jews by the decree of Claudius : all which, by an 
m H. Vales. Annot in Euseb. 1. ii. c 18. 

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easy and reasonable computation, can take up no less than three 
years at least. 

VI. That which caused Baroniusto split upon so many rocks, 
was not so much want of seeing them, which a man of his parts 
and industry could not but ia a great measure see, as the 
unhappy necessity of defending those unsound principles which he 
had undertaken to maintain. For being to make good Peter's five 
and twenty years presidency over the church of Borne, he was 
forced to confound times, and dislocate stories, that he might bring 
all his ends together. What foundation this story of Peter's 
being five and twenty years bishop of Rome has in antiquity, I 
find not, unless it sprang from hence, that Eusebius places Peters 
coming to Rome in the second year of Claudius, and his martyr- 
dom in the fourteenth of Nero, between which there is the just 
space of five and twenty years. Whence those that came after 
concluded, that he sat bishop there all that time. It cannot be 
denied, but that in St. Jerome's translation it is expressly said, 
that he continued five and twenty years bishop of that city ; 
but then it is as evident, that this was his own addition, who 
probably set things down as the report went in his time, no such 
thing being to be found in the Greek copy of Eusebius. 0 Nor, 
indeed, does he ever there or elsewhere positively affirm St. Peter 
to have been bishop of Rome, but only that he preached the 
gospel there ; and expressly affirms, 0 that he and St. Paul being 
dead, Linus was the first bishop of Rome. To which I may add, 
that when the ancients speak of the bishops of Rome, and the 
first originals of that church, they equally attribute the founding 
and the episcopacy and government of it to Peter and Paul, 
making the one as much concerned in it as the other. Thus 
Epiphanius, p reckoning up the bishops of that see, places Peter 
and Paul in the front, as the first bishops of Rome : iv 'Pcbfiy 
yap yeyovaai irp&roL Uerpo? koX UavXo9, oi airooToXoi avrol 
zeal iirlaicoTroi, "Peter and Paul, apostles, became the first bishops 
of Rome, then Linus," &c. And again, a little after, rj t£v iv 
e Pd)firj iircafcoircov SiaBo^rf ravrrjv fyec rfjv a/co\ov0iav, " the 
succession of the bishops of Rome was in this manner, Peter and 
Paul, Linus, Cletus," &c. And Hegesippus, q speaking of their 

n Xpov. Kav. ad num. 1050. p. 204. 0 Hist Eccl. 1. iii. c. 2. 

p Contr. Carpocrat. Haeres. xxvii. s. 6. i De excid. Jud. 1. iii. c. 2. 

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coming to Borne, equally says of them, that they were doctores 
Christianorum, sublimes operibus^ clari magisterio, " the instruc- 
tors of the Christians, admirable for miracles, and renowned for 
their authority However, granting not only that he was there, 
but that he was bishop, and that for five and twenty years 
together, yet what would this make for the unlimited sovereignty 
and universality of that church, unless a better evidence than 
" feed my sheep " could be produced for its uncontrollable supre- 
macy and dominion over the whole Christian world ? 

VII. The sum is this : granting, what none that has any reve- 
rence for antiquity will deny, that St. Peter was at Rome, he 
probably came thither some few years before his death, joined 
with and assisted St. Paul in preaching of the gospel, and then 
both sealed the testimony of it with their blood. The date of 
bis death is differently assigned by the ancients. Eusebius 
places it anno 69/ in the fourteenth of Nero ; Epipbanius in the 
twelfth. 8 That which seems to me most probable is, that it was 
in the tenth, or the year 65, which I thus compute : Nero's 
burning of Rome is placed by Tacitus,* under the consulship of 
C. Lecanius and M. Licinius, about the month of July, that is, 
Ann. Chr. 64. This act procured him the infinite hatred and 
clamours of the people, which having in vain endeavoured several 
ways to remove and pacify, he at last resolved upon this project, 
to derive the odium upon the Christians ; whom, therefore, both 
to appease the gods and please the people, he condemned as 
guilty of the fact, and caused to be executed with all manner of 
acute and exquisite tortures. This persecution we may suppose 
began about the end of that, or the beginning of the following 
year. And under this persecution, I doubt not, it was, that 
St. Peter suffered, and changed earth for heaven. 



St. Peter's being at Rome unjustly questioned. The thing itself sufficiently attested by 
the authority of the ancients. The express testimonies of Papias, Irenseus, Dionysius 
of Corinth, Clemens Alexandrinus, Tertullian, Caius, and Origen, produced to that pur- 
pose. The exceptions made to these testimonies shewed to be weak and trifling by a 

r Chron. p. 162. * Haeres. xxvii. s. 6. 1 Annal. 1. xv. c. 38, 41. 



particular examination of each of them. A good cause needs not be supported by in- 
direct methods. The church of Rome not much advantaged by allowing this story. 
The needless questioning a story so well attested makes way for shaking the faith of 
all ancient history. 

Finding the truth of what is supposed and granted in the fore- 
going section, to wit, St. Peter s going to, and suffering at Borne, 
not only doubted of heretofore in the beginning of the Reforma- 
tion, while the paths of antiquity were legs frequent and beaten 
out, but now again lately in this broad day-light of ecclesiastical 
knowledge not only called in question, but exploded as most vain 
and fabulous, and that especially by a foreign professor" of name 
and note ; it may not be amiss, having the opportunity of this 
impression, to make some few remarks for the better clearing of 
this matter. 

II. And first, I observe that this matter of fact is attested by 
witnesses of the most remote antiquity, persons of great emi- 
nency and authority, and who lived near enough to those times 
to know the truth and certainty of those things which they re- 
ported. And perhaps there is scarce any one piece of ancient 
church-history, for which there is more clear, full, and constant 
evidence, than there is for this. Not to insist on that passage 
of Ignatius,* in his epistle to the Romans, which seems yet to 
look this way; it is expressly asserted by Papias, bishop of 
Hierapolis in Phrygia, who (as Irenseus tells us y ) was scholar to 
St. John, and fellow-pupil with St. Polycarp ; and though we 
should with Eusebius suppose, 2 that it was not St. John the 
apostle, whose scholar he was, but another, surnamed the Elder, 
that lived at Ephesus, yet will this set him very little lower in 
point of time. Now Papias says, a not only that St. Peter was at 
Rome, and preached the Christian faith there, but that he wrote 
thence his first epistle, and by his authority confirmed the gospel, 
which St. Mark, his disciple and follower, at the request of the 
Romans, had drawn up. And that we may see that he did not 
carelessly take up these things as common hearsays, it was his 

u Fred. Spanhem. Diss, de temere credita Petri in urh. Romam profectione. Lugd. 
Bat. edit. 1679. vid. etiam Brutum Fulmen, or observations on the Bull against Q. Mix. 
p. 88. etc. Lond. 1681. 

x Oi>x &s Tl4rpos Kai Tlav\os 9iardcr<xofxai iiccTroi 'AirArroAo*, Kardxptros. 

Ep. ad Rom. p. 23. 

y Advers. Haeres. 1. v. c. 33. p. 498. * Hist. Eccl. 1. iii. c. 39. 

a Ap. Euseb. ibid. 1. ii. c. 15. 



custom, wherever he met with any that had conversed with the 
apostles, to pick up what memoirs he could meet with concerning 
them, and particularly to inquire what Andrew, what Peter, 
what Philip, what Thomas, or James, or the rest of the disciples 
of our Lord, had either said or done : which sufficiently shews 
what care he took to derive the most accurate notices of these 

III. Next Papias comes Irenaeus, a man, as St. Jerome styles 
him, b of the apostolic times, and was, he tells us, Papias's own 
scholar: however, it is certain from his own account 0 that he 
was disciple to St. Polycarp, a man famous for his learning, pru- 
dence, gravity, and piety, throughout the whole Christian world. 
Ahout the year 179, he was made bishop of the metropolitan 
church of Lyons in France, a little before which he had been 
despatched upon a message to Home, and had conversed with 
the great men there. Now his testimony in this case is uncon- 
trollable ; for he says, that Peter and Paul preached the gospel 
at Rome, d and founded a church there; and elsewhere, that the 
great and most ancient church of Borne was founded and con- 
stituted by the two glorious apostles Peter and Paul ; e and that 
these blessed apostles, having founded this church, delivered the 
episcopal care of it over unto Linus. Contemporary with Irenaeus, 
or rather a little before him, was Dionysius, bishop of Corinth, a 
man of singular eminency and authority in those times, who in 
an epistle which he wrote to the church of Rome/ compares the 
plantation of Christianity, which Peter and Paul had made, both 
at Rome and Corinth ; and says farther, that after they had 
sown the seeds of the evangelical doctrine at Corinth, they went 
together into Italy, where they taught the faith, and suffered 

IV. Toward the latter end of the second century flourished 
Clemens of Alexandria, presbyter of that church, and regent of 
the catechetic school there; who, in his book of Institutions, gives 
the very same testimony which we quoted from Papias before ; g 
they being both brought in by Eusebius as joint-evidence in this 
matter. Tertullian, who lived much about the same time at 
Carthage that Clemens did at Alexandria, and had been, as is 

b Epist ad Theodor. p. 196. c Ap. Euseb. Hist Eccl. 1. v. c 20. 

d Adv. Hseres. L iii. c. 1. e Ibid. c. 3. 

f Ap. Euseb. Hist Eccl. 1. ii. c. 25. * Loc. supra citato. 




probable, more than once at Borne, affirms most expressly more 
than once and again, b that the church of Borne was happy in 
having its doctrine sealed with apostolic blood, and that Peter 
was crucified in that place ; or, as he expresses it, passioni Domi- 
nicce adcequatus: that Peter baptized in Tiber, 1 as John the 
Baptist had done in Jordan, and elsewhere ; that when Nero first 
dyed the yet tender faith at Bome with the blood of its pro- 
fessors, k then it was that Peter was girt by another, and bound 
to the cross. 

V. Next to Tertullian succeeds Caius, an ecclesiastical person, 
as Eusebius calls him, flourishing anno 214, in the time of pope 
Zephyrin ; who in a book which he wrote against Proclus, one 
of the heads of the Cataphrygian sect, speaking concerning the 
places where the bodies of St. Peter and St. Paul were buried, 
has these words, 1 "I am able to shew the very tombs of the 
apostles ; for whether you go into the Vatican, or into the Via 
Ostiensis, you will meet with the sepulchres of those that founded 
that church," meaning the church of Bome. The last witness 
whom I shall produce in this case is Origen, a man justly reve- 
renced for his great learning and piety, and who took a journey 
to Bome while pope Zephyrin yet lived, on purpose, as himself 
tells us, m to behold that church, so venerable for its antiquity ; 
and therefore cannot but be supposed to have been very in- 
quisitive to satisfy himself in all, especially the ecclesiastical 
antiquities of that place. Now he expressly says of Peter, n that 
after he had preached to the dispersed Jews of the Eastern 
parts, he came at last to Bome, where, according to his own re- 
quest, he was crucified with his head downwards. Lower than 
Origen I need not descend, it being granted by those who op- 
pose this story, 0 that in the time of Origen, the report of St. 
Peters going to, and suffering martyrdom at Bome, was com- 
monly received in the Christian church. And now I would fain 
know, what one passage of those ancient times can be proved 
either by more, or by more considerable evidence than this is: 
and indeed, considering how small a portion of the writings of 
those first ages of the church has been transmitted to us, there 

h De prescript. Haeret c. 36. 1 De Baptism, c. 4. 

k Scorpiac. c. ult 1 Ap. Euseb. Hist Eccl. L ii. c. 25. 

m Ibid. 1. vi. c. 14. n Vol. iii. Exposit in Gen. ap. Euseb. 1. iii. c. 1. 

° Spanh. Diss, de temere credita Petri in Urb. Romam profectione, c. 3. n. 34,. 35. 

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is much greater cause rather to wonder that we should have so 
many witnesses in this case, than that we have no more. 

VI. Secondly, I observe, that the arguments brought to shake 
the credit of this story, and the exceptions made to these ancient 
testimonies, are very weak and trifling, and altogether unbecoming 
the learning and gravity of those that make them. For argu- 
ments against it, what can be more weak and inconcluding than 
to assert the fabulousness of this story, p because no mention is 
made of it by St. Luke in the apostolical history, no footsteps 
of it to be found in any of St. Paul's epistles written from Borne ; 
as if he might not come thither time enough after the accounts 
of the sacred story do expire : that St. Peter was never at Rome, q 
because Clemens Romanus says nothing of it in his epistle to the 
Corinthians, when yet he mentions St. Paul's coming to the 
bounds of the West ; and what yet is more absurd, because no 
notice is taken of it by the Roman historians who wrote the acts 
of that age, r especially Tacitus, Suetonius, and Dio ; as* if these 
great writers had had nothing else to do but to fill their com- 
mentaries with accounts concerning Christians, whom, it is plain, 
they despised and scorned, and looked upon as a contemptible, 
execrable sort of men, and therefore very little beside the bare 
mention of them, and that too but rarely, is to be met with in 
any of their writings ; much less can it be expected that they 
should give an account of the accidents and circumstances of 
particular Christians : besides that, this whole way of reasoning 
is negative, and purely depends upon the silence of some few 
authors, which can signify nothing, where there is such a current 
and uncontrollable tradition, and so many positive authorities to 
the contrary : and yet these are the best, and almost only argu- 
ments that are offered in this matter. 

VII. And of no greater force or weight are the exceptions 
made to the testimonies of the ancients, which we have produced, 
as will appear by a summary enumeration of the most material 
of them. Against Papias's evidence it is excepted, 8 that he was 
S<t>68pa <rfii/cpb$ tov vovv, as Eusebius characters him, " a man of 
a very weak and undiscerning judgment," and that he derived 
several things strange and unheard-of from mere tradition. But 
all this is said of him by Eusebius only upon the account of some 

p Id. ibid. c. 2. n. 3. i Ibid. n. 16. 

r Ibid. n. 17. • Ibid. c. 3. n. 8. 



doctrinal principles and opinions, and some rash and absurd ex- 
positions of our Saviours doctrine, carelessly taken up from 
others, and handed down without due examination ; particularly 
his millenary, or chiliastic notions : but what is this to invalidate 
his testimony in the case before us, a matter of a quite different 
nature from those mentioned by Eusebius ? May not a man be 
mistaken in abstruse speculations, and yet be fit enough to judge 
in ordinary cases ? as if none but a man of acute parts and a 
subtle apprehension, one able to pierce into the reasons, consist- 
ency, and consequences of doctrinal conclusions, were capable to 
deliver down matters of fact, things fresh in memory, done within 
much less than an hundred years, in themselves highly probable, 
and wherein no interest could be served, either for him to deceive 
others, or for others to deceive him. 

VIII. Against Irenaeus it is put in bar, that he gave not this 
testimony till after his return from Rome,' that is, about an 
hundred and forty years after St. Peter's first pretended coming 
thither ; which is no great abatement in a testimony of so remote 
antiquity, when they had so many evidences and opportunities 
of satisfying themselves in the truth of things which to us are 
utterly lost ; that before his times, many frivolous traditions began 
to take place, and that he himself is sometimes mistaken : the 
proper inference from which, if pursued to its just issue, must be 
this, either that he is always mistaken, or at least that he is so 
in this. 

IX. The authority of Dionysius of Corinth is thrown off with 
this : u that it is of no greater value than that of Irenaeus ; that 
churches then began to emulate each other, by pretending to be 
of apostolical foundation ; and that Dionysius herein consulted 
the honour of his own church, by deriving upon it the authority 
of those two great apostles Peter and Paul, and in that respect 
setting it on the same level with Borne ; which yet is a mere sug- 
gestion of his own, and so far as it respects Dionysius, is said 
without any just warrant from antiquity : besides, his testimony 
itself is called in question,* for affirming that Peter and Paul 
went together from Corinth into Italy, and there taught, and 
suffered martyrdom at the same time. Against their coming 
together to Corinth, and thence passing into Italy, nothing is 

1 Spanh. Diss, de teroere credita Petri in Urb. Romara profectione, c. 3. n. 20. 
» Ibid. n. 26. * Ibid. n. 27. 

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brought, but that the account which St. Luke gives of the travels 
and preachings of these apostles is not consistent with St. Peter's 
coming to Rome under Claudius ; which let them look to, whose 
interest it is that it should be so, I mean them of the church of 
Rome. And for his saying that they suffered martyrdom icara 
tov avrbv icaipov, " at the same time," it does not necessarily 
imply their suffering the same day and year, but admits of some 
considerable distance of time ; it being elsewhere granted by our 
author,* that this phrase, Kara tovtov tov /epovov, is oft used in 
Josephus in a lax sense, as including what happened within the 
compass of some years. 

X. To enervate the testimony of Clemens Alexandrinus, it is 
said, 2 (with how little pretence of reason, let any man judge,) 
that Eusebius quotes it out of a book of Clemens that is now 
lost, and that he tells us not whence St. Clemens derived the 
report ; that abundance of apocryphal writings were extant in 
his time, and that he himself inserts a great many frivolous 
traditions into his writings : which if it were granted, would do 
no service in this cause, unless it were asserted that all things he 
says are doubtful or fabulous because some few are so. 

XI. Much after the same rate it is argued against Tertullian, a 
that he was a man of great credulity ; that he sets down some 
passages concerning St. John which are not related by other 
writers of those times; that he was mistaken in our Saviour's 
age at the time of his passion ; b that he was imposed upon in 
the account which he says Tiberius the emperor sent to the 
senate concerning Christ ; which, forsooth, must needs be false, 
because no mention is made of it by Suetonius, Tacitus, or Dio. 

XII. The exceptions to Caius are no whit stronger than the 
former, viz. that he flourished but in the beginning of the third 
century, 0 when many false reports were set on foot, and that it 
is not reasonable to believe that, in those times of persecution 
the tombs of the apostles should be undefaced, and had in such 
public honour and veneration : as if the places where the 
apostles were buried could not be familiarly known to Chris- 
tians, without being commonly shewn to their heathen perse- 

y Dissert, de Anno Convers. Paul. n. 17. 
z Spanh. Diss, ut supra, c. 3. n. 7. 
b Ibid. n. 32. 

» Ibid. n. 31. 
c Ibid. n. 28, 29. 

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cntors, or without erecting pompous and stately monuments over 
their graves, to provoke the rage and malice of their enemies to 
fall foul upon them. 

XIII. Against Origen nothing is pretended, but what is no- 
toriously vain and frivolous ; d as that perhaps his reports con- 
cerning the travels of the apostles are not sufficiently certain ; 
that in some other cases he produces testimonies out of apocry- 
phal writings ; and that many things are reported concerning 
himself, which are at best obscure and ambiguous; and that 
Baronius and Valesius cannot agree about the time of his journey 
to Borne. I have but lightly touched upon most of these ex- 
ceptions, because the very mention of them is enough to super- 
sede a studied and operose confutation : and indeed they are 
generally such as may with equal force be levelled almost against 
any ancient history. 

XIV. Thirdly, I observe how far zeal, even for the best cause, 
may sometimes transport learned men to secure it by undue and 
imprudent methods, and such as one would think were made 
use of rather to shew the acumen and subtlety of the author, 
than any strength or cogency in the arguments. Plain it is, 
that they who set themselves to undermine this story, design 
therein to serve the interests of the Protestant cause, against 
the vain and unjust pretences of the see of Borne, and utterly to 
subvert the very foundations of that title whereby they lay claim 
to St. Peter's power. This indeed, could it be fairly made good, 
and without offering violence to the authority of those ancient 
and venerable sages of the Christian church, would give a mortal 
blow to the Bomish cause, and free us from several of their 
groundless and sophistical allegations. But when this cannot be 
done without calling in question the first and most early records 
of the church, and throwing off the authority of the ancients, 
non tali auxilio, truth needs no such weapons to defend itself, 
but is able to stand up, and triumph in its own strength, without 
calling in such indirect artifices to support it. We can safely 
grant the main of the story, that St. Peter did go to Bome, and 
came thither iv reXei, (as Origen expressly says he did, e ) about 
the latter end of his life, and there suffered martyrdom for the 
faith of Christ: and yet this is no disadvantage to ourselves; nay, 

d Spanh. Diss, ut supra, c 3. n. 34. e Expos, in Genes, ubi supra. 

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it is that which utterly confounds all their accounts of things, 
and proves their pretended story of St. Peter's being twenty-five 
years bishop of that see to be not only vain, but false, as has 
been sufficiently shewn in the foregoing section. But to deny 
that St. Peter ever was at Rome, contrary to the whole stream 
and current of antiquity/ and the unanimous consent of the 
most early writers, and that merely upon little surmises, and 
trifling cavils ; and in order thereunto to treat the reverend 
fathers, whose memories have ever been dear and sacred in the 
Christian church, with rude reflexions and spiteful insinuations, 
is a course I confess not over ingenuous, and might give too much 
occasion to our adversaries of the church of Rome to charge us 
(as they sometimes do, falsely enough) with a neglect of an- 
tiquity and contempt of the fathers ; but that it is notoriously 
known, that all the great names of the Protestant party, men 
most celebrated for learning and piety, have always paid a most 
just deference and veneration to antiquity, and upon that account 
have freely allowed this story of St. Peter's going to Rome, as 
our author, who opposes it, is forced to grant. 8 

XV. Fourthly, it deserves to be considered, whether the 
needless questioning a story so well attested, may not in time 
open too wide a gap to shake the credit of all history. For if 
things done at so remote a distance of time, and which have all 
the evidence that can be desired to make them good, may be 
doubted of or denied, merely for the sake of some few weak and 
insignificant exceptions which may be made against them, what 
is there that can be secure ? There are few passages of ancient 
history, against which a man of wit and parts may not start 
some objections, either from the writers of them, or from the 
account of the things themselves ; and shall they therefore be 
presently discarded, or condemned to the number of the false or 
fabulous ? If this liberty be indulged, farewell church-history ; 
nay, it is to be feared, whether the sacred story will be able 
long to maintain its divine authority. We live in an age of 
great scepticism and infidelity, wherein men have in a great 
measure put off the reverence due to sacred things ; and witty 

f Vid. J. G. Voss. Harm. Evangel. 1. iii c. 4. et Chamier. Panstrat. Cath. de R. Pontif, 
1. xiii. c. 4. 

* Spanh. Diss, ut supra, c. 1. n. 11. 

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men seem much delighted to hunt out objections, bestow their 
censures, expose the credit of former ages, and to believe little 
but what themselves either see or hear. And therefore it 
will become wise and good men to be very tender, how they 
loosen, much more " remove the old land-marks, which the 
fathers have set, " lest we run ourselves, before we be aware, 
into a labyrinth and confusion, from whence it will not be easy 
to get out. 

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St Paul, why placed next Peter. Tarsus the place of his birth ; an university, and a 
Roman corporation. His parents of the old stock of Israel ; descended of the tribe of 
Benjamin. Jacob's prophecy applied to him by the ancients. His names: Saul, 
-whence ; Paul, when assumed, and why. His education in the schools of Tarsus, and 
in the trade of tent-making. The custom of the Jews in bringing up their youth to 
manual trades. His study of the law under the tutorage of Gamaliel. This Gamaliel, 
who. Why said to have been a Christian. Sitting at the feet of their masters, the 
posture of learners. His joining himself to the sect of the Pharisees. An inquiry into 
the temper and manners of that sect The fiery zeal and activity of his temper. His 
being engaged in Stephen's martyrdom. His violent persecution of the church. His 
journey to Damascus. His conversion by the way, and the manner of it His blind- 
ness. His rapture into the third heaven, when (probably.) His sight restored. His 
being baptized, and preaching Christ 

Though St. Paul was none of the twelve apostles, yet had he the 
honour of being an apostle extraordinary, and to be immediately 
called in a way peculiar to himself. He justly deserves a place 
next St. Peter ; for as " in their lives they were pleasant and 
lovely,*" so " in their death they were not divided i° especially if 
it be true, that they both suffered not only for the same cause, 
but at the same time as well as place. St. Paul was born at 
Tarsus, the metropolis of Gilicia: a city infinitely rich and 
populous, and what contributed more to the fame and honour of 
it, an academy, furnished with schools of learning, where the 
scholars so closely plied their studies, that, as Strabo informs us, a 
they excelled in all arts of polite learning and philosophy those 
of other places, yea, even of Alexandria and Athens itself ; and 
that even Rome was beholden to it for many of its best profes- 
sors. It was a Roman municipium, or free corporation, invested 
with many franchises and privileges by J ulius Csesar and Augus- 
tus, who granted to the inhabitants of it the honours and im- 

« Geograph. 1. xiv. p. 403. 



munities of citizens of Rome. In which respect St. Paul owned 
and asserted it as the privilege of his birth-right, b that he was 
a Roman, and thereby free from being bound or beaten. True 
it is, that St. Jerome 0 (followed herein by one d who himself 
travelled in these parts^ makes him born at Gischalis, a well- 
fortified town in Judea ; which being besieged and taken by the 
Roman army, his parents fled away with him, and dwelt at 
Tarsus. But besides that this contradicts St. Paul, who expressly 
affirms, that he was born at Tarsus, there needs no more to con- 
fute this opinion, than that St. Jerome elsewhere slights it as a 
fabulous report. 6 

II. His parents were Jews, and that of the ancient stock, not 
entering in by the gate of proselytism, but originally descended 
from that nation, which surely he means, when he says, that he 
"was an Hebrew of the Hebrews,'" either because both his 
parents were Jews, or rather that all his ancestors had been so. 
They belonged to the tribe of Benjamin, whose founder was the 
youngest son of the old patriarch Jacob, who thus prophesied of 
him : f " Benjamin shall raven as a wolf, in the morning he shall 
devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil.'" This 
prophetical character, Tertullian, 8 and others after him, will have 
to be accomplished in our apostle. As a " ravening wolf in the 
morning devouring the prey that is, as a persecutor of the 
churches, in the first part of his life destroying the flock of God : 
" in the evening dividing the spoil that is, in his declining and 
reduced age, as doctor of the nations, feeding and distributing 
to Christ's sheep. 

III. We find him described by two names in scripture, one 
Hebrew and the other Latin; probably referring both to his 
Jewish and Roman capacity and relation. The one Saul, 
a name frequent and common in the tribe of Benjamin ever 
since the first king of Israel, who was of that name, was chosen 
out of that tribe ; in memory whereof they were wont to give 
their children this name at their circumcision. His other name 
was Paul, assumed by him, as some think, at his conversion, 
to denote his humility; as others, in memory of his convert- 
ing Sergius Paulus, the Roman governor, in imitation of the 

b Acts xxii. 25, 26. c j) e Script EccL in Paul. 

d Bellbn. Observ. L ii. c 99. e Com. in Philem. p. 263. torn. ix. 

' Gen. xlix. 27. 8 Adv. Marc L v. c. 1. 

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generals and emperors of Borne, who were wont, from the 
places and nations that they conquered, to assume the name, 
as an additional honour and title to themselves; as Scipio 
Africanus, Caesar Germanicus, Parthicus, Sarmaticus, &c. But 
this seems noway consistent with the great humility of this 
apostle. More probable, therefore, it is, what Origen thinks, 11 
that he had a double name given him at his circumcision : 
Saul, relating to his Jewish original; and Paul, referring to 
the Roman corporation, where he was born. And this the 
scripture seems to favour, when it says, " Saul, who also is called 
Paul.'" * And this, perhaps, may be the reason why St. Luke, 
so long as he speaks of him as conversant among the Jews in 
Syria, styles him Saul ; but afterwards, when he left those parts 
and went among the Gentiles, he gives him the name of Paul, as a 
name more frequent and familiarly known to them. And for the 
same reason, no doubt, he constantly calls himself by that name 
in all his epistles written to the Gentile churches. Or if it was 
taken up by him afterwards, it was probably done at his conver- 
sion, according to the custom and manner of the Hebrews ; who 
used many times, upon solemn and eminent occasions, especially 
upon their entering upon a more strict and religious course of 
life, to change their names, and assume one which they had not 

IV. In his youth he was brought up in the schools of Tarsus, 
fully instructed in all the liberal arts and sciences, whereby he 
became admirably acquainted with foreign and external authors. 
Together with which he was brought up to a particular trade and 
course of life ; according to the great maxim and principle of the 
Jews, that " he who teaches not his son a trade, teaches him to 
be a thief.' 1 k They thought it not only fit, but a necessary part 
of education, for their wisest and most learned rabbins to be 
brought up to a manual trade ; whereby, if occasion was, they 
might be able to maintain themselves. Hence (as Drusius ob- 
serves 1 ) nothing more common in their writings, than to have 
them denominated from their callings : Rabbi Jose, the tanner ; 
Rabbi Jochanan, the shoemaker ; Rabbi Juda, the baker, &c. ; 
a custom taken up by the Christians, especially the monks and 
ascetics of the primitive times, who, together with their strict 

h Praefat. in Ep. ad Rom. 1 Vid. D. Lightf. Hor. Heb. in 1 Cor. i. 1. 

k Talm. Tract. Kiddusch. c. i. ap. Buxtorfc in voc. rTODIN. 
1 Annot, in Act xviiL 3. 



profession, and almost incredible exercises of devotion, each took 
upon him a particular trade, whereat he daily wrought, and by his 
own hand-labour maintained himself. m And this course of life 
the Jews were very careful should be free from all suspicion of 
scandal : TT»p) niaom, (as they call it, n ) a " clean," that is honest 
" trade being wont to say, that he was happy that had his 
parents employed in an honest and commendable calling ; as he 
was miserable, who saw them conversant in any sordid and dis- 
honest course of life. The trade our apostle was put to was that 
of tent-making, ° whereat he wrought, for some particular reasons, 
even after his calling to the apostolate: an honest, but mean 
course of life, and, as Chrysostom observes, 15 an argument that his 
parents were not of the nobler and better rank ; however, it was 
an useful and gainful trade, especially in those warlike countries, 
where armies had such frequent use of tents. 

V. Having run through the whole circle of the sciences, and 
laid the sure foundations of human learning at Tarsus, he was 
by his parents sent to Jerusalem, to be perfected in the study of 
the law, and put under the tutorage of Rabban Gamaliel. 11 This 
Gamaliel was the son of Rabban Symeon, (probably presumed to 
be the same Symeon that came into the temple and took Christ 
into his arms,) president of the court of the Sanhedrim : he was 
a doctor of the law, a person of great wisdom and prudence, and 
head at that time of one of the families of the schools at Jeru- 
salem : a man of chief eminency and authority in the Jewish 
Sanhedrim, and president of it at that very time when our blessed 
Saviour was brought before it. He lived to a great age, and was 
buried by Onkelos the proselyte, author of the Chaldee Para- 
phrase, (one who infinitely loved and honoured him,) at his own 
vast expense and charge. He it was that made that wise and 
excellent speech in the Sanhedrim, in favour of the apostles and 
their religion. Nay, he himself is said (though I know not why) 
to have been a Christian/ and his sitting amongst the senators 
to have been connived at by the apostles, that he might be the 
better friend to their affairs. Chrysippus, presbyter of the church 
of Jerusalem, 9 adds, that he was brother's son to Nicodemus, 

m Epiph. lxxx. c. 4. n Buxtorfl ubl supr. ° Acts xviii. 3. 

P De Laud. S. Paul torn. v. p. 512. q Acts xxii. 3, 4. 

r Clem. Recognit. 1. i. p. 16, 17. 

• Ap. Phot. cod. CLXXI. Col. 304. extat Luciani hac de re Epist. ap. Sur. ad 3 
Aug. p. 31. et Bar. ad Ann. 415. 

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together with whom he and his son Abib were baptized by Peter 
and John. This account he derives from Lucian, a presbyter 
also of that church under John, patriarch of Jerusalem, who, in 
an epistle of his still extant, tells us, that he had this, together 
with some other things, communicated to him in a vision by 
Gamaliel himself: which if triie, no better evidence could be 
desired in this matter. At the feet of this Gamaliel, St. Paul 
tells us, he was " brought up," alluding to the custom of the J ewish 
masters, who were wont to sit while their disciples and scholars 
stood at their feet : which honorary custom continued till the 
death of this Gamaliel, and was then left off ; their own Talmud 
telling us,* that " since our old Rabban Gamaliel died, the honour 
of the law was perished, purity and pharisaism were destroyed :" 
which the gloss thus explains, " that whilst he lived, men were 
sound, and studied the law standing ; but he being dead, weak- 
ness crept into the world, and they were forced to sit." 

VI. Under the tuition of this great master, St. Paul was edu- 
cated in the knowledge of the law, wherein he made such quick 
and vast improvements, that he soon outstripped his fellow-dis- 
ciples. 11 Amongst the various sects at that time in the Jewish 
church, he was especially educated in the principles and institu- 
tions of the Pharisees : of which sect was both his father and his 
master, whereof he became a most earnest and zealous professor; 
this being, as himself tells us, the " strictest sect of their re- 
ligion." For the understanding whereof, it may not be amiss a 
little to inquire into the temper and manners of this sect. 
Josephus,* though himself a Pharisee, gives this character of 
them : that " they were a crafty and subtle generation of men, 
and so perverse, even to princes themselves, that they would not 
fear many times openly to affront and oppose them." And so 
far had they insinuated themselves into the affections and esti- 
mations of the populacy, y that their good or ill word was enough 
to make or blast any one with the people, who would implicitly 
believe them, let their report be never so false or malicious: 
and therefore Alexander Jannaeus, when he lay a dying, wisely 
advised his queen by all means to comply with them, and to seem 
to govern by their counsel and direction ; affirming that this had 
been the greatest cause of his fatal miscarriage, and that which 

1 Sotah. c. 9. halac. 1 5. apud Lightfc Hor. H. in Matt. xiii. 2. 

■ Gal. i. 14. * Antiq. Jnd. 1. xvii. c 3. » Id. ibid. 1. xiii. c. 23. 



had derived the odium of the nation upon him, that he had 
offended this sort of men. Certain it is, that they were infinitely 
proud and insolent, surly and ill-natured ; that they hated all 
mankind but themselves, and censured whoever would not be of 
their way, as a villain and reprobate ; greatly zealous to gather 
proselytes to their party, not to make them more religious, but 
more fierce and cruel, more carping and censorious, more heady 
and high-minded ; in short, " twofold more the children of the 
devil than they were before." All religion and kindness was 
confined within the bounds of their own party, and the first 
principles wherewith they inspired their new converts were, that 
none but they were the godly party, and that all other persons 
were slaves and sons of the earth ; and therefore especially en- 
deavoured to inspire them with a mighty zeal and fierceness 
against all that differed from them, so that if any one did but 
speak a good word of our Saviour, he should be presently ex- 
communicated and cast out, persecuted -and devoted to the death. 
To this end they were wont not only to separate, but discrimi- 
nate themselves from the herd and community, by some peculiar 
notes and badges of distinction ; such as their long robes, broad 
phylacteries, and their large fringes and borders of their gar- 
ments, whereby they made themselves known from the rest of 
men. These dogged and ill-natured principles, together with 
their seditious, unnatural, unjust, unmerciful, and uncharitable 
behaviour, which otherwise would have made them stink above 
ground in the nostrils of men, they sought to palliate and varnish 
over with a more than ordinary pretence and profession of re- 
ligion : but were especially active and diligent in what cost them 
little, the outward instances of religion, such duties especially 
as did more immediately refer to God ; as frequent fasting and 
praying, which they did very often and very long, with demure 
and mortified looks, in a whining and an affected tone, and this 
almost in every corner of the streets ; and, indeed, so contrived 
the scheme of their religion, that what they did might appear 
above ground, where they might be seen of men to the best ad- 

VII. Though this seems to have been the general temper and 
disposition of the party, yet doubtless there were some amongst 
them of better and honester principles than the rest. In which 
number we have just reason to reckon our apostle : who yet was 



deeply leavened with the active and fiery genius of the sect ; not 
able to brook any opposite party in religion, especially if late 
and novel. Insomuch that when the Jews were resolved to do 
execution upon Stephen, he stood by and kept the clothes of 
them that did it. Whether he was any farther engaged in the 
death of this innocent and good man, we do not find. However 
this was enough loudly to proclaim his approbation and consent ; 
and therefor!! elsewhere we find him indicting himself for this fact, 
and pleading guilty : " when the blood of thy martyr Stephen 
was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, 
and kept the raiment of them that slew him." 2 God chiefly in- 
spects the heart, and if the vote be passed there, writes the man 
guilty, though he stir no farther. It is easy to murder another 
by a silent wish, or a passionate desire. In all moral actions 
God values the will for the deed, and reckons the man a com- 
panion in the sin, who, though possibly he may never actually 
join in it, does yet inwardly applaud and like it. The storm, 
thus begun, increased apace, and a violent persecution began to 
arise, which miserably afflicted and dispersed the Christians at 
Jerusalem : in which our apostle was a prime agent and mi- 
nister, raging about in all parts with a mad and ungovernable 
zeal, searching out the saints, beating them in the synagogues, 
compelling many to blaspheme, imprisoning others, and procuring 
them to be put to death. Indeed, he was a kind of inquisitor 
hcereticce pravitatis to the high-priest, by whom he was employed 
to hunt and find out these upstart heretics, who preached against 
the law of Moses and the traditions of the fathers. Accordingly, 
having made strange haVoc at Jerusalem, 8 he addressed himself 
to the Sanhedrim, and there took out a warrant and commission 
to go down and ransack the synagogues at Damascus. How 
eternally insatiable is fury and a misguided zeal ! how restless 
and unwearied in its designs of cruelty ! It had already suffi- 
ciently harassed the poor Christians at Jerusalem, but not con- 
tent to have vexed them there, and to have driven them thence, 
it persecuted them unto strange cities, following them even to 
Damascus itself, whither many of these persecuted Christians 
had fled for shelter, resolving to bring up those whom he found 
there to Jerusalem, in order to their punishment and execution. 
For the Jewish Sanhedrim had not only power of seizing and 

. 2 Acts xxii. 20. * Acts ix. 1. 

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scourging offenders against their law within the bounds of their 
own country, but, by the connivance and favour of the Romans, 
might send into other countries, where there were any syna- 
gogues that acknowledged a dependence in religious matters 
upon the council at Jerusalem, to apprehend them ; as here they 
sent Paul to Damascus to fetch up what Christians he could find, 
to be arraigned and sentenced at Jerusalem. 

VIII. But God, who had designed him for work of another 
nature, and "separated him from his mothers womb to the 
preaching of the gospel," b stopped him in his journey. For while 
he was, together with his company, travelling on the road, not far 
from Damascus, on a sudden a gleam of light, beyond the splendour 
and brightness of the sun, was darted from heaven upon them, 
whereat being strangely amazed and confounded, they all fell to 
the ground, a voice calling to him, " Saul, Saul, why persecutest 
thou me T To which he replied, " Lord, who art thou V* Who told 
him, that " he was Jesus whom he persecuted that what was 
done to the members was done to the head ; that it was hard for 
him to kick against the pricks ; that he now appeared to him, to 
make choice of him for a minister, and a witness of what he had 
now seen, and should after hear; that he would stand by him, 
and preserve him, and make him a great instrument in the con- 
version of the Gentile world. This said, he asked our Lord, 
what he would have him to do ; who bade him go into the city, 
where he should receive his answer. St. PauFs companions, 
who had been present at this transaction, heard the voice, 0 but 
saw not him that spoke to him : though elsewhere the apostle 
himself affirms, that they saw the light, but heard not the voice 
of him that spake ; that is, they heard a confused sound, but not 
a distinct and articulate voice ; or, more probably, being igno- 
rant of the Hebrew language, wherein our Lord spake to St. 
Paul, they heard the words, but knew not the sense and the 
meaning of them. 

IX. St. Paul by this time was gotten up ; but though he found 
his feet, yet he had lost his eyes, being stricken blind with the 
extraordinary brightness of the light, and was accordingly led 
by his companions into Damascus : in which condition he there 
remained, fasting three days together. At this time, we may 
probably suppose it was, that he had that vision and ecstacy, 

b Gal i. 15. c Acts xxii. 9. 

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wherein he was taken up into the "third heaven," 11 where he 
«aw and heard things great and unutterable, and was fully in- 
structed in the mysteries of the gospel, and hence expressly 
affirms, that he was not " taught the gospel which he preached 
by man, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ." 6 There was at 
this time at Damascus one Ananias, a very devout and religious 
man, (one of the seventy disciples, as the ancients inform us, 
and probably the first planter of the Christian church in this 
city,) and though a Christian, yet of great reputation amongst 
all the Jews. To him our Lord appeared, commanding him to 
go into such a street, and to such an house, and there inquire for 
one Saul of Tarsus, who was now at prayer, and had seen him in 
a vision coming to him, to lay his hands upon him, that he might 
receive his sight. Ananias started at the name of the man, 
having heard of his bloody temper and practices, and upon what 
errand he was now come down to the city. But our Lord, to 
take off his fears, told him, that he mistook the man ; that he 
had now taken him to be a chosen vessel, to preach the gospel 
both to Jews and Gentiles, and before the greatest potentates 
upon earth, acquainting him with what great things he should 
both do and suffer for his sake, what chains and imprisonments, 
what racks and scourges, what hunger and thirst, what ship- 
wrecks and death he should undergo. Upon this, Ananias went, 
laid his hands upon him, told him that our Lord had sent him 
to him, that he might receive his sight, and be filled with the 
Holy Ghost ; which was no sooner done, but thick films like 
scales fell from his eyes, and his sight returned. And the next 
thing he did was to be baptized, and solemnly initiated into the 
Christian faith : after which he joined himself to the disciples 
of that place, to the equal joy and wonder of the church, that 
the wolf should so soon lay down its fierceness, and put on the 
meek nature of a lamb ; that he who had lately been so violent 
a persecutor, should now become not a professor only, but a 
preacher of that faith which before he had routed and de- 

« 2 Cor. sill. • Gaii.10,11. 


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St. Paul's leaving Damascus, and why. His three years ministry in Arabia. His return 
to Damascus. The greatness of that city. The design of the Jews to surprise 
St. Paul, and the manner of his escape. His coming to Jerusalem, and converse with 
Peter and James. His departure thence. The disciples first styled Christians at 
Antioch. This when done, and by whom. The solemnity of it The importance of 
the word xPW ar ^ ffai - Xpif/AaTicr/ubs 'Kmu>x*l<*v* what St Paul's journey to Je- 
rusalem with contributions. His voyage to Cyprus, and planting Christianity there. 
The opposition made by Elymas, and his severe punishment The proconsul's con- 
version. His preaching to the Jews at Antioch of Pisidia. His curing a cripple at 
Lystra ; and discourse to the people about their idolatry. The apostle's way of arguing 
noted ; and his discourse concerning the Being and Providence of God illustrated. His 
confirming the churches in the faith. The controversy at Antioch ; and St Paul's 
account of it in the synod at Jerusalem. 

St. Paul stayed not long at Damascus after his conversion, but 
having received an immediate intimation from heaven, probably 
in the ecstacy wherein he was caught up thither, he waited for 
no other counsel or direction in the case, lest he should seem to 
derive his mission and authority from men ; and " being not dis- 
obedient to the heavenly vision," he presently retired out of the 
city ; and the sooner, probably to decline the odium of the Jews, 
and the effects of that rage and malice which he was sure 
would pursue and follow him. He withdrew into the parts of 
Arabia/ (those parts of it that lay next to the %^? a dajiaartcrivti, 
the 46 region of Damascus nay, Damascus itself was sometimes 
accounted part of Arabia, as we shall note by-and-by from Ter- 
tullian,) where he spent the first fruits of his ministry, preaching 
up and down for three years together. After which he returned 
back to Damascus, preached openly in the synagogues, and con- 
vinced the Jews of Christ's Messiahship, and the truth of his 
religion. Angry and enraged hereat, they resolved his ruin, 
which they knew no better way to effect, than by exasperating 
and incensing the civil powers against him. 8 Damascus was a 
place not more venerable for its antiquity, (if not built by, at 
least it gave title to Abraham's steward, hence called " Eliezer of 
Damascus,") than it was considerable for its strength, stateliness, 
and situation : it was the noblest city of all Syria, (as Justin of 
f Gal. i. 17, 18. ft Acts be. 23. 2 Cor. xi; 32, 33. 



old h and the Arabian geographer has since informed us,* and 
the prophet Isaiah, j before both, calls it, tn» uwr, " the head of 
Syria,") seated in a most healthful air, in a most fruitful soil, 
watered with most pleasant fountains and rivers, rich in mer- 
chandise, adorned with stately buildings, goodly and magnificent 
temples, and fortified with strong guards and garrisons : in all 
which respects Julian calls it the holy and great Damascus ; k 
Kal rbv T?)? 'EoSa? iunaa^ 6<f>0aXfibv, " the eye of the whole 
East." Situate it was between Libanus and Mount Hermon, 
and though properly belonging to Syria, yet Arabics retro de~ 
putabatur, (as Tertullian tells us, 1 ) was anciently reckoned to 
Arabia. Accordingly at this time it was under the government 
of Aretas, (father-in-law to Herod Antipas the tetrarch, whose 
daughter the said Herod had married, but afterwards turned 
off, m which became the occasion of a war between those two 
princes,) king of Arabia Petraea, a prince tributary to the Roman 
empire. By him there was an iOvdpxn^ or governor, who had 
jurisdiction over the whole Syria Damascena, placed over it, who 
kept constant residence in the city, as a place of very great im- 
portance. To him the Jews made their address, with crafty and 
cunning insinuations persuading him to apprehend St. Paul, 
possibly under the notion of a spy, there being war at this 
time between the Romans and that king. Hereupon the gates 
were shut, and extraordinary guards set, and all engines that 
could be laid to take him. But the disciples, to prevent their 
cruel designs, at night put him into a basket, and let him down 
over the city wall. And the place, we are told," is still shewed 
to travellers, not far from the gate, thence called St. Paul's Gate 
at this day. 

II. Having thus made his escape, he set forwards for J erusalem, 
where, when he arrived, he addressed himself to the church. 0 
But they r knowing the former temper and principles of the man, 
universally shunned his company ; till Barnabas brought him to 
Peter, who was not yet cast into prison, and to James our Lord's 
brother, bishop of Jerusalem, acquainting them with the manner 
of hia conversion and by them he wad familiarly entertained. 

h Just L xxxvi. c 2. 1 Geograph. Nub. Clim. iii. par. v. p. 116. 

J Isai. viL 7. k Epist xxiv. p. 145. 

1 Adv. Marc. 1. iii. c. 13. m Vid. Joseph. Antiq. 1. xviii. c. 7. 

n G. Sion. et J. Hesron. de Urb. Orient, c. 4. ° Acts ix. 26. Gal. L 18, 19. 

R 2 



Here he stayed fifteen days, preaching Christ, and confuting the 
Hellenist Jews with a mighty courage and resolution. But 
snares were here again laid to entrap him, as malice can as well 
cease to be, as to be restless and active. Whereupon he was 
warned by God in a vision, that his testimony would not find 
acceptance in that place ; that therefore he should leave it, and 
betake himself to the Gentiles. Accordingly, being conducted 
by the brethren to Caesarea, p he set sail for Tarsus, his native 
city, from whence, not long after, he was fetched by Barnabas to 
Antioch, to assist him in propagating Christianity in that place : 
in which employment they continued there a whole year. q And 
now it was that the disciples of the religion were at this place 
first called Christians ; according to the manner of all other in- 
stitutions, who were wont to take their denominations from the 
first authors and founders of them. Before this thev were 
usually styled Nazarenes, r as being the disciples and followers of 
Jesus of Nazareth, a name by which the Jews in scorn call them 
to this day, with the same intent that the Gentiles of old used 
to call them Galileans. The name of Nazarenes was henceforward 
fixed upon those Jewish converts who mixed the law and the 
gospel, and compounded a religion out of Judaism and Chris- 
tianity. The fixing this honourable name upon the disciples of 
the crucified Jesus was done at Antioch (as an ancient historian 
informs us 8 ) about the beginning of Claudius's reign, ten years 
after Christ's ascension; nay, he farther adds, that Euodius, 
lately ordained bishop of that place, was the person that imposed 
this name upon them, styling them Christians, who before 
were called Nazarenes and Galileans: rod avrov hrtaieoirov 
EvoBlov 7Tpo<rofiiXijaavTO^ avrois, zeal i.iri0r\cravTO^ avrois to 
Svojia tovto' irpwqv yap Na&pcuoi itcaXovvro, teal TaXtkaloi 
iieaXovvro oi Xptaridvo\ as my author's words are. I may 
not omit, what a learned man has observed/ that the word 
j(pr)fiarl<ra^ used by St. Luke, " they were called," implies the 
thing to have been done by some public and solemn act and de- 
claration of the whole church, such being the use of the word 
in the imperial edicts and proclamations of tfrose times, the 

p Acts ix. 30. 9 Acts xi. 26. r Euseb. de loc Hebr. in voc Nafapeff. 

• Joan. Antiochen. in ChronoL MS. a Selden. cit. de Synedr. 1. i. c. 8. Vid. Suid. in 
toc. Nofapaloy. 

1 J. Greg. not. et obs. cap. 36. 



emperors being said xPVMwt&Wi " to style themselves,"" when 
they publicly proclaimed by what titles they would be called. 
When any province submitted itself to the Roman empire, the 
emperor was wont, by public edict, xPVf iaT ^ €iy eavrov, " to 
entitle himself " to the government and jurisdiction of it, and 
the people to several great privileges and immunities. In a 
grateful sense whereof the people usually made this time the 
solemn date of their common epocha, or computation : thus (as 
the forementioned historian informs us u ) it was in the par- 
ticular case of Antioch ; and thence their public era was called 
XprifiaTi<rfib<; r&v * AvTioxeloav, " the ascription of the people at 
Antioch Such being the general acceptation of the word, St. 
Luke (who was himself a native of this city) makes use of it to 
express that solemn declaration, whereby the disciples of the 
religion entitled themselves to the name of Christians. 

III. It happened about this time that a terrible famine, fore- 
told by Agabus, x afflicted several parts of the Roman empire, but 
especially Judea; the consideration whereof made the Christians 
at Antioch compassionate the case of their suffering brethren, and 
accordingly they raised considerable contributions for their relief 
and succour, which they sent to Jerusalem by Barnabas and 
Paul, who, having despatched their errand in that city, went 
back to Antioch ; where, while they were joining in the public 
exercises of their religion, it was revealed to them by the Holy 
Ohost, y that they should set apart Paul and Barnabas to preach 
the gospel in other places: which was done accordingly; and 
they, by prayer, fasting, and imposition of hands, immediately 
deputed for that service. Hence they departed to Seleucia, and 
thence sailed to Cyprus, where at Salamis, a great city in that 
island, they preached in the synagogues of the Jews : hence they 
removed to Paphos, the residence of Sergius Paulus, the pro- 
consul of the island, a man of great wisdom and prudence, but 
miserably seduced by the wicked artifices of Bar- Jesus, a Jewish 
impostor, who called himself Elymas, or the Magician, vehemently 
opposed the apostles, and kept the proconsul from embracing of 
the faith. Nay, one,* who pretends to be ancient enough to know 
it, seems to intimate, that he not only spake, but wrote against 
St. Paul's doctrine and the faith of Christ. However, the pro- 

u J. Antioch. Chron. L ix. * Acts xi. 28. 1 Acts xiii. 2. 

■ Dionys. Areop. de divin. norain. c. 8. 



consul calls for the apostles, and St. Paul first takes Elymas to 
task, and having severely checked him for his malicious opposing 
of the truth, told him, that the divine vengeance was now ready 
to seize upon him ; upon which he was immediately struck blind. 
The vengeance of God observing herein a kind of just propor- 
tion, that he should be punished with the loss of his bodily eyes, 
who had so wilfully and maliciously shut the eyes of his mind 
against the light of the gospel, and had endeavoured to keep not 
only himself but others under so much blindness and darkness. 
This miracle turned the scale with the proconsul, and quickly 
brought him over a convert to the faith. 

IV. After this success in Cyprus, he went to Perga in Pam- 
phylia,* where taking Titus along with him in the room of Mark, 
who was returned to Jerusalem, they went to Antioch, the me- 
tropolis of Pisidia ; where entering into the Jewish synagogue 
on the sabbath day, after some sections of the law were read, 
they were invited by the rulers of the synagogue to discourse a 
little to the people : which St. Paul did, in a large and eloquent 
sermon, wherein he put them in mind of the many great and 
particular blessings which God had heaped upon the Jews, from 
the first originals of that nation ; that he had crowned them qll, 
with the sending of his Son to be the Messiah and the Saviour ; 
that though the Jews had ignorantly crucified this just, innocent 
person, yet that God, according to his own predictions, had raised 
him up from the dead ; that through him they preached forgive- 
ness of sins ; and that by him alone it was that men, if ever, 
must be justified and acquitted from that guilt and condemna- 
tion, which all the pompous ceremonies and ministries of the 
Mosaic law could never do away ; that therefore they should do 
well to take heed, lest by their opposing this way of salvation, 
they should bring upon themselves that prophetical curse which 
God had threatened to the Jews of old, for their great contumacy 
and neglect. This sermon wanted not its due effects : the pro- 
selyte Jews desired the apostles to discourse again to them of 
this matter the next sabbath day, the apostles also persuading 
them to continue firm in the belief of these things. The day 
was no sooner come, but the whole city almost flocked to be 
their auditors : which when the Jews saw, acted by a spirit of 
envy, they began to blaspheme and to contradict the apostles ; 

• Acts xiii. 13, 14. 



who, nothing daunted, told them that our Lord had charged 
them first to preach the gospel to the Jews, which since they 
so obstinately rejected, they were now to address themselves to 
the Gentiles : who hearing this, exceedingly rejoiced at the good 
news, and magnified the word of God, and as many of them as 
were thus prepared and disposed towards eternal life, heartily 
closed with it and embraced it ; the apostles preaching not there 
only, but through the country round about. The Jews, more 
exasperated than before, resolved to be rid of their company, 
and to that end persuaded some of the more devout and honour- 
able women to deal with their husbands, persons of prime rank 
and quality in the city* by whose means they were driven out of 
those parts. Whereat Paul and Barnabas, shaking off the dust 
of their feet as a testimony against their ingratitude and infi- 
delity, departed from them. 

V. The next place they went to was Iconium, b where at first 
they found kind entertainment and good success, God setting a 
seal to their doctrine by the testimony of his miracles. But here 
the Jewish malice began again to ferment, exciting the people 
to sedition and a mutiny against them': insomuch that hearing 
o£a design to stone them, they seasonably withdrew to Lystra ; 
where they first made their way by a miraculous cure : for St. 
Paul seeing an impotent cripple that had been lame from his 
mother's womb, cured him with the speaking of a word. The 
people who beheld the miracle, had so much natural logic as to 
infer, that there was a divinity in the thing ; though mistaking 
the author, they applied it to the instruments, crying out, that 
the gods in human shape were come down from heaven : Paul, 
as being chief speaker, they termed Mercury, the god of speech 
and eloquence ; Barnabas, by reason of his age and gravity, they 
called Jupiter, the father of their gods : accordingly the Syriac 
interpreter here renders Jupiter by " the lord, or sovereign of 
the gods." The fame of this being spread over the city, the 
priest of Jupiter brought oxen dressed up with garlands, after 
the Gentile rites, to the house where the apostles were, to do 
sacrifice to them : which they no sooner understood, but in de- 
testation of those undue honours offered to them, they rent their 
clothes, and told them that they were men of the same make 
and temper, of the same passions and infirmities with themselves ; 

b Act* xiv. 1. 

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that the design of their preaching was to convert them from 
these vain idolatries and superstitions to the worship of the true 
God, the great Parent of the world, who though heretofore he 
had left men to themselves, to go on in their own ways of 
idolatrous worship, yet had he given sufficient evidence of him- 
self in the constant returns of a gracious and benign providence 
in crowning the year with fruitful seasons, and other acts of 
common kindness and bounty to mankind. 

VI. A short discourse, but very rational and convictive, which 
it may not be amiss a little more particularly to consider, and 
the method which the apostle uses to convince these blind 
idolaters. He proves divine honours to be due to God alone, as 
the sovereign Being of the world ; and that there is such a su- 
preme infinite Being, he argues from his works both of creation 
and providence. 0 Creation : " He is the living God that made 
heaven and earth, the sea, and all things that are therein." 
Providence : " He left not himself without witness, in that he 
did good, and gave rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling 
our hearts with food and gladness than which no argument 
can be more apt and proper to work upon the minds of men. 
" That which may be known of God is manifest to the Gentiles, 
for God bath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of 
him, from the creation of the world, even his eternal power and 
godhead, are clearly seen and understood by the things that are 
made it being impossible impartially to survey the several 
parts of the creation, and not see in every place evident foot- 
steps of an infinite wisdom, power, and goodness. Who can look 
up unto the heavens, and not there discern an Almighty Wisdom, 
beautifully garnishing those upper regions, distinguishing the 
circuits, and perpetuating the motions of the heavenly lights ? 
placing the sun in the middle of the heavens, that he might 
equally dispense and communicate his light and heat to all parts 
of the world, and not burn the earth with the too near approach 
of his scorching beams: by which means the creatures are 
refreshed and cheered, the earth impregnated with fruits and 
flowers by the benign influence of a vital heat, and the vicissitudes 
and seasons of the year regularly distinguished by their constant 
and orderly revolutions. Whence are the great orbs of heaven 
kept in continual motion, always going in the same tract, but 
c Arrian. dissert. 1, i c. 16. 

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because there is a superior power that keeps these great wheels 
a going? Who is it that "poises the balancings of the clouds; 
that divides a water-course for the overflowing of waters, and a 
way for the lightning of the thunder !" Who can "bind the 
sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion T Or 
who can " bring forth Mazaroth in his season, or guide Arcturus 
with his sons?" Do these come by chance? or by the secret ap- 
pointment of Infinite Wisdom ? Who can consider the admirable 
thinness and purity of the air, its immediate subserviency to the 
great ends of the creation, its being the treasury of vital breath 
to all living creatures, without which the next moment must 
put a period to our days, and not reflect upon that Divine Wisdom 
that contrived it ? If we come down upon the earth, there we 
discover a Divine Providence, supporting it with the pillars of 
an invisible power, " stretching the north over the empty space, 
and hanging the earth upon nothing ;" filling it with great va- 
riety of admirable and useful creatures, and maintaining them 
all according to their kinds at his own cost and charges. It is 
he that clothes the grass with a delightful verdure, that " crowns 
the year with his loving kindness, and makes the valleys stand 
thick with corn " that causes the grass to grow for the cattle, 
and herb for the service of man, that he may bring forth food 
out of the earth, and wine that maketh glad the heart of man, 
and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth 
man's heart ;" that beautifies the lilies that neither toil nor spin, 
and that with a glory that outshines Solomon in all his pomp 
and grandeur. From land let us ship our observations to sea, 
and there we may descry the wise effects of infinite under- 
standing : a wide ocean fitly disposed for the mutual commerce 
and correspondence of one part of mankind with another ; filled 
with great and admirable fishes, and enriched with the treasures 
of the deep. What but an almighty arm can shut in the sea 
with doors, bind it by a perpetual decree that it cannot pass, 
and tie up its wild raging waves with no stronger cordage than 
ropes of sand ? Who but he commands the storm, and stills the 
tempest ; and brings the mariner, when at his wits end in the 
midst of the greatest dangers, to his desired haven ? " They that 
go down to the sea in ships, and do business in great waters ; 
these see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep," 
So impossible is it for a man to stand in any part of the creation, 

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wherein he may not discern evidences enough of an infinitely 
wise, gracious, and omnipotent Being. Thus much I thought 
good to add, to illustrate the apostle's argument; whence he 
strongly infers, that it is very reasonable that we should worship 
and adore this great Creator and Benefactor, and not transfer 
the honours due to him alone upon men of frail and sinful 
passions, and much less upon dumb idols, unable either to make 
or to help themselves : an argument, which though very plain 
and plausible, and adapted to the meanest understandings, yet 
was all little enough to restrain the people from offering sacrifice 
to them. But how soon was the wind turned into another 
corner ? The old spirit of the Jews did still haunt and pursue 
them : who, coming from Antioch and Iconium, exasperated and 
stirred up the multitude ; and they who just before accounted 
them as gods, used them now worse, not only than ordinary men, 
but slaves. For in a mighty rage they fall upon St. Paul, stone 
him, as they thought, dead, and then drag him out of the city ; 
whither the Christians of that place coming, probably to inter 
him, he suddenly revived, and rose up amongst them, and the 
next day went thence to Derbe. 

VII. Here they preached the gospel, and then returned to 
Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch of Pisidia, confirming the Chris- 
tians of those places in the belief and profession of Christianity ; 
earnestly persuading them to persevere, and not be discouraged 
with those troubles and persecutions which they must expect 
would attend the profession of the gospel. And that all this 
might succeed the better, with fasting and prayer they ordained 
governors and pastors in every church ; and having recommended 
them to the grace of God, departed from them. From hence 
they passed through Pisidia, and thence came to Pamphylia ; and 
having preached to the people at Perga, they went down to At- 
talia. And thus having at this time finished the whole circuit of 
their ministry, they returned back to Antioch in Syria, the place 
whence they had first set out. Here they acquainted the church 
with the various transactions and successes of their travels, and 
how great a door had hereby been opened to the conversion of 
the Gentile world. 

VIII. While St. Paul stayed at Antioch, there arose that 
famous controversy about the observation of the Mosaic rites, d 

d Acts xv. 1. 

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SAINT PAUL. t 251 

set on foot and brought in by some Jewish converts that came 
down thither, whereby great disturbances and distractions were 
made in the minds of the people: for the composing whereof 
the church of Antioch resolved to send Paul and Barnabas to 
consult with the apostles and church at Jerusalem. In their way 
thither, they declared to the brethren as they went along, what 
success they had had in the conversion of the Gentiles. Being 
come to Jerusalem, they first addressed themselves to Peter, 
James, and John, the pillars and principal persons in that place : 
by whom they were kindly entertained, and admitted to the 
right hand of fellowship. And perceiving, by the account which 
St. Paul gave them, that the gospel of the uncircumcision was 
committed to him, as that of the circumcision was to Peter, 
they ratified it by compact and agreement, that Peter should 
preach to the Jews, and "Paul unto the Gentiles. Hereupon a 
council was summoned, wherein Peter having declared his sense 
of things, Paul and Barnabas acquainted them what great things 
Go'd by their ministry had done among the Gentiles. A plain 
evidence, that though uncircumcised they were accepted by God, 
as well as the Jews with all their legal rites and privileges. The 
issue of the debate was, that the Gentiles were not under the 
obligation of the law of Moses, and that therefore some persons 
of their own should be joined with Paul and Barnabas, to carry 
the canons and decrees of the council down to Antioch, for their 
fuller satisfaction in this matter* But of this affair we shall give 
the reader a more distinct and particular account in another 



St. Paul's carrying the apostolic decree to Antioch. His contest with Peter. The dis- 
sension between him and Barnabas. His travels to confirm the new planted churches. 
The conversion of Lydia at Philippi. The Jewish proseucha, what ; the frequency of 
them in all places. The dispossessing of a Pythoness. St Paul's imprisonment and 
ill usage at Philippi. The great provision made by the Roman laws for the security 
of its subjects. His preaching at Thessalonica and Beroea. His going to Athens. 
The fame of that place. His doctrine opposed by the Stoics and Epicureans, and why. 

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The great idolatry and superstition of that city. The altar to the Unknown God. 
This Unknown God, who. The superstition of the Jews in concealing the name of 
God. This imitated by the Gentiles. Their general forms of invocating their deities 
noted. The particular occasion of these altars at Athens, whence. St. Paul's discourse 
to the philosophers in the Areopagus concerning the Divine Being and Providence. 
The different entertainment of his doctrine. Dionysius the Areopagite, who. His 
learning, conversion, and being made bishop of Athens. The difference between him 
and St Denys of Paris. The books published under his name. 

St. Paul and his companions having received the decretal 
epistle, returned back to Antioch ; where they had not been long, 
before Peter came thither to them ; and, according to the de- 
cree of the council, freely and inoffensively conversed with the 
Gentiles : till some of the Jews coming down thither from Jeru- 
salem, he withdrew his converse, as if it were a thing unwarrant- 
able and unlawful. By which means the minds of many were 
dissatisfied, and their consciences very much ensnared. Whereat 
St. Paul being exceedingly troubled, publicly rebuked him for it, 
and that, as the case required, with great sharpness and severity. 
It was not long after, that St. Paul and Barnabas resolved upon 
visiting the churches,* which they had lately planted among the 
Gentiles : to which end Barnabas determined to take his cousin 
Mark along with them. This, Paul would by no means agree 
to, he having deserted them in their former journey. A little 
spark, which yet kindled a great feud and dissension between 
these two good men, and arose to that height, that in some discon- 
tent they parted from each other. So natural is it for the best of 
men sometimes to indulge an unwarrantable passion, and so far to 
espouse the interest of a private and particular humour, as rather 
to hazard the great law of charity, and violate the bands of 
friendship, than to recede from it. The effect was, Barnabas, 
taking his nephew, went for Cyprus, his native country; St. 
Paul made choice of Silas, and the success of his undertaking 
being first recommended to the divine care and goodness, they 
set forwards on their journey. 

II. Their first passage was into Syria and Oilicia, confirming 
the churches as they went along: and to that end they left 
with them copies of the synodical decrees, lately ordained in the 
council at Jerusalem. Hence we may suppose it was that he 
set sail for Crete, where he preached and propagated Christianity, 
and constituted Titus to be the first bishop and pastor of that 

« Acts zt. 36. 



island, whom lie left there to settle and dispose those affairs 
which the shortness of his own stay in those parts would not 
suffer him to do. Hence he returned back into Cilicia, and came 
to Lystra, where he found Timothy, whose father was a Greek, 
his mother a Jewish convert, by whom he had been brought up 
under all the advantages of a pious and religious education, and 
especially an incomparable skill and dexterity in the holy scrip- 
tures. St. Paul designed him for the companion of his travels, 
and a special instrument in the ministry of the gospel: and 
knowing that his being uncircumcised would be a mighty pre- 
judice in the opinion and estimation of the Jews, caused him to 
be circumcised ; being willing in lawful and indifferent matters 
(such was circumcision now become) to accommodate himself to 
men's humours and apprehensions for the saving of their souls. 

III. From hence with his company he passed through Phrygia/ 
and the country of Galatia, where he was entertained by them 
with as mighty a kindness and veneration, as if he had been an 
angel immediately sent from heaven. And being by revelation 
forbidden to go into Asia, by a second vision he was commanded 
to direct his journey for Macedonia : and here it was that St. 
Luke joined himself to his company, and became ever after his 
inseparable companion. Sailing from Troas, they arrived at the 
island Samothracia, and thence to Neapolis, from whence they 
went to Philippi, the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and 
a Roman colony: where he stayed some considerable time to 
plant the Christian faith, and where his ministry bad more par- 
ticular success on Lydia, a purple-seller, born at Thyatira, 
baptized together with her whole family; and with her the 
apostle sojourned during his residence in that place. A little 
without this city there was a proseucha, as the Syriac renders it, 
an " oratory or 46 house of prayer," whereto the apostle and 
his company used frequently to retire, for the exercise of their 
religion, and for preaching the gospel to those that resorted 
thither. The Jews had three sorts of places for their public 
worship : the temple at Jerusalem, which was like the cathedral, 
or mother-church, where all sacrifices and oblations were offered, 
and where all males were bound three times a year personally 
to pay their devotion : their synagogues, (many whereof they 
had almost in every place, not unlike our parochial churches,) 

f Acts xvi. 6. 

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where the scriptures were read and expounded, and the people 
taught their duty : " Moses of old time hath in every city them 
that preach him, being read in the synagogue every sabbath 
day." g And then they had their proseuchce, (ra /cara iroXeU 
irpoaevKTTjpia^ as Philo sometimes calls them, h ) or " oratories," 
which were like chapels of ease to the temple and the synagogues, 
whither the people were wont to come solemnly to offer up their 
. prayers to heaven. They were built (as Epiphanius informs us 1 ) 
e£a> Tr}<t tt6\€(»9, iv aepi /cat aWpitp Toirq*, " without the city, 
in the open air and uncovered," rotrot trXaTeis <f>6po)v hlicqv^ 
trpoaevx^ ravra^ itcakovv, " being large spacious places, after 
the manner of fora, or market-places, and these they called 
proBeuchcer k And that the Jews and Samaritans had such places 
of devotion, he proves from this very place at Philippi, where St. 
Paul preached : for they had them not in Judea only, but even 
at Borne itself, where Tiberius (as Philo tells Caius the emperor 1 ) 
suffered the Jews to inhabit the Transtyberine region, and un- 
disturbedly to live according to the rites of their institutions, 
teal irpoaev^a^ e^eiv, teal avvikvai eh avras, xal fidXiara iv 
ra?9 lepai? ij3$6fiai$, ore Srjfiotria ttjv ir&rpiov iraiSevovrai, 
<f>iKoo-o<f)lav, " and also to have their proseuchce, and to meet in 
them, especially upon their holy sabbaths, that they might be 
familiarly instructed in the laws and religion of their country." 
Such they had also in other places, especially where they had 
not, or were not suffered to have synagogues for their public 
worship. But to return. 

IV. As they were going to this oratory, they were often fol- 
lowed by a Pythoness, a maid servant, acted by a spirit of divi- 
nation, who openly cried out, that " these men were the servants 
of the most high God, who came to shew the way of salvation n 
to the world : so easily can heaven extort a testimony from the 
mouth of hell. But St. Paul, to shew how little he needed 
Satan to be his witness, commanded the demon to come out ; 
which immediately left her. The evil spirit thus thrown out 
of possession, presently raised a storm against the apostles ; for 
the masters of the damsel, who used by her diabolical arts to 

* Acts xv. 21. h De vit Mos. L iii. p. 685. 1 Hares, lxxx. c. 1. 

k In qua te quaero Proseucha ? Juvenal. Satyr, iii. 296. Proseucha] locus Judaeorum, 
ubi oranti Vet SchoL ibid. 
1 De Legat ad Caium, p. 1014. 

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raise great advantages to themselves, being sensible that now 
their gainful trade was spoiled, resolved to be revenged on them 
that had spoiled it. Accordingly, they laid hold upon them, 
and dragged them before the seat of judicature, insinuating to 
the governors that these men were Jews, who sought to in- 
troduce different customs and ways of worship, contrary to the 
laws of the Roman empire. The magistrates and people were 
soon agreed, the one to give sentence, the other to set upon the 
execution. In fine, they were stripped, beaten, and then com- 
manded to be thrown into prison, and the gaoler charged to keep 
them with all possible care and strictness ; who, to make sure of 
his charge, thrust them into the inner dungeon, and made their 
feet fast in the stocks. But a good man can turn a prison into a 
chapel, and make a " den of thieves" to be "an house of prayer 
our feet cannot be bound so fast to the earth, but that still our 
hearts may mount up to heaven. At midnight the apostles were 
overheard by their fellow-prisoners praying and singing hymns 
to God. But after the still voice came the tempest : an earth- 
quake suddenly shook the foundations of the prison, the doors 
flew open, and their chains fell off. The gaoler awaking with 
this amazing accident, concluded with himself that the prisoners 
were fled, and to prevent the sentence of public justice, was 
going to lay violent hands upon himself, 111 which St. Paul espy- 
ing, called out to him to hold his hand, and told him they were 
all there : who thereupon came in to them, with a greater earth- 
quake in his own conscience, and falling down before them, asked 
them, " what he should do to be saved ?" They told him there 
was no other way of salvation for him or his, than an hearty 
and sincere embracing of the faith of Christ. What a happy 
change does Christianity make in the minds of men ! how plain, 
does it smooth the roughest tempers, and instil the sweetest 
principles of civility and good nature ! He who but a little be- 
fore had tyrannized over the apostles with the most merciless 
and cruel usage, began now to treat them with all the arts of 
kindness and charity, bringing them out of the dungeon, and 
washing their stripes and wounds; and being more fully in- 
structed in the principles of Christianity, was, together with his 
whole family, immediately baptized by them. Early in the 

m Milites si amiscrint cust^Jias, ipsi in periculum deducuntur, 1. xii. ff. de cuatod. et 
exhib. reor. tit iii. k 

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morning, the magistrates sent officers privately to release them : 
which the apostles refused ; telling them, that they were not only 
innocent persons, but Romans ; that they had been illegally con- 
demned and beaten ; that therefore their delivery should be as 
public as the injury, and an open vindication of their innocency ; 
and that they themselves that had sent them thither should 
fetch them thence : for the Roman government was very tender 
of the lives and liberties of its own subjects, 11 those especially 
that were free denizens of Borne ; every injury offered to a 
Roman being looked upon as an affront against the majesty of 
the whole people of Borne. Such a one might not be beaten : 
but to be scourged, or bound, without being first legally heard and 
tried, was not only against the Roman, but the laws of all na- 
tions ; and the more public any injury was,° the greater was its 
aggravation, and the laws required a more strict and solemn 
reparation. St. Paul, who was a Boman, and very well under- 
stood the laws and privileges of Borne, insisted upon this, to the 
great startling and affrighting of the magistrates ; who, sensible 
of their error, came to the prison and entreated them to depart. 
Whereupon, going to Lydia's house, and having saluted and en- 
couraged the brethren, they departed from that place. 

V. Leaving Philippi, they came next to Thessalonica, the 
metropolis of Macedonia ; where Paul, according to his custom, 
presently went to the Jewish synagogue for three sabbath days, 
reasoning and disputing with them, proving, from the predictions 
of the Old Testament, that the Messiah was to suffer, and to 
rise again, and that the blessed Jesus was this Messiah. Great 
numbers, especially of religious proselytes, were converted by his 
preaching: while, like the sun, that melts wax but hardens clay, 
it wrought a quite contrary effect in the unbelieving Jews; who 
presently set themselves to blow up the city into a tumult and 
an uproar, and missing St. Paul (who had withdrawn himself) 
they fell foul upon Jason, in whose house he lodged ; representing 
to the magistrates, that they were enemies to Caesar, and sought 

n lata laus primum est majorum nostrorum, Quirites, qui lenitate legum vestram liber- 
tatem munitam esse voluerunt. Quamobrem inviolatura corpus omnium cmum Romano- 
rum integrum libertatis defendo servari oportere. Porcia Lex virgas ab omnium civium 
Rom. corpora amovit. C. Gracchus legem tulit, ne de capite civium Rom. injussu 
vestro judicaretur. — Cicer. Orat pro C. Rabir. 

° L. vii. ff. de injuriis. 1. xlix. tit 10. 



to undermine the peace and prosperity of the Roman empire. 
At night, Paul and Silas were conducted by the brethren to 
Beroea ; where, going to the synagogue, they found the people 
of a more noble and generous, a more pliable and ingenuous 
temper, ready to entertain the Christian doctrine, but yet not 
willing to take it merely upon the apostle's word, till they had 
first compared his preaching with what the scriptures say of the 
Messiah and his doctrine. And the success was answerable, in 
those great numbers that came over to them. But the Jewish 
malice pursued them still : for hearing at Thessalonica what en- 
tertainment they had found in this place, they presently came 
down, to exasperate and stir up the people : to avoid which/ 
St. Paul, leaving Silas and Timothy behind him, thought good 
to withdraw himself from that place. 

VI. From Beroea he went to Athens, p one of the most re- 
nowned cities in the world, excelling all others (says an ancient 
historian* 1 ) in antiquity, humanity, and learning. Indeed, it was 
the great seat of arts and learning, and, as Cicero will have it, r 
the fountain whence civility, learning, religion, arts, and laws 
were derived into all other nations. So universally flocked to 
by all that had but the least kindness for the Muses, or good 
manners, that he who had not seen Athens, was accounted a 
block ; he who haviug seen it, was not in love with it, a dull 
stupid ass ; and he who after he had seen it, could be willing to 
leave it, fit for nothing but to be a pack-horse. 8 Here, among 
the several sects of philosophers, he had more particular con- 
tests with the Stoics and Epicureans, who beyond all the rest 
seemed enemies to Christianity. The Epicureans, because they 
found their pleasant and jovial humour, and their loose and ex- 
orbitant course of life, so much checked and controlled by the 
strict and severe precepts of Christ, and that Christianity so 
plainly and positively asserted a Divine Providence, that governs 
the world, and that will adjudge to men suitable rewards and 
punishments in another world. The Stoics, on the other hand, 
though pretending to principles of great and uncommon rigour 
and severity, and such as had nearest affinity to the doctrines of 
the Christian religion, yet found themselves aggrieved with it : 
that meek and humble temper of mind, that modesty and self- 

p Acts xviL 15. i C. Nep. in vit. Attic c. 3. r Orat pro Flac. 

• Vid. Lysipp. Comic, apud Dicaarch. de vit. Graec. a Steph. edit. c. 3. p. 18. 


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denial, which the gospel so earnestly recommends to us, and so 
strictly requires of us, being so directly contrary to the immo- 
derate pride and ambition of that sect, who, beyond all propor- 
tions of reason, were not ashamed to make their wise man equal 
to, and in some things to exceed, God himself. 1 

VII. While St. Paul stayed at Athens, in expectation of Silas 
and Timothy to come to him, he went up and down to take a 
more curious view and survey of the city; which he found 
miserably overgrown with superstition and idolatry : as indeed 
Athens was noted by all their own writers for far greater 
numbers of deities and idols than all Greece besides." They 
^vere oxrirep irepl tcl aXXa <f>i\of;€VOvvT€<;, ovtg> koX irepl tovs 
0eov<? 7ro\\a yap t&v gevifeoiv iepcov irapehe^avro^ as Strabo 
notes ; x not more fond of strangers and novelties in other things, 
than forward to comply with novelties in religion, ready to en- 
tertain any foreign deities and rites of worship ; no divinity that 
was elsewhere adored, coming amiss to them. Whence Athens 
is by one of their own orators styled/ to fieytarov Trjs ivaefteias 
K€<f>d\cuov 9 " the great sum and centre of piety and religion 
and he there aggravates the impiety of Epicurus, in speaking 
unworthily and irreverently of the gods, from the place where 
he did it ; at Athens, a place so pious, so devoted to them. In- 
deed herein justly commendable, that they could not brook the 
least dishonourable reflection upon any deity, and therefore Apol- 
lonius Tyanseus tells Timasion, 2 that the safest way was to speak 
well of all the gods, and especially at Athens, where altars were 
dedicated even to unknown gods. And so St. Paul here fouud 
it ; for among the several shrines and places of worship and de- 
votion, he took more particular notice of one altar inscribed " To 
the Unknown God." The entire inscription, whereof the apostle 

' Tan turn sapienti sua, quantum Deo omnia aetas patet Est aliquid, quo sapiens an- 
tecedat Deum : ille naturae beneficio non timet, suo sapiens. Ecce res magna, habere 
imbecillitatem hominis, securitatem Dei. — Senec. Epist. Hit Solebat Sextius dicere, 
Jovem plus non posse, quam bonum virum. Plura Jupiter habet, quae praestet ho- 
minibus : sed inter duos bonos non est melior, qui locupletior. Jupiter quo antecedit 
virum bonum ? diutius bonus est Sapiens nihilo se minoris aestimat, quod virtutes ejus 
spatio breviore clauduntur. — Id. Epist. lxxiii. 

u Pausan. 1. i. p. 42. Hesych. in voc. ©cof. Nonn. Dionys. 1. xxxviii. p. 542. . 

x Geograph. 1. x. p. 325. 

y Himer. Orat in Epicur. ap. Phot Cod. CCXLIII. coL 1086. 

2 Philostr. de vit Apollon. 1. vi. c 2. et ex eo. Suid. in voc. Tifxcuriw. 

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quotes only part of the last words, is thought to have been this : 
ArNflSTSlc KAI EENfl : a "To the gods of Asia, Europe, 
and Africa, to the stra'nge and unknown god." St. Jerome 
represents it in the same manner, 5 only makes it gods, in the 
plural number, which because, says he, St. Paul needed not, he 
only cited it in the singular : which surely he affirms without 
any just ground and warrant ; though it cannot be denied, but 
that heathen writers make frequent mention of the altars of un- 
known gods, that were at Athens, as there want not others who 
speak of some erected there to an unknown god. This notion 
the Athenians might probably borrow from the Hebrews, who 
had the name of God in great secrecy and veneration. This 
being one of the titles given him by the prophet, 0 "V^P? f$ " a 
hidden God," or " a God that hides himself." Sure I am that 
Justin Martyr tells us, d that one of the principal names given to 
God by some of the heathens, was Har/icpv<f>o<;, " one altogether 
hidden." Hence the Egyptians probably derived their great 
God Ammon, e or more truly Amun, which signifies occult, or 
hidden. Accordingly, in this passage of St. Paul, the Syriac in- 
terpreter renders it, "the altar of the hidden God." The Jews 
were infinitely superstitious in concealing the name of God/ not 
thinking it lawful ordinarily to pronounce it. This made the 
Gentiles, strangers at best both to the language and religion of 
the Jews, at a great loss by what name to call him, only styling 
him in general an uncertain, unspeakable, invisible deity: whence 
Caligula/ in his ranting oration to the Jews, told them, that 
wretches as they were, though they refused to own him, whom 
all others had confessed to be a deity, yet they could worship 
tov d/caravofiaarov vfilv, " their own nameless God." And hence 
the Gentiles derived their custom of keeping secret the name of 
their gods: thus Plutarch tells us h of the tutelar deity of Rome, 

* Oecumen. SchoL in Act xvii. p. 137. 

b Com. in Tit. cap. L ad Paul, et Eustoch. c Isai. xlv. 15. 

d Paraen. ad Graec p. 37. e Plutarch, lib. de laid, et Osir. p. 354. 

f Dedita sacris Incerti Judaea Dei. Lucan. Pharsal. lib. ii. incertum Mosis numen. 
Tribel. Poll, in vit Claud, c. 2. Judaei mente sola, unumque numen intelligent; 
Bummura illud et aeternum, neque rautabile, neque interiturum. Tacit Histor. 
L v. c. 5. 

* Phil, de legat ad Cai. p. 1041. 

h Quaest Rom. p. 279. vid. Serv. ad illud Virgil. Georgic. 1. i. Dii patrii indigitca, etc. 

s 2 



that it was not lawful to name it, or so much as to inquire what 
sex it was of, whether god or goddess ; and that for once re- 
vealing it, Valerius Soranus, though tribune of the people, came 
to an untimely end, and was crucified, the vilest and most dis- 
honourable kind of death : whereof, among other reasons, he as- 
signs this, that by concealing the author of their public safety, fitj 
fjuovov toutov, aWa TravTas airo r&v irokir&v T0O9 0€oi><; Ttfiaa- 
0ai, " not he only, but all the other gods might have due honour 
and worship paid to them." Hence in their public adorations, 
after the invocation of particular deities, they were wont to add 
some more general and comprehensive form ; as when Cicero had 
been making his address to most of their particular gods, he 
concludes with a Cceteros item Deos, Deasque omnes imploro atque 
obtestor. 1 Usually the form was mi de^eque omnes. The reason 
whereof was this, that not being assured many times what that 
peculiar deity was, that was proper to their purpose, or what 
numbers of gods there were in the world, they would not affront 
or offend any, by seeming to neglect and pass them by. And 
this Chrysostom j thinks to have been particularly designed in 
the erection of this Athenian altar, firjirore ical dXXo? ri<; rj 
afoot? fikv ovBeTTO) yvdpifio^ 0epa7T€v6fi€vo<s Be aXXa^oO, "they 
were afraid lest there might be some other deity (besides those 
whom they particularly worshipped) as yet unknown to them, 
though honoured and adored elsewhere ;" and therefore, virkp 
vrktlovo? aatydkelas, " for the more security," they dedicated an 
altar to the unknown god. As for the particular occasion of 
erecting these altars at Athens, (omitting that of Pan's appearing 
to Philippides, mentioned by Oecumenius,) the most probable 
seems to be this. When a great plague raged at Athens, k and 
several means had been attempted for the removal of it, they 
were advised by Epimenides, the philosopher, to build an altar, 
and dedicate it tw trpo<rr\KovTi Oefi, " to the proper and pe- 
culiar deity to whom it did appertain," be he what he would. 
A course which proving successful, no doubt gave occasion to 
them, by way of gratitude, to erect more shrines to this unknown 

1 In Verr. Accus. 7. Post specialem invocationem, transit ad generalitatem, ne quod 
numen praetereat, more Pontificum per quos ritu veteri in omnibus sacris, post spe- 
ciales Deos, quos ad ipsum sacrum, quod fiebat, necesse erat invocari, generaliter omnia 
numina invocabantur. Serr. in illud Virgil Georgk. lib. i. Diique Deaeque omnes. 

J Homil xxxviii. in Act k Laert. L i. in vit. Epimen. p. 78. 

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god. And accordingly Laertius, who lived long after St. PauFs 
time, tells us that there were such nameless altars (he means 
such as were not inscribed to any particular deity) in and about 
Athens in his days, as monuments of that eminent deliverance. 

VII. But whatever the particular cause might be, hence it 
was that St. Paul took occasion to discourse of the true, but to 
them unknown God. For the philosophers had before treated 
him with a great deal of scorn and derision, asking what that 
idle and prating fellow had to say to them ? Others looking 
upon him as a propagator of new and strange gods, because he 
preached to them Jesus and Anastasis, or the resurrection, 
which they looked upon as two upstart deities, lately come into 
the world. Hereupon they brought him to the place where 
stood the famous senate-house of the Areopagites, and according 
to the Athenian humour, which altogether delighted in curious 
novelties, running up and down the forum* and places of public 
concourse, to see any strange accident, or hear any new report, 
(a vice which their own great orator long since taxed them 
with, 1 ) they asked him, what that new and strange doctrine 
was, which he preached to them ? Whereupon, in a neat and 
elegant discourse, he began to tell them, he had observed how 
much they were overrun with superstition, that their zeal for 
religion was indeed generous and commendable, but which 
miserably overshot its due measures and proportions ; that he 
had taken notice of an altar among them, inscribed, " To the 
unknown God, 1 ' and therefore, in compassion to their blind and 
misguided zeal, he would declare unto them the deity which 
they ignorantly worshipped ; and that this was no other than 
the great God, the Creator of all things, the Supreme Governor 
and Ruler of the world, who was incapable of being confined 
within any temple or human fabric : that no image could be 
made as a proper instrument to represent him ; that he needed 
no gifts or sacrifices, being himself the fountain from whence life, 
breath, and all other blessings were derived to particular beings ; 
that from one common original he had made the whole race of 
mankind, and had wisely fixed and determined the times and 
bounds of their habitation ; and all to this end, that men might 
be the stronglier obliged to seek after liim, and sincerely to serve 

1 Too-ovtov XP& V0V <nmv8d(m 9 &<rov &y #ca04<r0c, ikKofovres V ■*pocraryy*\&jj rt 
vc&repov. Demosth. Philip, iv. 

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and worship him: a doty which they might easily attain to, 
(though otherwise sunk into the deepest degeneracy, and over- 
spread with the grossest darkness,) he every where affording 
such palpable evidences of his own being and providence, that 
he seemed to stand near, and touch us ; it being entirely from 
him that we derive our life, motion, and subsistence. A thing 
acknowledged even by their own poet, m that " we also are his 
offspring." If therefore God was our Creator, it was highly un- 
reasonable to think that we could make any image or repre- 
sentation of him : that it was too long already that the divine 
patience had borne with the manners of men, and suffered them 
to go on in their blind idolatries ; that now he expected a general 
repentance and reformation from the world, especially having 
by the publishing of his gospel put out of all dispute the case of 
a future judgment, and particularly appointed the holy Jesus to 
be the person that should sentence and judge the world: by 
whose resurrection he had given sufficient evidence and assurance 
of it. No sooner had he mentioned the resurrection, but some 
of the philosophers (no doubt Epicureans, who were wont to 
laugh at the notion of a future state) mocked and derided him ; 
others more gravely answered, that they would hear him again 
concerning this matter. But his discourse, however scorned and 
slighted, did not wholly want its desired effect, and that upon 
some of the greatest quality and rank among them. In the 
number of whom was Dionysius, one of the grave senators and 
judges of the Areopagus, and Damaris, whom the ancients, not 
improbably, make his wife. n 

VIII. This Dionysius was bred at Athens, in all the learned 
arts and sciences : at five and twenty years of age, he is said to 
have travelled into Egypt, to perfect himself in the study of 
astrology, for which that nation had the credit and renown. 0 
Here beholding the miraculous eclipse that was at the time of 
our Saviour's passion, he concluded that some great accident 
must needs be coming upon the world. Returning to Athens, he 
became one of the senators of the Areopagus, disputed with St. 
Paul, and was by him converted from his errors and idolatry ; 
and being throughly instructed, was by him (as the ancients 

m Arat. Phse. in prin. et vid. Schol. ibid. 

" Chrywst de Sacerdot. 1. iv. c. 7. 

° Vid. inter alios Suid. in voc. Aiovfotos. 

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inform us p ) made the first bishop of Athens. As for those that 
tell us, q that he went afterwards into France by the direction of 
Clemens of Rome, planted Christianity at and became bishop of 
Paris, of his suffering martyrdom there under Domitian, his 
carrying his head for the space of two miles in his hand after it 
had been cut off, and the rest of his miracles done before and 
after his death, I have as little leisure to inquire into them, as I 
have faith to believe them. Indeed, the foundation of all is 
justly denied, viz. that ever he was there : a thing never heard of 
till the times of Charles the Great, though since that, volumes 
have been written of this controversy, both heretofore and of 
later times, among which J. Sirmondus the Jesuit, and Monsieur 
Launoy, one of the learned doctors of the Sorbonne, have un- 
answerably proved the Athenian and Parisian Dionysius to be 
distinct persons. For the books that go under his name, 
M. Daille' has sufficiently evinced them to be of a date many 
hundred years younger than St. Denys, though I doubt not but 
they may claim a greater antiquity than what he allows them. 
But whoever was their author, I am sure Suidas r has over- 
stretched the praise of them beyond all proportion, when he gives 
them this character : el tl$ airtBoi irpbs ra /eaWrj r£v avT&v 
\6y<ov, teal ra fidOi? r<Sv vorffidroDV, ov/c dvOpwrrlvq? (frvaecos 
ravra vofiiaot yevtffiara, dWd two? d/crfpdrov koI deia? 
8vvdfie<0<; : " that whoever considers the elegancy of his dis- 
courses, and the profoundness of his notions and speculations, 
must needs conclude that they are not the issue of any human 
understanding, but of some divine and immaterial power." But 
to return to our apostle. 

St. Paul's arrival at Corinth. The opposition made by the Jews. The success of his 
preaching upon others. His first epistle to the Thessalonians, when written. His 
arraignment before Gallio. The second epistle to the Thessalonians, and the design 

P Dionys. Corinth. Episc. ap. Euseb. 1. iii. c. 4. et 1. iv. c. 22. 

i Martyrium S. Dionys. per S. Metaphr. ap. Sur. ad diem 9 Octob. Epist. Hilduin. 
Abb. et Hincm. Rhem. item Passio ejus, aliaque ibid. Niceph. 1. ii. c. 20. 
r In voc. Aiovvaios. 


op 8T. Paul's acts at cobinth and ephesus. 



of it St Paul's voyage to Jerusalem. His coming to Ephesus. Disciples baptized 
into John's baptism. St. Paul's preaching at Ephesus, and the miracles wrought by 
him. Ephesus noted for the study of magic. Jews eminently versed in charms and 
enchantments. The original of the mystery, whence pretended to have been derived. 
The ill attempt of the sons of Sceva to dispossess demons in the name of Christ 
St Paul's doctrine greatly successful upon this sort of men. Books of magic forbidden 
by the Roman laws. St Paul's epistle to the Galatians, why and when written. 
Diana's temple at Ephesus, and its great stateliness and magnificence. The mutiny 
against St Paul raised by Demetrius and his party. St Paul's first epistle to the 
Corinthians, upon what occasion written. His epistle to Titus. Apollonius Tyanaeus, 
whether at Ephesus at the same time with St PauL His miracles pretended to be 
done in that city. 

After his departure from Athens, he went to Corinth, 8 the me- 
tropolis of Greece, and the residence of the proconsul of Achaia ; 
where he found Aquila and Priscilla lately come from Italy, 
banished out of Borne by the decree of Claudius. And they 
being of the same trade and profession, wherein he had been 
educated in his youth, he wrought together with them, lest he 
should be unnecessarily burdensome unto any, which for the 
same reason he did in some other places. Hither, after some 
time, Silas and Timothy came to him. In the synagogue he 
frequently disputed with the J ews and proselytes, reasoning and 
proving that Jesus was the true Messiah. They, according to 
the nature of the men, made head and opposed him ; and what 
they could not conquer by argument and force of reason, they 
endeavoured to carry by noise and clamour, mixed with blas- 
phemies and revilings, the last refuges of an impotent and baffled 
cause: whereat to testify his resentment, he shook his gar- 
ments, and told them, since he saw them resolved to pull down 
vengeance and destruction upon their own heads, he for his part 
was guiltless and innocent, and would henceforth address himself 
unto the Gentiles. Accordingly he left them, and went into the 
house of J ustus, a religious proselyte, where, by his preaching 
and the many miracles which he wrought, he converted great 
numbers to the faith: amongst which were Crispus, the chief 
ruler of the synagogue, Gaius, and Stephanus, who, together 
with their families, embraced the doctrine of the gospel, and 
were baptized into the Christian faith. But the constant returns 
of malice and ingratitude are enough to tire the largest cha- 
rity, and cool the most generous resolution : therefore, that the 
apostle might not be discouraged by the restless attempts and 

• Acts xviii. 1, 

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machinations of his enemies, our Lord appeared to him in a 
vision ; told him, that notwithstanding the had success he had * 
hitherto met with, there was a great harvest to be gathered in 
that place ; that he should not be afraid of his enemies, but go 
on to preach confidently and securely, for that he himself would 
stand by him and preserve him. 

II. About this time, as is most probable, he wrote this first 
epistle to the Thessalonians, Silas and Timothy being lately re- 
turned from thence, and having done the message for which he 
had sent them thither. The main design of the epistle is to 
confirm them in the belief of the Christian religion, and that 
they would persevere in it, notwithstanding all the afflictions 
and persecutions which he had told them would ensue upon 
their profession of the gospel, and to instruct them in the main 
duties of a Christian and religious life. While the apostle was 
thus employed, the malice of the Jews was no less at work 
against him ; and universally combining together, they brought 
him before Gallio, the proconsul of the province, elder brother 
to the famous Seneca : before him they accused the apostle as an 
innovator in religion, that sought to introduce a new way of 
worship, contrary to what was established by the Jewish law, 
and permitted by the Roman powers. The apostle was ready 
to have pleaded his own cause ; but jthe proconsul told them, that 
had it been a matter of right or wrong, that had fallen under 
the cognizance of the civil judicature, it had been very fit and 
reasonable that he should have heard and determined the case ; 
but since the controversy was only concerning the punctilios and 
> niceties of their religion, it was very improper for him to be a 
judge in such matters. And when they still clamoured about it, 
he threw out their indictment, and commanded his officers to 
drive them out of court : whereupon some of the townsmen 
seized upon Sosthenes, one of the rulers of the J ewish consistory, 
a man active and busy in this insurrection, and beat .him even 
before the court of judicature, the proconsul not at all concerning 
himself about it. A year and an half St. Paul continued in this 
place, and, before his departure thence, wrote his second epistle 
to the Thessalonians, to supply the want of his coming to them, 
which in his former he had resolved on, and for which, in a 
manner, he had engaged his promise. In this, therefore, he en- 
deavours again to confirm their minds in the truth of the gospel, 

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and that they would not be shaken with those troubles which 
the wicked unbelieving Jews would not cease to create them ; a 
lost and undone race of men, and whom the divine vengeance 
was ready finally to overtake. And because some passages in 
his former letter relating to this destruction had been misunder- 
stood, as if this day of the Lord were just then at hand, he rec- 
tifies those mistakes, and shews what must precede our Lord's 
coming unto judgment. 

III. St. Paul having thus fully planted and cultivated the 
church at Corinth, resolved now for Syria;* and taking along 
with him Aquila and Priscilla, at Cenchrea, the port and harbour 
of Corinth, Aquila (for of him it is certainly to be understood) 
shaved his head, in performance of a Nazarite vow he had for- 
merly made, the time whereof was now run out. In his passage 
into Syria he came to Ephesus, where he preached a while in 
the synagogue of the J ews ; and though desired to stay with 
them, yet having resolved to be at Jerusalem at the passover, 
(probably that he might have the fitter opportunity to meet his 
friends, and preach the gospel to those vast numbers that usually 
flocked to that great solemnity,) he promised, that in his return 
he would come again to them. Sailing thence, he landed at 
Caesarea, and thence went up to Jerusalem, where having visited 
the church, and kept the feast, he went down to Antioch. Here 
having stayed some time, he traversed the countries of Galatia 
and Phrygia, confirming, as he went, the new-converted Chris- 
tians, and so came to Ephesus ; where finding certain Christian 
disciples," he inquired of them, whether, since their conversion, 
they had received the miraculous gifts and powers of the Holy 
Ghost ? They told him, that the doctrine which they had re- 
ceived had nothing in it of that nature, nor had they ever heard 
that any such extraordinary spirit had of late been bestowed 
upon the church. Hereupon he farther inquired, unto what they 
had been baptized ? (the Christian baptism being administered 
in the name of the Holy Ghost.) They answered, they had re- 
ceived no more than John's baptism ; which though it obliged 
men to repentance, yet did it explicitly speak nothing of the 
Holy Ghost, or its gifts and powers. To this the apostle replied, 
that though John's baptism did openly oblige to nothing but 
repentance, yet that it did implicitly acknowledge the whole 

1 Acts xviii. 18. M Acts xix. 1. 

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doctrine concerning Christ and the Holy Ghost : whereto they 
assenting, were solemnly initiated by Christian baptism, and the 
apostle laying his hands upon them, they immediately received 
the Holy Ghost, in the gift of tongues, prophecy, and other 
miraculous powers conferred upon them. 

IV. After this he entered into the Jewish synagogues, where 
for the first three months he contended and disputed with the 
Jews; endeavouring, with great earnestness and resolution, to 
convince them of the truth of those things that concerned the 
Christian religion. But when, instead of success, he met with 
nothing but refractoriness and infidelity, he left the synagogue, 
and taking those with him whom he had converted, instructed 
them, and others that resorted to him, in the school of one 
Tyrannus, a place where scholars were wont to be educated and 
instructed. In this manner he continued for two years together : 
in which time the Jews and proselytes of the whole proconsular 
Asia had opportunity of having the gospel preached to them. 
And because miracles are the clearest evidence of a divine com- 
mission, and the most immediate credentials of heaven, those 
which do nearliest affect our senses, and consequently have the 
strongest iufluence upon our minds, therefore God was pleased 
to ratify the doctrine which St. Paul delivered by great and 
miraculous operations ; and those of somewhat a more peculiar 
and extraordinary nature : insomuch that he did not only heal 
those that came to him, but if napkins or handkerchiefs were 
but touched by him, and applied unto the sick, their diseases 
immediately vanished, and the demons and evil spirits departed 
out of those that were possessed by them. 

V. Ephesus, above all other places in the world, was noted of 
old for the study of magic, and all secret and hidden arts ; 
whence the 'EQiaia ypdfifiara, so often spoken of by the an- 
cients," which were certain obscure and mystical spells and 
charms, by which they endeavoured to heal diseases and drive 
away evil spirits, and do things beyond the reach and appre- 
hensions of common people. Besides other professors of this 
black art, there were at this time at Ephesus certain Jews, who 
dealt in the arts of exorcism and incantation ; a craft and mys- 
tery which Josephus y affirms to have been derived from So- 

* Suid. in voc. *E<f>t<r. ypdfifi. et Clem. Alex. Strom. 1. i. 8. 15. 
y Antiq. Jud. 1. viii. c. 2. 

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lomon ; who, he tells us, did not only find it out, but composed 
forms of exorcism and enchantment, whereby to cure diseases 
and expel demons, so as they should never return again ; and 
adds, fcal avrtf p&'xpi vvv trap fffilv r) Bepavela irkelarov layysi, 
" that this art was still in force among the Jews:" instances 
whereof, he tells us, he himself had seen, having beheld one 
Eleazar, a Jew, in the presence of Vespasian, his sons, and the 
great officers of his army, curing demoniacs, by holding a ring 
to their nose, under whose seal was hid the root of a certain 
plant, prescribed by Solomon, at the scent whereof the demon 
presently took leave and was gone, the patient falling to the 
ground, while the exorcist, by mentioning Solomon, and reciting 
some charms made by him, stood over him, and charged the 
evil spirit never to return. And to let them see that he was 
really gone, he commanded the demon, as he went out, to over- 
turn a cup full of water, which he had caused to be set in the 
room before them. In the number of these conjurors now at 
Ephesus, there were the seven sons of Sceva, one of the chief 
heads of the families of the priests, who, seeing what great 
things were done by calling over demoniacs the name of Christ, 
attempted themselves to do the like, conjuring the evil spirit in 
the name of that Jesus, whom Paul preached, to depart. But 
the stubborn demon would not obey the warrant, telling them, 
he knew who Jesus and Paul were, but did not understand what 
authority they had to use his name. And not content with 
this, forced the demoniac violently to fall upon them, to tear 
their clothes, and wound their bodies, scarce suffering them to 
escape with the safety of their lives: an accident that begot 
great terror in the minds of men, and became the occasion of 
converting many to the faith ; who came to the apostle, and con- 
fessed the former course and manner of their lives. Several 
also, who had traded in curious arts, and the mysterious me- 
thods of spells and charms, freely brought their books of magic 
rites, (whose price, had they been to be sold, according to the 
rates which men who dealt in those cursed mysteries put upon 
them, would have amounted to the value of above one thou- 
sand five hundred pounds,) 2 and openly burnt them before the 

*Actsxix. 19. Xvve^rft<pi<rav t&s rifxh.s avr&v, not tvpov itpyvplou /xvpidtias Wire* 
*Apy6piov Graecorum valuit drachmam Atticam, adeoque nostri 7d. ob. Ac proinde 'Af>- 
yvplov myriadea quinque nummi nostri suramam conficiunt 1562/. 10*. 

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people, themselves adjudging them to those flames to which they 
were condemned by the laws of the empire. For so we find 
the Roman laws prohibiting any to keep books of magic arts,* 
and that where any such were found, their goods should be for- 
feited, the books publicly burned, the persons banished, and, if 
of a meaner rank, beheaded. These books the penitent converts 
did of their own accord sacrifice to the fire, not tempted to 
spare them either by their former love to them, or the present 
price and value of them. With so mighty an efficacy did the 
gospel prevail over the minds of men. 

VI. About this time it was that the apostle writ his epistle to 
the Galatians. For he had heard that, since his departure, 
corrupt opinions had got in amongst them about the necessary 
observation of the legal rites, and that several impostors were 
crept into that church, who knew no better way to undermine 
the doctrine he had planted there, than by vilifying his person, 
slighting him as an apostle only at the second hand, not to be 
compared with Peter, James, and John, who had familiarly con- 
versed with Christ in the days of his flesh, and been immediately 
deputed by him. In this epistle therefore he reproves them with 
some necessary smartness and severity, . that they had been so 
soon led out of that right way wherein he had set them, and 
had so easily suffered themselves to be imposed upon by the 
crafty artifices of seducers. He vindicates the honour of his 
apostolate, and the immediate receiving his commission from 
Christ, wherein he shews, that he came not behind the very best 
of those apostles. He largely refutes those Judaical opinions 
that had tainted and infected them, and in the conclusion in- 
structs them in the rules and duties of an holy life. While the 
apostle thus stayed at Ephesus, he resolved with himself to pass 
through Macedonia and Achaia, thence to Jerusalem, and so to 
Rome : but for the present altered his resolution, and continued 
still at Ephesus. 

VII. During his stay in this place, an accident happened, that 
involved him in great trouble and danger. Ephesus, above all 
the cities of the East, was renowned for the famous temple of 
Diana, one of the stateliest temples of the world. It was (as 

• PauL JC. Sentent 1. v. sent 21. sect 4. tit xxiii. ad leg. Cornel, de Sicar. et Venefic 
Vid. leg. 4. ff. fiunil. hercisc. sect 1. 1. x. tit. ii. et Cod. Theod. de Malef. et Mathem. 
L iz. tit xri. 1. 12. 

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Pliny tells us 5 ') the very wonder of magnificence, built at the 
common charges of all Asia properly so called, two hundred and 
twenty years (elsewhere he says four hundred 0 ) in building, 
which we are to understand of its successive rebuildings and 
reparations, being often wasted and destroyed. It was four 
hundred and twenty-five feet long, two hundred and twenty 
broad, supported by one hundred and twenty-seven pillars, sixty 
feet high : for its antiquity, it was in some degree before the 
times of Bacchus, equal to the reign of the Amazons, d (by whom 
it is generally said to have been first built,) as the Ephesian 
ambassadors told Tiberius,* till by degrees it grew up into that 
greatness and splendour, that it was generally reckoned one of 
the seven wonders of the world. But that which gave the 
greatest fame and reputation to it, was an image of Diana kept 
there, made of no very costly materials, but which the crafty 
priests persuaded the people was beyond all human artifice or 
contrivement, and that it was immediately formed by Jupiter, 
and " dropped down from heaven," having first killed, or banished 
the artists that made it, (as Suidas informs us/) that the cheat 
might not be discovered ; by which means, they drew not Ephesus 
only, but the whole world into a mighty veneration of it. 
Besides, there were within this temple multitudes of silver 
cabinets, or chapelets, little shrines, made in fashion of the 
temple, wherein was placed the image of Diana. For the making 
of these holy shrines, great numbers of silversmiths were employed 
and maintained, among whom one Demetrius was a leading man, 
who, foreseeing that, if the Christian religion still got ground, 
their gainful trade would soon come to nothing, presently called 
together the men of his profession, especially those whom he 
himself set on work ; told them, that now their welfare and live- 
lihood were concerned, and that the fortunes of their wives and 
children lay at stake ; that it was plain that this Paul had per- 
verted city and country, and persuaded the people that the 
images which they made and worshipped were no real gods ; by 
which means their trade was not only like to fall to the ground, 
but also the honour and magnificence of the great goddess Diana, 
whom not Asia only, but the whole world did worship and adore. 

b Hist Nat. 1. xxxvi c 14. c Lib. xvi. c. 40. 

d Vid. Callym. in Dian. Hymn. ii. et Dionys. Perieg. v. 289. 

« Tacit Annal. L iii. c. 61. f Suid. in voc. AwwfWs. 



Enraged with this discourse, they cried out with one voice, that 
" Great was Diana of the Ephesians." The whole city was pre- 
sently in an uproar, and seizing upon two of St. Paul's com- 
panions, hurried them into the theatre, probably with a design 
to have cast them to the wild beasts. St. Paul hearing of their 
danger, would have ventured himself among them, had not the 
Christians, nay, some even of the Gentile priests, governors of 
the popular games and sports, earnestly dissuaded him from it ; 
well knowing that the people were resolved, if they could meet 
with him, to throw him to the wild beasts, that were kept there 
for the disport and pleasure of the people. And this doubtless 
he means, when elsewhere he tells us, that "lie fought with 
beasts at Ephesus," probably intending what the people designed, 
though he did not actually suffer ; though the brutish rage, the 
savage and inhuman manners of this people did sufficiently de- 
serve that the censure and character should be fixed upon them- 

VIII. Great was the confusion of the multitude, the major 
part not knowing the reason of the concourse. In which dis- 
traction, Alexander, a Jewish convert, being thrust forward by 
the Jews to be questioned and examined about this matter, he 
would accordingly have made his apology to the people, intending 
no doubt to clear himself by casting the whole blame upon St. 
Paul : this being very probably that Alexander the copper-smith, 
of whom our apostle elsewhere complains, 8 " that he did him 
much evil, and greatly withstood his words," and " whom he de- 
livered over unto Satan" for his apostacy, for blaspheming Christ, 
and reproaching Christianity. But the multitude perceiving him 
to be a Jew, and thereby suspecting him to be one of St. Paul's 
associates, began to raise an outcry for near two hours together, 
wherein nothing could be heard, but " Great is Diana of the 
Ephesians." The noise being a little over, the recorder, a discreet 
and prudent man, came out, and calmly told them, that it was 
sufficiently known to all the world, what a mighty honour and 
veneration the city of Ephesus had for the great goddess Diana, 
and the famous image which fell from heaven, that therefore 
there needed not this stir to vindicate and assert it : that they 
had seized persons who were not guilty either of sacrilege or 
blasphemy towards their goddess ; that if Demetrius and his 

« 2 Tim. iv. 14, 15. 1 Tim. i. 20. 



company had any just charge against them, the courts were 
sitting, and they might prefer their indictment ; or if the con- 
troversy were about any other matter, it might be referred to 
such a proper judicature as the law appoints for the determina- 
tion of such cases : that therefore they should do well to be 
quiet, having done more already than they could answer, if called 
in question, (as it is like they would,) there being no cause 
sufficient to justify that day's riotous assembly : with which 
prudent discourse he appeased and dismissed the multitude. 

IX. It was about this time that St. Paul heard of some dis- 
turbance in the church at Corinth, hatched and fomented by a 
pack of false heretical teachers, crept in among them, who en- 
deavoured to draw them into parties and factions, by persuading 
one party to be for Peter, another for Paul, a third for A polios ; 
as if the main of religion consisted in being of this or that deno- 
mination, or in a warm active zeal to decry and oppose whoever 
is not of our narrow sect. It is a very weak and slender claim, 
when a man holds his religion by no better a title than that he 
has joined himself to this man's church, or that man's congrega- 
tion, and is zealously earnest to maintain and promote it ; to be 
childishly and passionately clamorous for one man's mode and 
way of administration, or for some particular humour or opinion, 
as if religion lay in nice and curious disputes, or in separating 
from our brethren, and not rather " in righteousness, peace, and 
joy in the Holy Ghost." By this means schisms and factions 
broke into the Corinthian church, whereby many wild and ex- 
travagant opinions, and some of them such as undermined the 
fundamental articles of Christianity, were planted, and had 
taken root there : as the envious man never fishes more suc- 
cessfully than in troubled waters. To cure these distempers, 
St. Paul (who had received an account of all these by letters, 
which Apollos and some others had brought to him from the 
church of Corinth) writes his first epistle to them : wherein he 
smartly reproves them for their schisms and parties, conjures 
them to peace and unity, corrects those gross corruptions that 
were introduced among them, and particularly resolves those 
many cases and controversies wherein they had requested his 
advice and counsel. x Shortly after Apollos designing to go for 
Crete, by him and Zenas St. Paul sends his epistle to Titus, 
whom he had made bishop of that island, and had left there for 

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the propagating of the gospel. Herein he fully instructs him in 
the execution of his office, how to carry himself, and what di- 
rections he should give to others, to all particular ranks and re- 
lations of men, especially those who were to be advanced to 
places of office and authority in the church. 

X. A little before St. Paul's departure from Ephesus, we may 
not improbably suppose that Apollonius Tyanaeus, the famous 
philosopher and magician of the heathen world, (a man remark- 
able for the strictness of his manners, and his sober and regular 
course of life, but especially for the great miracles said to have 
been done by him ; whom therefore the heathens generally set 
up as the great corrival of our Saviour, though some of his own 
party, and particularly Euphratus the philosopher,* 1 who lived 
with him at the same time at Rome, accused him for doing his 
strange feats by magic,) came to Ephesus. The enemy of man- 
kind probably designing to obstruct the propagation of Christi- 
anity, by setting up one who by the arts of magic might, at 
least in the vogue and estimation of the people, equal or eclipse 
the miracles of St. Paul. Certain it is, if we compare times and 
actions set down by the writer of his Life,' we shall find that he 
came hither about the beginning of Nero's reign ; and he par- 
ticularly sets down the strange things that were done by him, 
especially his clearing the city of a grievous plague, for which 
the people of Ephesus had him in such veneration, that they 
erected a statue to him as to a particular deity, and di£ divine 
honour to it. k But whether this was before St. Paul's going 
thence, I will not take upon me to determine ; it seems most 
probable to have been done afterwards. 


St. Paul's journey into Macedonia. His preaching as far as Illyricum, and return into 
Greece. His second epistle to the Corinthians, and what the design of it. His first 

h Euseb. 1. iv. contra Hierocl. p. 530. ad calc. Demonstr. Evang. 

1 Philostr. de vit. Apoll. Tyan. 1. iv. c. 1. et c. 12. confer. 1. \. 

k Ibid. 1. iv. c. 3. Vid. Euseb. in Hierocl. 1. iv. apud Philostr. p. 4.57. 






epistle to Timothy. His epistle to the Romans, whence written, and with what de- 
sign. St Paul's preaching at Troas, and raising Eutychus. His summoning the 
Asian bishops to Miletus, and pathetical discourse to them. His stay at Caesarea with 
Philip the Deacon. The church's passionate dissuading him from going to Jerusalem. 
His coming to Jerusalem, and compliance with the indifferent rites of the Mosaic law, 
and why. The tumults raised against him by the Jews, and his rescue by the Roman 
captain. His asserting his Roman freedom. His carriage before the Sanhedrim. The 
difference between the Pharisees and Sadducees about him. The Jews' conspiracy 
against his life discovered His being sent unto Caesarea. 

It was not long after the tumult at Ephesus, when St. Paul, 
having called the church together, and constituted Timothy 
bishop of that place, took his leave, and departed by Troas for 
Macedonia. 1 And at this time it was that, as he himself tells 
us, he " preached the gospel round about unto Illyricum," since 
called Sclavonia, some parts of Macedonia bordering on that 
province. From Macedonia he returned back unto Greece, 
where he abode three months, and met with Titus, lately come 
with great contributions from the church at Corinth : by whose 
example he stirred up the liberality of the Macedonians, who 
very freely, and somewhat beyond their ability, contributed to 
the poor Christians at Jerusalem. From Titus he had an ac- 
count of the present state of the church at Corinth; and by him 
at his return, together with St. Luke, he sent his second epistle 
to them: wherein he endeavours to set right what his former 
epistle had not yet effected, to vindicate his apostleship from 
that contempt and scorn, and himself from those slanders and 
aspersions, which the seducers, who had found themselves lashed 
by his first epistle, had cast upon him, together with some other 
particular cases relating to them. Much about the same time he 
writ his first epistle to Timothy, whom he had left at Ephesus, 
wherein at large he counsels him how to carry himself in the 
discharge of that great place and authority in the church, wkich 
he had committed to him; instructs him in the particular 
qualifications of those whom he should make choice of, to be 
bishops and ministers in the church. How to order the deaconesses, 
and to instruct servants ; warning him withal of that pestilent 
generation of heretics and seducers that would arise in the 
church. During his three months stay in Greece, he went to 
Corinth, whence he wrote his famous epistle to the Romans, 
which he sent by Phoebe, a deaconess of the church of Cenchrea, 

1 Acts xx. 1. 



nigh Corinth : wherein his main design is fully to state and de- 
termine the great controversy between the Jews and Gentiles, 
about the obligation of the rites and ceremonies of the Jewish 
law, and those main and material doctrines of Christianity which 
did depend upon it, such as of Christian liberty, the use of in- 
different things, &c. : and, which is the main end of all religion, 
instructs them in, and presses them to the duties of an holy and 
good life, such as the Christian doctrine does naturally tend to 
oblige men to. 

II. St. Paul being now resolved for Syria, to convey the con- 
tributions to the brethren at Jerusalem, was a while diverted 
from that resolution, by a design he was told of which the Jews 
had to kill and rob him by the way. Whereupon he went back 
into Macedonia, and so came to Philippi, and thence went to 
Troas ; where having stayed a week, on the Lord's day the church 
met together to receive the holy sacrament. Here St. Paul 
preached to them, and continued his discourse till midnight, the 
longer probably, being the next day to depart from them. The 
length of his discourse, and the time of the night, had caused 
some of his auditors to be overtaken with sleep and drowsiness ; 
among whom a young man called Eutychus being fast asleep, 
fell down from the third story and was taken up dead, but whom 
St. Paul presently restored to life and health. How inde- 
fatigable was the industry of our apostle ! how close did he tread 
in his Master's steps, who went about doing good ! He com- 
passed sea and land, preached and wrought miracles wherever 
he came. In every place, like a wise master-builder, he either 
laid a foundation, or raised a superstructure. He was instant in 
season and out of season, and spared not his pains either night or 
day, that he might do good to the souls of men. The night being 
thus spent in holy exercises, St. Paul in the morning took his 
leave, and went on foot to Assos, a sea-port town, whither he had 
sent his company by sea. Thence they set sail to Mitylene ; from 
thence to Samos ; and having stayed some little time at Trogyl- 
lium, the next day came to Miletus, not so much as putting in 
at Ephesus, because the apostle was resolved, if possible, to be at 
Jerusalem at the feast of Pentecost. 

III. At Miletus he sent to Ephesus,™ to summon the bishops 
and governors of the church ; who being come, he put them in 

m Acts xx. 17. 


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mind with what uprightness and integrity, with what affection 
and humility, with how great trouble and danger, with how 
much faithfulness to their souls he had been conversant among 
them, and had preached the gospel to them, ever since his first 
coming into those parts : that he had not failed to acquaint them 
both publicly and privately with whatever might be useful and 
profitable to them, urging both upon Jews and Gentiles repent- 
ance and reformation of life, and an hearty entertainment of the 
faith of Christ : that now he was resolved to go to Jerusalem, 
where he did not know what particular sufferings would befall 
him, more than this, that it had been foretold him in every place, 
by those who were endued with the prophetical gifts of the Holy 
Ghost, that afflictions and imprisonment would attend him there: 
but that he was not troubled at this, no, nor unwilling to lay 
down his life, so he might but successfully preach the gospel, and 
faithfully serve his Lord in that place and station wherein he had 
set him : that he knew that henceforth they should see his face 
no more ; but that this was his encouragement and satisfaction, 
that they themselves could bear him witness, that he had not, by 
concealing from them any parts of the Christian doctrine, be- 
trayed their souls : that as for themselves, whom God had made 
bishops and pastors of his church, they should be careful to 
feed, guide, and direct those Christians under their inspection, 
and be infinitely tender of the good of souls, for whose redemp- 
tion Christ laid down his own life : that all the care they could 
use was no more than necessary, it being certain, that after his 
departure, heretical teachers would break in among them, and 
endanger the ruin of men's souls ; nay, that even among them- 
selves there would some arise, who by subtle and crafty methods, 
by corrupt and pernicious doctrines, would gain proselytes to 
their party, and thereby make rents and schisms in the church : 
that therefore they should watch, remembering with what tears 
and sorrow he had for three years together warned them of these 
things : that now he recommended them to the divine care and 
goodness, and to the rules and instructions of the gospel, which, 
if adhered to, would certainly dispose and perfect them for that 
state of happiness which God had prepared for good men in 
heaven. In short, that he had all along dealt faithfully and 
uprightly with them, they might know from hence, that in all his 
preaching he had no crafty or covetous designs upon any man's 

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estate or riches, having (as themselves could witness) indus- 
triously laboured with his own hands, and by his own work 
maintained both himself and his company : herein leaving them 
an example, what pains they ought to take to support the weak 
and relieve the poor, rather than to be themselves chargeable 
unto others; according to that incomparable saying of our Saviour, 
(which surely St. Paul had received from some of those that had 
conversed with him in the days of his flesh,) " it is more blessed 
to give than to receive." This concio ad clerum, or visitation- 
sermon, being ended, the apostle kneeled down, and concluded all 
with prayer : which done, they all melted into tears, and with 
the greatest expressions of sorrow attended him to the ship; 
though that which made the deepest impression upon their minds 
was, that he had told them u that they should see his face no 

IV. Departing from Miletus they arrived at Coos ; n thence 
came to Rhodes, thence to Patara, thence to Tyre ; where meet- 
ing with some Christians, he was" advised by those among them, 
who had the gift of prophecy, that he should not go up to Jeru- 
salem : with them he stayed a week, and then going all together 
to the shore, he kneeled down and prayed with them ; and having 
mutually embraced one another, he went on board, and came to 
Ptolemais, where only saluting the brethren, they came next day 
unto Caesarea. Here they lodged in the house of Philip the 
Evangelist, one of the seven deacons that were at first set apart 
by the apostles, who had four virgin-daughters, all endued with 
the gift of prophecy. During their stay in this place, Agabus, a 
Christian prophet, came down hither from Judea ; who taking 
Paul's girdle, bound with it his own hands and feet, telling them, 
that by this external symbol the Holy Ghost did signify and 
declare that St. Paul should be thus served by the Jews at 
Jerusalem, and be by them delivered over into the hands of the 
Gentiles. Whereupon they all passionately besought him that 
he would divert his course to some other place. The apostle 
asked them, what they meant, by these compassionate dissua- 
sives to add more affliction to his sorrow ? that he was willing and 
resolved not only to be imprisoned, but, if need were, to die at 
Jerusalem for the sake of Christ and his religion. Finding his 
resolution fixed and immoveable they importuned him no farther* 

0 Acts xxi. 1. 



but left the event to the divine will and pleasure. All things 
being in readiness, they set forwards on their journey; and being 
come to Jerusalem, were kindly and joyfully entertained by the 
Christians there. 

V. The next day after their arrival, 0 St. Paul and his company 
went to the house of St. James the Apostle, where the rest of 
the bishops and governors of the church were met together: 
after mutual salutations, he gave them a particular account with 
what success God had blessed him in propagating Christianity 
among the Gentiles, for which they all heartily blessed God : but 
withal told him, that he was now come to a place where there 
were many thousands of Jewish converts, who all retained a 
mighty zeal and veneration for the law of Moses, and who had 
been informed of him, that he taught the Jews, whom he had 
converted in every place, to renounce circumcision and the cere- 
monies of the law : that as soon as the multitude heard of his 
arrival, they would come together to see how he behaved him- 
self in this matter ; and therefore, to prevent so much disturb- 
ance, it was advisable, that there being four men there at that 
time who were to accomplish a vow, (probably not the Nazarite 
vow, but some other, which they had made for deliverance from 
sickness, or some other eminent danger and distress; for so, 
Josephus tells us, p they were wont to do in such cases, and 
before they came to offer the accustomed sacrifices, to abstain 
for some time from wine, and to shave their heads,) he would 
join himself to them, perform the usual rites and ceremonies 
with them, and provide such sacrifices for them as the law 
required in that case, and that in discharge of their vow they 
might shave their heads; whereby it would appear, that the 
reports which were spread concerning him were false and ground- 
less, and that he himself did still observe the rites and orders 
of the Mosaical institution : that as for the Gentile converts, 
they required no such observances at their hands, nor expected 
any thing more from them in these indifferent matters, than what 
had been before determined by the apostolical synod in that 
place. St. Paul (who in such things was willing " to become 
all things to all men, that he might gain the more") consented 
to the counsel which they gave him; and taking the persons 
along with him to the temple, told the priests, that the time of 

° Acts xxi. 18. 

P DeBell. Jud. Lii. c. 15. 



a vow which they had made being now run out, and having 
purified themselves as the nature of the case required, they were 
come to make their offerings according to the law. 

VI. The seven days, wherein those sacrifices were to be 
offered, being now almost ended, some Jews that were come 
from Asia, (where probably they had opposed St. Paul,) now 
finding him in the temple, began to raise a tumult and uproar, 
and laying hold of him, called out to the rest of the Jews for 
their assistance : telling them, that this was the fellow that 
everywhere vented doctrines derogatory to the prerogative of 
the Jewish nation, destructive to the institutions of the law, and 
to the purity of that place, which he had profaned by bringing 
in uncircumcised Greeks into it ; positively concluding, that be- 
cause they had seen Trophimus, a Gentile convert of Ephesus, 
with him in the city, therefore he had brought him also into the 
temple. So apt is malice to make any premises, from whence it may 
infer its own conclusion. Hereupon the whole city was presently 
in an uproar; and seizing upon him, they dragged him out of the 
temple, the doors being presently shut against him. Nor had 
they failed there, to put a period to all his troubles, had not 
Claudius Lysias, commander of the Roman garrison in the 
tower of Antonia, come in with some soldiers to his rescue and 
deliverance ; and supposing him to be a more than ordinary 
malefactor, commanded a double chain to be put upon him, 
though as yet altogether ignorant, either who he, or what his 
crime was, and wherein he could receive little satisfaction from 
the clamorous multitude, who called for nothing but his. death, 
following the cry with such crowds and numbers, that the 
soldiers were forced to take him into their arms, to secure him 
from the present rage and violence of the people. As they were 
going up into the castle, St. Paul asked the governor, whether he 
might have the liberty to speak to him ? who, finding him to 
speak Greek, inquired of him whether he was not that Egyptian 
which a few years before had raised a sedition in Judea, and 
headed a party of four thousand debauched and profligate 
wretches ? The apostle replied, that he was a Jew of Tarsus, a 
freeman of a rich and honourable city, and therefore begged of 
him that he might have leave to speak to the people ; which 
the captain readily granted : and standing near the door of the 
castle, and making signs that they would hold their peace, he 

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began to address himself to them in the Hebrew language; 
which when they heard, they became a little more calm and 
quiet, while he discoursed to them to this effect. 

VII. He gave them an account of himself from his birth, q of 
his education in his youth, of the mighty zeal which he had for 
the rites and customs of their religion, and with what a pas- 
sionate earnestness he persecuted and put to death all the 
Christians that he met with, whereof the high-priest and the 
Sanhedrim could be sufficient witnesses. He next gave them an 
entire and punctual relation of the way and manner of his con- 
version, and how that he had received an immediate command 
from God himself, to depart Jerusalem, and preach unto the 
Gentiles. At this word, the patience of the Jews could hold no 
longer, but they unanimously cried out to have him put to 
death, it not being fit that such a villain should live upon the 
earth. And the more to express their fury, they threw off 
their clothes, and cast dust into the air, as if they immediately 
designed to stone him : to avoid which, the captain of the guard 
commanded him to be brought within the castle, and that he 
should be examined by whipping, till he confessed the reason of 
so much rage against him. While the lictor was binding him 
in order to it, he asked the centurion that stood by, whether 
they could justify the scourging a citizen of Eome, r and that 
before any sentence legally passed upon him! This the cen- 
turion presently intimated to the governor of the castle, bidding 
him have a care what he did, for the prisoner was a Roman. 
Whereat the governor himself came, and asked him whether he 
was a free denizen of Rome ? and being told that he was, he 
replied, that it was a great privilege, a privilege which he him- 
self had purchased at a considerable rate : to whom St. Paul 
answered, that it was his birth-right, and the privilege of the 
place where he was born and bred. Hereupon they gave over 
their design of whipping him, the commander himself being a 
little startled, that he had bound and chained a denizen of Rome. 

i Acts xxii. 1. 

r Csedebatur virgis in medio foro Messanae civis Romanus, cum interea nullus gemitus, 
nulla vox alia istius miseri audiebatur, nisi hsec, civis Romanus sum. Hac se comme- 
moratione civitatis omnia verbera depulsurum arbitrabatur. 0 nomen dulce libertatis ! 
0 jus eximium nostrae civitatis ! O lex Porcia, legesque Sempronije ! — Cicer. in Verr. 
1. vii. Facinus est vincire civem Romanum, scelus verberare. — Id. ib. vid. supra sect. iii. 
num. 4. 



VIII. The next day, the governor commanded his chains to 
be knocked off ; and that he might throughly satisfy himself in 
the matter, commanded the Sanhedrim to meet, and brought 
down Paul before them : 8 where being set before the council, he 
told them, that in all passages of his life he had been careful to 
act according to the severest rules and conscience of his duty : * 
44 Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before 
God until this day." Behold here the great security of a good 
man, and what invisible supports innocency affords under greatest 
danger. With how generous a confidence does virtue and honesty 
guard the breast of a good man ! as indeed nothing else can lay a 
firm basis and foundation for satisfaction and tranquillity, when 
any misery or calamity does overtake us. Religion and a good 
conscience beget peace and a heaven in the man's bosom, beyond 
the power of the little accidents of this world to ruffle and dis- 
compose. Whence Seneca compares the mind of a wise and good 
man to the state of the upper region, which is always serene and 
calm." The high-priest, Ananias, being offended at the holy and 
ingenuous freedom of our apostle, as if by asserting his own inno- 
cency he had reproached the justice of their tribunal, commanded 
those that stood next him, to strike him in the face ; whereto 
the apostle tartly replied, that God would smite him, hypocrite 
as he was, who, under a pretence of doing justice, had illegally 
commanded him to be punished, before the law condemned him 
for a malefactor. Whereupon they that stood by, asked him, 
how he durst thus affront so sacred and venerable a person as 
God's high-priest ? He calmly returned, that 44 he did not know 
[or own] Ananias to be an high-priest " [of God's appointment.]* 
However, being a person in authority, it was not lawful to revile 
him, God himself having commanded, that 44 no man should speak 

• Acts xxiii. 1. 

1 Els a&rhv <rvv€i\ov, ipvtriv t\ €l T ^ ^oyiKbv fiycfioviicbv, iavr$ kpusiaOai Zikolio- 
irpayovmi kolI irap* avrb rovro yaX-fivyy tx oVTl ' M» Anton. iw els kavr. 1. vii. sect. 28. 
Vid. Horat Carm. 1. iii. od. 3. 

u Senec. Epist lix. 

x Haec Pauli verba Ananias et apparitores sic accipiebant, quasi excusaret Paulus 
quod sibi in istis malis constitute non satis in mentem vcnisset, quicum sibi res esset 
Vcrum latentior 'sensus suberat, non esse eum sacerdotum, aut principem senatus, 
qui eas dignitates pretio comparasset Didicerat enim hoc a Gamaliele Paulus: "Ju- 
dicem qui honoris consequendi causa pecunias dederit, revera neque judicem esse, neque 
honorandum, sed asini habendum loco," ut est in Titulo Talmudico de Synedrio. Grot 
in loe. 

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evil of the ruler of the people." The apostle, who as he never 
laid aside the innocency of the dove, so knew how, when occasion 
was, to make use of the wisdom of the serpent, perceiving the 
council to consist partly of Sadducees and partly of Pharisees, 
openly told them that he was a Pharisee, and the son of a Phari- 
see, and that the main thing he was questioned for was his be- 
lief of a future resurrection. This quickly divided the council ; 
the Pharisees being zealous patrons of that article, and the Saddu- 
cees as stiffly denying that there is either angel (that is, of a 
spiritual and immortal nature, really subsisting of itself, for other- 
wise they cannot be supposed to have utterly denied all sorts of 
angels, seeing they owned the Pentateuch, wherein there is fre- 
quent mention of them) or spirit, or that human souls do exist in 
a separate state, and, consequently, that there is no resurrection. 
Presently, the doctors of the law, who were Pharisees, stood 
up to acquit him, affirming he had done nothing amiss ; that 
it was possible he had received some intimation from heaven 
by an angel, or the revelation of the Holy Spirit ; and if so, 
then, in opposing his doctrine, they might fight against God 

IX. Great were the dissensions in the council about this 
matter, insomuch that the governor, fearing St. Paul would be 
torn in pieces, commanded the soldiers to take him from the bar, 
and return him back into the castle. That night, to comfort him 
after all his frights and fears, God was pleased to appear to him 
in a vision, encouraging him to constancy and resolution ; assuring 
him, that as he had borne witness to his cause at Jerusalem, so, 
in despite of all his enemies, he should live to bear his testimony 
even at Rome itself. The next morning, the Jews, who could as 
well cease to be, as to be mischievous and malicious, finding that 
these dilatory proceedings were not like to do the work, resolved 
upon a quicker despatch. To which end, above forty of them 
entered into a wicked confederacy, which they ratified by oath 
and execration, never to eat or drink till they had killed him : 
and having acquainted the Sanhedrim with their design, they 
entreated them to importune the governor, that he might again 
the next day be brought down before them, under pretence of a 
more strict trial of his case, and that they themselves would lie 
in ambush by the way, and not fail to despatch him. But that 
Divine Providence that peculiarly superintends the safety of good 

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men, disappoints the devices of the crafty. The design was dis- 
covered to St. Paul by a nephew of his, and by him imparted to 
the governor, who immediately commanded two parties of foot 
and horse to be ready by nine of the clock that night, and pro- 
vision to be made for St. Paul's carriage to Felix, the Roman 
governor of that province : to whom also he wrote, signifying 
whom he had sent, how the Jews had used him, and that his 
enemies also should appear before him to manage the charge and 
accusation. Accordingly, he was by night conducted to Anti- 
patris, and afterwards to Cajsarea ; where the letters being de- 
livered to Felix, the apostle was presented to him : and finding 
that he belonged to the province of Cilicia, he told him, that as 
soon as his accusers were arrived, he should have an hearing ; 
commanding him, in the mean time, to be secured in the place 
called Herod's hall. 




St Paul impleaded before Felix by Tertullus the Jewish advocate. His charge of sedi- 
tion, heresy, and profanation of the temple. St Paul's reply to the several parts of 
the charge. His second hearing before Felix and Drusilla. His smart and impartial 
reasonings. Felix's great injustice and oppression : his luxury and intemperance, 
bribery and covetousness. St Paul's arraignment before Festus, Felix's successor, at 
Caesarea. His appeal to Caesar. The nature and manner of those appeals. He is 
again brought before Festus and Agrippa. His vindication of him&elfj and the good- 
ness of his cause. His being acquitted by his judges of any capital crime. His voyage 
to Rome. The trouble and danger of it Their shipwreck, and being cast upon the 
island Melita. Their courteous entertainment by the Barbarians, and their different 
censure of St Paul. The civil usage of the governor, and his conversion to Chris- 
tianity. St Paul met and conducted by Christians to Rome. 

Not many days after, down comes Ananias the high-priest/ with 
some others of the Sanhedrim, to Caesarea, accompanied with 
Tertullus their advocate ; who in a short but neat speech, set off 
with all the flattering and insinuative arts of eloquence, began to 
implead our apostle, charging him with sedition, heresy, and the 
profanation of the temple : that they would have saved him the 

y Acts xxiv. 1. 

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trouble of this hearing, by judging him according to their own 
law, had not Lysias the commander violently taken him from 
them, and sent both them and him down thither: to all which 
the Jews that were with him gave in their vote and testimony. 
St. Paul, having leave from Felix to defend himself, and having 
told him, how much he was satisfied that he was to plead before 
one who for so many years had been governor of that nation, 
distinctly answered to the several parts of the charge. 

II. And first for sedition, he point-blank denied it, affirming 
that they found him behaving himself quietly and peaceably in 
the temple, not so much as disputing there, nor stirring np the 
people either in the synagogues, or any other place of the city. 
And though this was plausibly pretended by them, yet were 
they never able to make it good. As for the charge of heresy, 
that he was a " ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes," he in- 
genuously acknowledged, that after the way which they counted 
heresy, so he worshipped God, the same way in substance wherein 
all the patriarchs of the Jewish nation had worshipped God be- 
fore him, taking nothing into his creed but what the authentic 
writings of the Jews themselves did own and justify: that he 
firmly believed, what the better of themselves were ready to 
grant, another life and a future resurrection : in the hope and 
expectation whereof he was careful to live unblamable, and con- 
scientiously to do his duty both to God and men. As for the 
third part of the charge, his profaning of the temple, he shews 
how little foundation there was for it ; that the design of .his 
coming to Jerusalem was to bring charitable contributions to his 
distressed brethren ; that he was indeed in the temple, but not 
as some Asiatic Jews falsely suggested, either with tumult or 
with multitude, but only purifying himself according to the rites 
and customs of the Mosaic law : and that if any would affirm 
the contrary, they should come now into open court and make 
it good. Nay, that he appealed to those of the Sanhedrim that 
were there present, whether he had not been acquitted by their 
own great council at Jerusalem, where nothing of moment had 
been laid to his charge, except by them of the Sadducean party, 
who quarrelled with him only for asserting the doctrine of the 
resurrection. Felix having thus heard both parties argue, re- 
fused to make any final determination in the case, till he had 
more fully advised about it, and spoken with Lysias, commander 



of the garrison, who was best able to give an account of the se- 
dition and the tumult; commanding, in the mean time, that 
St. Paul should be under guard, but yet in so free a custody, 
that none of his friends should be hindered from visiting him, or 
performing any office of kindness and friendship to him. 

III. It was not long after this, before his wife Drusilla (a 
Jewess, daughter of the elder Herod, and whom Tacitus, I fear 
by a mistake for his former wife Drusilla, daughter to Juba 
king of Mauritania, makes niece to Antony and Cleopatra) 
came to him to Caesarea : who being present, he sent for St. 
Paul to appear before them, and gave him leave to discourse 
concerning the doctrine of Christianity. In his discourse, he 
took occasion particularly to insist upon the great obligation 
which the laws of Christ lay upon men to justice and righteous- 
ness toward one another, to sobriety and chastity both towards 
themselves and others, withal urging that severe and impartial 
account that must be given in the judgment of the other world, 
wherein men shall be arraigned for all the actions of their past 
life, and be eternally punished or rewarded according to their 
works: a discourse wisely adapted by the apostle to Felix's 
state and temper. But corrosives are very uneasy to a guilty 
mind : men naturally hate that which " brings their sins to their 
remembrance," and sharpens the sting of a violated conscience. 
The prince was so nettled with the apostle's reasonings, that he 
fell a trembling, and caused the apostle to break off abruptly, 
telling him, he would hear the rest at some other season. And 
good reason there was that Felix's conscience should be sensibly 
alarmed with these reflections, being a man notoriously infamous 
for rapine and violence. Tacitus tells us of him, 2 that he made 
his will the law of his government, practising all manner of 
cruelty and injustice. And then for incontinency, he was given 
over to luxury and debauchery, for the compassing whereof he 
scrupled not to violate all laws both of God and man ; whereof 
this very wife Drusilla was a famous instance : 8 for being mar- 
ried by her brother to Azis king of the Emisenes, Felix, who 
had heard of her incomparable beauty, by the help of Simon the 
magician, a Jew of Cyprus, ravished her from her husband's bed, 
and in defiance of all law and right kept her for his own wife. 
To these qualities he had added bribery and covetousness, and 

* Histor. 1. v. c. 9. vid. Annal. 1. xii. c. 54. a Joseph. Antiq. Jud. 1. xx. c. 5. 

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therefore frequently sent for St. Paul to discourse with him, ex- 
pecting that he should have given him a considerable sum for 
his release ; and the rather probably, because he had heard that 
St. Paul had lately brought up great sums of money to Jeru- 
salem. But finding no offers made, either by the apostle or his 
friends, he kept him prisoner for two years together, so long as 
himself continued procurator of that nation ; when being displaced 
by Nero, he left St. Paul still in prison, on purpose to gratify 
the Jews, and engage them to speak better of him after his de- 
parture from them. 

IV. To him succeeded Portius Festus in the procuratorship 
of the province, at whose first coming to Jerusalem, 5 the high- 
priest and Sanhedrim presently began to prefer to him an in- 
dictment against St. Paul, desiring that, in order to his trial, he 
might be sent for up from Csesarea; designing, under this pre- 
tence, that some assassinates should lie in the way to murder 
him. Festus told them, that he himself was going shortly for 
Csesarea, and that if they had any thing against St. Paul, they 
should come down thither and accuse him. Accordingly, being 
come to Csesarea, and sitting in open judicature, the Jews began 
to renew the charge which they had heretofore brought against 
St. Paul : of all which he cleared himself, they not being able to 
make any proof against him. However, Festus, being willing to 
oblige the Jews in the entrance upon his government, asked him, 
whether he would go up and be tried before him at Jerusalem! 
The apostle, well understanding the consequences of that pro- 
posal, told him, that he was a Roman, and therefore ought to be 
judged by their laws ; that he stood now at Caesar's own judg- 
ment-seat, (as indeed what was done by the emperor's procurator 
in any province, the law reckoned as done by the emperor him- 
self, 0 ) and though he should submit to the Jewish tribunal, yet 
he himself saw, that they had nothing which they could prove 
against him : that if he had done any thing which really deserved 
capital punishment, he was willing to undergo it ; but if not, he 
ought not to be delivered over to his enemies, who were before- 
hand resolved to take away his life. However, as the safest 
course, he solemnly made his appeal to the Roman emperor, who 
should judge between them : whereupon Festus, advising with 
the Jewish Sanhedrim, received his appeal, and told him he 
b Acts xxv. 1. c L. i. ff. de Offic. Procur. Caesar, lib. i. tit xix. 

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should go to Caesar. This way of appealing was frequent among 
the Romans; introduced to defend and secure the lives and 
fortunes of the populacy from the unjust encroachments and 
over-rigorous severities of the magistrates, whereby it was lawful, 
in cases of oppression, to appeal to the people for redress and 
rescue, a thing more than once and again settled by the sanction 
of the Valerian laws. These appeals were wont to be made in 
writing, d by appellatory libels given in, wherein was contained 
an account of the appellant, the person against whom, and from 
whose sentence he did appeal : but where the case was done in 
open court, it was enough for the criminal verbally to declare 
that he did appeal. In great and weighty cases appeals were 
made to the prince himself, and that not only at Rome, but in 
the provinces of the empire; all proconsuls and governors of 
provinces being strictly forbidden to execute, 6 scourge, bind, or 
put any badge of servility upon a citizen, or any that had the 
privilege of a citizen of Rome, who had made his appeal, or any 
ways to hinder him from going thither to obtain justice at the 
hands of the emperor, who had as much regard to the liberty of 
his subjects, (says the law itself,) as they could have of their 
good-will and obedience to him. And this was exactly St. Paul's 
case, who knowing that he should have no fair and equitable 
dealing at the hands of the governor, when once he came to be 
swayed by the Jews, his sworn and inveterate enemies, appealed 
from him to the emperor ; the reason why Festus durst not deny 
his demand, it being a privilege so often, so plainly settled and 
confirmed by the Roman laws. 

V. Some time after, king Agrippa, who succeeded Herod in 
the tetrarchate of Galilee, and his sister Bernice came to Caesarea, 
to make a visit to the new-come governor. To him Festus gave 
an account of St. Paul, and the great stir and trouble that had 
been made about him, and how, for his safety and vindication, he 
had immediately appealed to Csesar. Agrippa was very desirous 
to see and hear him, and accordingly the next day, the king and 
his sister, accompanied with Festus the governor, and other 
persons of quality, came into the court with a pompous and 
magnificent retinue, where the prisoner was brought forth be- 
fore him. Festus having acquainted the king and the assembly, 

d Leg. i. sect. 4. ff. de appeUat. lib. xlix. tit i. Leg. ii. et iii. ibid. 

e Ibid. Leg. xxv. et 1. vii. ff. ad Leg. Jul de vi public, lib. xlviii. tit. vi. 

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how much he had heen solicited hy the Jews, both at Csesarea and 
Jerusalem, concerning the prisoner at the bar, that as a notorious 
malefactor he might be put to death; but that having found 
him guilty of no capital crime, and the prisoner himself having 
appealed to Caesar, he was resolved to send him to Borne ; but 
yet was willing to have his case again discussed before Agrippa, 
that so he might be furnished with some material instructions to 
send along with him, since it was very absurd to send a prisoner 
without signifying what crimes were charged upon him. 

VI. Hereupon Agrippa told the apostle, f he had liberty ta 
make his own defence : to whom, after silence made, he parti- 
cularly addressed his speech. He tells him, in the first place, 
what a happiness he had, that he was to plead before one so 
exactly versed in all the rites and customs, the questions and the 
controversies of the Jewish law ; that the Jews themselves knew 
what had been the course and manner of his life, how he had 
been educated under the institutions of the Pharisees, the strictest 
sect of the whole Jewish religion, and had been particularly dis- 
quieted and arraigned for what had been the constant belief of 
all their fathers, what was sufficiently credible in itself, and 
plainly enough revealed in the scripture, the resurrection of the 
dead. He next gave him an account with what a bitter and 
implacable zeal he had formerly persecuted Christianity; told 
him the whole story and method of his conversion ; and that in 
compliance with a particular vision from heaven, he had preached 
repentance and reformation of life, first to the Jews, and then 
after to the Gentiles : that it was for no other things than these 
that the Jews apprehended him in the temple, and designed to 
murder him ; but being rescued and upheld by a divine power, 
he continued in this testimony to this day, asserting nothing but 
what was perfectly agreeable to Moses and the prophets, who 
had plainly foretold that the Messiah should both be put to 
death and rise again, and by his doctrine enlighten both the 
Jewish and the Gentile world. While he was thus discoursing, 
Festus openly cried out, that he talked like a madman; that 
his over-much study had put him beside himself. The apostle 
calmly replied, he was far from being transported with idle and 
distracted humours; that he spake nothing but what was most 
true and real in itself, and what very well became that grave 

f Acts xzvi. 1. 



sober auditory. And then again, addressing himself to Agrippa, 
told him, that these things having been open and public, he could 
not but be acquainted with, them ; that he was confident that he 
believed the prophets, and must needs therefore know that 
those prophecies were fulfilled in Christ. Hereat Agrippa re- 
plied, that he had in some degree persuaded him to embrace the 
Christian faith. To which the apostle returned, that he heartily 
prayed, that not only he, but the whole auditory were, not only 
in some measure, but altogether, though not prisoners, yet as 
much Christians as he himself was. This done, the king and 
the governor and the rest of the council withdrew a while, to 
confer privately about this matter ; and finding, by the accusa- 
tions brought against him, that he was not guilty by the Roman 
laws of any capital offence, no nor of any that deserved so much 
as imprisonment, Agrippa told Festus, that he might have been 
released, if he had not appealed unto Caesar. For the appeal 
being once made, the judge had then no power either to absolve 
or condemn ; the cause being entirely reserved to the cognizance 
of that superior to whom the criminal had appealed. 

VII. It was now finally resolved that St. Paul should be 
sent to Rome : 8 in order whereunto he was, with some other 
prisoners of remark, committed to the charge of Julius, com- 
mander of a company belonging to the legion of Augustus ; 
accompanied in this voyage by St. Luke, Aristarchus, Trophimus, 
and some others. In September, Ann. Chr. 56, or, as others, 57, 
they went on board a ship of Adramyttium and sailed to Sidon, 
where the captain civilly gave the apostle leave to go ashore to 
visit his friends and refresh himself : hence to Cyprus, till they 
came to the Fair-Havens, a place near Myra, a city of Lysia. 
Here winter growing on, and St. Paul, foreseeing it would be a 
dangerous voyage, persuaded them to put in and winter : but 
the captain preferring the judgment of the master of the ship, 
and especially because of the incommodiousness of the harbour, 
resolved, if possible, to reach Pboenice, a port of Crete, and to 
winter there. But it was not long before they found themselves 
disappointed of their hopes : for the calm southerly gale, that blew 
before, suddenly changed into a stormy and blustering north-east 
wind, which so bore down all before it, that they were forced to 
let the ship drive at the pleasure of the wind ; but, as much as 

* Acts xxvii. 1. 


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might be, to prevent splitting or running aground, they threw 
out a great part of their lading and the tackle of the ship. 
Fourteen days they remained in this desperate and uncomfort- 
able condition, neither sun nor stars appearing for a great part of 
the time ; the apostle putting them in mind how ill-advised they 
were in not taking his counsel : howbeit they should be of good 
cheer, for that that God whom he served and worshipped, had 
the last night purposely sent an angel from heaven to let him 
know, that notwithstanding the present danger they were in, yet 
that he should be brought safe before Nero ; that they should be 
shipwrecked, indeed, and cast upon an island, but that for his 
sake God had spared all in the ship, not one whereof should mis- 
carry ; and that he did not doubt but that it would accordingly 
come to pass. On the fourteenth night, upon sounding, they 
found themselves nigh some coast ; and therefore, to avoid rocks, 
thought good to come to an anchor, till the morning might give 
them better information. In the mean time, the seamen (who best 
understood the danger) were preparing to get into the skiff, to 
save themselves : which St. Paul espying, told the captain, that 
unless they all stayed in the ship, none could be safe : whereupon 
the soldiers cut the ropes, and let the skiff fall off into the sea. 
Between this and daybreak, the apostle advised them to eat and 
refresh themselves, having all this time kept no ordinary and 
regular meals, assuring them they should all escape : himself first 
taking bread, and having blessed God for it before them all, the 
rest followed his example, and cheerfully fell to their meat : 
which done, they lightened the ship of what remained, and en- 
deavoured to put into a creek which they discovered not far off. 
But falling into a place where two seas met, the fore part of the 
ship ran aground while the hinder part was beaten in pieces with 
the violence of the waves. Awakened with the danger they 
were in, the soldiers cried out to kill the prisoners, to prevent 
their escape : which the captain, desirous to save St. Paul, and 
probably in confidence of what he had told them, refused to do j 
commanding that every one should shift for himself: the issue 
was, that part by swimming, part on planks, part on pieces of 
the broken ship, they all, to the number of two hundred three- 
score and sixteen, (the whole number in the ship,) got safe to 

VIII. The island upon which they were cast was Melita, 

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(now Malta h ), situate in the Libyan sea, between Syracuse and 
Africa. Here they found civility among barbarians, and the 
plain acknowledgments of a divine justice written among the 
naked and untutored notions of men's minds. The people treated 
them with great humanity, entertaining them with all necessary 
accommodations ; but while St. Paul was throwing sticks upon 
the fire, a viper, dislodged by the heat, came out of the wood, 
and fastened on his hand. This the people no sooner espied, but 
presently concluded that surely he was some notorious murderer, 
whom though the divine vengeance had suffered to escape the 
hue and cry of the sea, yet had it only reserved him for a more 
public and solemn execution. But when they saw him shake it 
off into the fire, and not presently swell and drop down, they 
changed their opinions, and concluded him to be some god. So 
easily are light and credulous minds transported from one ex- 
treme to another. Not far off lived Publius, a man of great estate 
and authority, and (as we may probably guess from an in- 
scription found there, and set down by Grotius,* wherein the 
nPflTOS MEAITAII2N is reckoned amongst the Roman 
officers,) governor of the island, by him they were courteously 
entertained three days at his own charge ; and his father lying at 
that time sick of a fever and a dysentery, St. Paul went in, and 
having prayed, and laid his hands upon him, healed him ; as he did 
also many of the inhabitants, who by this miracle were encouraged 
to bring their diseased to him: whereby great honours were heaped 
upon him, and both he and his company furnished with provisions 
necessary for the rest of their voyage. Nay, Publius himself is 
said by some to have been hereby converted to the faith, k and by 
St. Paul to have been constituted bishop of the island ; and that 
this was he that succeeded St. Denys, the Areopagite, in the 
see of Athens, and was afterwards crowned with martyrdom. 

IX. After three months 1 stay in this island, they went aboard 
the Castor and Pollux, a 6hip of Alexandria, bound for Italy. 
At Syracuse they put in, and stayed three days ; thence sailed to 
Rhegium, and so to PuteoK, where they landed, and finding some 
Christians there, stayed a week with them, and then set forward 
in their journey to Rome. The Christians at Rome having heard 

h Acts xxviii. 1. 1 Annot in loc. 

k Bar. ad Ann. 58. n. 173. Vid. Adon. martyr, ad 12 KaL Febr. Martyr. Rom. ad 
diem 21 Jan. Euseb. Hist Eccl. 1. iv. c. 23. 

u 2 

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of their arrival, several of them came part of the way to meet 
them : some as far as the Three Taverns, a place thirty-three miles 
from Rome ; others as far as Appii Forum, fifty-one miles distant 
thence. Great was their mutual salutation, and the encourage- 
ment which the apostle received by it, glad no doubt to see that 
Christians found so much liberty at Borne. By them he was 
conducted in a kind of triumph into the city : where, when they 
were arrived, the rest of the prisoners were delivered over to the 
captain of the guard, and by him disposed in the common gaol, 
while St. Paul (probably at Julius's request and recommenda- 
tion) was permitted to stay in a private house, only with a 
soldier to secure and guard him. 



St Paul's summoning the chief of the Jews at Rome, and his discourse to them. Their 
refractoriness and infidelity. His first hearing before Nero. The success of his 
preaching. Poppaea Sabina, Nero's concubine, one of his converts. Tacitus's character 
of her. Onesimus converted by St. Paul at Rome, and sent back with an epistle to 
Philemon his master. The great obligation which Christianity lays upon servants to 
diligence and fidelity in their duty. The rigorous and arbitrary power of masters over 
servants by the Roman laws. This mitigated by the laws of the gospeL St. Paul's 
epistle to the Philippians, upon what occasion sent His epistle to the Ephesians, 
and another to the Colossians. His second epistle to Timothy written (probably) at 
his first being at Rome. The epistle to the Hebrews, by whom written, and in what 
language. The aim and design of it St Paul's preaching the gospel in the West, 
and in what parts of it His return to Rome, when. His imprisonment under Nero, 
and why. His being beheaded. Milk instead of blood said to flow from his body. 
Different accounts of the time of his suffering. His burial, where ; and the great 
church erected to his memory. 

The first thing St. Paul did after he came to Borne was to sum- 
mon the heads of the Jewish consistory there, whom he ac- 
quainted with the cause and manner of his coming, that though 
he had been guilty of no violation of the law of their religion, 
yet had he been delivered by the Jews into the hands of the 
Roman governors ; who would have acquitted him once and 
again, as innocent of any capital offence, but by the perverseness 
of the Jews he was forced, not with an intention to charge his 
own nation, (already sufficiently odious to the Romans,) but 

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only to vindicate and clear himself, to make his appeal toCsBsar; 
that being come, he had sent for them, to let them know, that 
it was for his constant asserting the resurrection, the hope of all 
true Israelites, that he was bound with that chain which they 
saw upon him. The Jews replied, that they had received no 
advice concerning him, nor had any of the nation that came 
from Judea brought any charge against him : only for the reli- 
gion which he had espoused, they desired to be a little better 
informed about it, it being every where decried both by Jew 
and Gentile. Accordingly, upon a day appointed, he discoursed 
to them from morning to night concerning the religion and doc- 
trine of the holy Jesus, proving from the promises and pre- 
dictions of the Old Testament, that he was the true Messiah. 
His discourse succeeded not with all alike ; some being con- 
vinced, others persisted in their infidelity : and as they were 
departing, in some discontent at each other, the apostle told 
them, it was now too plain, God had accomplished upon them 
the prophetical curse of being left to their own wilful hardness 
and impenitency, to be blind at noon-day, and to run themselves 
against all means and methods into irrecoverable ruin. That 
since the case was thus with them, they must expect, that 
henceforth he should turn his preaching to the Gentiles, who 
would be most ready to entertain what they had so scornfully 
rejected, the glad tidings of the gospel. 

II. It was not, probably, long after this, that he was brought 
to his first hearing before the emperor, where those friends, 
whom he most expected should stand by him, plainly deserted 
him ; afraid, it seems, of appearing in so ticklish a cause before 
so unreasonable a judge, who governed himself by no other mea- 
sures than the brutish and extravagant pleasure of his lust or 
humour. But God stood by him, and encouraged him ; as in- 
deed divine consolations are many times then nearest to us, 
when human assistances are farthest from us. This cowardice 
of theirs the apostle had a charity large enough to cover, heartily 
praying, that it might not be brought in against them in the 
accounts of the great day. Two years he dwelt at Rome in an 
house which he hired for his own use, wherein he constantly 
employed himself in preaching and writing for the good of the 
church. He preached daily, without interruption, to all that 
came to him, and with good success; yea, even upon some 



of the better rank and quality, and those belonging to the 
court itself. Among which the Soman Martyrology 1 reckons 
Torpes, an officer of prime note in Nero's palace, and afterwards 
a martyr for the faith ; and Chrysostom (if Baronius cite him 
right) m tells us of Nero's cupbearer, and one of his concubines, 
supposed by some to have been Poppeea Sabina, of whom Ta- 
citus gives this character, 11 that she wanted nothing to render 
her one of the most accomplished ladies in the world, but a 
chaste and virtuous mind : and I know not how far it may seem 
to countenance her conversion, at least inclination, to a better 
religion than that of paganism, that Josephus styles her a pious 
woman, 0 and tells us that she effectually solicited the cause of 
the Jews with her husband Nero ; and what favours Josephus 
himself received from her at Rome, he relates in his own Life. p 

III. Amongst others of our apostle's converts at Borne was 
Onesimus, who had formerly been servant to Philemon, a person 
of eminency in Oolosse, but had run away from his master, and 
taken things of some value with him. Having rambled as far as 
Rome, he was now converted by St. Paul, and by him returned 
with recommendatory letters to Philemon his master, to beg 
his pardon, and that he might be received into favour, being 
now of a much better temper, more faithful, and diligent, and 
useful to his master, than he had been before : as indeed Chris- 
tianity, where it is heartily entertained, makes men good in all 
relations, no laws being so wisely contrived for the peace and 
happiness of the world as the laws of the gospel, as may appear 
by this particular case of servants ; what admirable rules, what 
severe laws does it lay upon them for the discharge of their 
duties ! it commands them to honour their masters as their su- 
periors, and to take heed of making their authority light and 
cheap by familiar and contemptible thoughts and carriages ; to 
obey them in all honest and lawful things ; and that " not with 
eye-service as men-pleasers, but in singleness of heart as unto 
God;" that they be faithful to the trust committed to them, 
and manage their masters' interest with as much care and con- 
science as if it were their own ; that they entertain their re- 
proofs, counsels, corrections, with all silence and sobriety, not 

1 Ad diem 17 Maii, p. 308. 

m Ad Ann. 59, n. 9. Vid. Chryeost. adv. vituper. vit Monast L i, c. 4. 

" Anna!. 1. xiii. c, 45, 0 Antiq. Jud. 1. xx. c. 7, p De vit sua, p. 999. 



returning any rude surly answers ; and this carriage to be ob- 
served, not only to masters of a mild and gentle, but of a cross 
and peevish disposition ; that " whatever they do, they do it 
heartily, not as to men only, but to the Lord ; knowing that of 
the Lord they shall receive the reward of the inheritance, for 
that they serve the Lord Christ." Imbued with these excellent 
principles, Onesimus is again returned unto his master ; for 
Christian religion, though it improve men's tempers, does not 
cancel their relations ; it teaches them to abide in their callings, 
and " not to despise their masters, because they are brethren, 
but rather do them service, because they are faithful." And 
being thus improved, St. Paul the more confidently begged his 
pardon. And, indeed, had not Philemon been a Christian, and 
by the principles of his religion both disposed and obliged to 
mildness and mercy, there had been great reason why St. Paul 
should be thus importunate with him for Onesimus's pardon, the 
case of servants in those days being very hard; for all masters were 
looked upon as having an unlimited power over their servants, 
and that not only by the Roman, q but by the laws of all nations, 
whereby, without asking the magistrate's leave, or any public 
and formal trial, they might adjudge and condemn them to what 
work or punishment they pleased, even to the taking away of 
life itself. But the severity and exorbitancy of this power was 
afterwards somewhat curbed by the laws of succeeding emperors, 
especially after the empire submitted itself to Christianity, which 
makes better provision for persons in that capacity and relation, 
and, in case of unjust and over-rigorous usage, enables them to 
appeal to a more righteous and impartial tribunal, where master 
and servant shall both stand upon even ground, " where he that 
doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done ; 
and there is no respect of persons." 

IV. The Christians at Philippi having heard of St. Paul's 
imprisonment at Borne, and not knowing what straits he might 
be reduced to, raised a contribution for him, and sent it by 
Epaphroditus their bishop, who was now come tp Borne, where 
he shortly after fell dangerously sick : but being recovered, and 
upon the point to return, by him St. Paul sent his epistle to the 
Philippians, wherein he gives them some account of the state of 

4 L. i. et iL ff. de his, qui sui vel alieni juris sunt, lib. i. tit vi. Vid. Instit. lib. i. 
tit. viii. 



affairs at Rome, gratefully acknowledges their kindness to him, 
and warns them of those dangerous opinions which the Judaizing 
teachers began to vent among them. The apostle had heretofore 
for some years lived at Ephesus, and perfectly understood the 
state and condition of that place ; and therefore now by Tychicus 
writes his epistle to the Ephesians, endeavouring to countermine 
the principles and practices both of Jews and Gentiles, to con- 
firm them in the belief and obedience of the Christian doctrine, 
to represent the infinite riches of the divine goodness in admitting 
the Gentile world to the unsearchable treasures of Christianity, 
especially pressing them to express the life and spirit of it in 
the general duties of religion, and in the duties of their particular 
relations. Much about the same time, or a little after, he wrote 
his epistle to the Colossians, where he had never been, and sent 
it by Epaphras, who for some time had been his fellow-prisoner 
at Rome. The design of it is, for the greatest part, the same with 
that to the Ephesians, to settle and confirm them in the faith of 
the gospel, against the errors both of Judaism and the super- 
stitious observances of the heathen world, some whereof had 
taken root amongst them. 

V. It is not improbable, but that about this, or rather some 
considerable time before, St, Paul wrote his second epistle to 
Timothy. I know Eusebius and the ancients, and most moderns 
after them, will have it written a little before his martyrdom, 
induced thereunto by that passage in it, that he was then " ready 
to be offered, and that the time of his departure was at hand. 11 
But surely it is most reasonable to think, that it was written at 
his first being at Rome, and that at his first coming thither, pre- 
sently after his trial before Nero. Accordingly, the passage 
before mentioned may import no more, than that he was in 
imminent danger of his life, and had received the sentence of 
death in himself, not hoping to escape out of the paws of Nero ; 
but that " God had delivered him out of the mouth of the lion, 11 
i. e. the great danger he was in at his coming thither : which 
exactly agrees to his case at his first being at Rome, but cannot 
be reconciled with his last coming thither ; together with many 
more circumstances in this epistle, which render it next door to 
certain. In it he appoints Timothy shortly to come to him ; who 
accordingly came, whose name is joined together with his in the 
front of several epistles, to the Philippians, Colossians, and to 

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Philemon. The only thing that can be levelled against this is, 
that, in his epistle to Timothy, he tells him, that he had sent 
Tychicus to Ephesus, by whom it is plain that the epistles to the 
Ephesians and Philippians were despatched ; and that therefore 
this to Timothy must be written after them. But I see no in- 
convenience to affirm, that Tychicus might come to Rome pre- 
sently after St. PauPs arrival there, be by him immediately sent 
back to Ephesus upon some emergent affair of that church ; and 
after his return to Rome be sent with those two epistles. The 
design of the epistle was to excite the holy man to a mighty zeal 
and diligence, care and fidelity in his office, and to antidote the 
people against those poisonous principles that in those parts 
especially began to debauch the minds of men. 

VI. As for the epistle to the Hebrews, it is very uncertain 
when, or whence, and (for some ages doubted) by whom it was 
written. Eusebius tells us, r it was not received by many, because 
rejected by the church of Rome as none of St. Paul's genuine 
epistles. Origen affirms the style and phrase of it to be more 
fine and elegant, 8 and to contain in it a richer vein of purer 
Greek than is usually found in St. PauFs epistles ; as every one, 
that is able to judge of a style, must needs confess : that the 
sentences indeed are grave and weighty, and such as breathe the 
spirit and majesty of an apostle : that therefore it was his judg- 
ment, that the matter contained in it had been dictated by some 
apostle, but that it had been put into phrase, form, and order 
by some other person that did attend upon him : that if any 
church owned it for St. Paul's, they were not to be condemned, 
it not being without reason by the ancients ascribed to him ; 
though God only knew who was the true author of it. He 
farther tells us, that report had handed it down to his time, that 
it had been composed partly by Clemens of Rome, partly by 
Luke the Evangelist. Tertullian adds, 1 that it was writ by 
Barnabas What seems most likely, in such variety of opinions, 
is, that St. Paul originally wrote it in Hebrew, it being to be sent 
to the Jews, his countrymen ; and by some other person, probably 
St. Luke or Clemens Romanus, translated into Greek ; especially 
since both Eusebius" and St. Jerome x observed of old such a 

r Hist EccL L iii. c. 3. » Apud Euseb. ibid. 1. vi. c. 25. 

1 De Pudicit. c. 20. Vid. Clem. Alex, in lib. Hyp. apud Euseb. 1. vi. c. 14. 

u Euseb. 1. iii. c. 38. * Hier. de Scrip. EccL in Clem. 



great affinity, both in style and sense, between this and Clement's 
epistle to the Corinthians, as thence positively to conclude him 
to be the translator of it. It was written, as we may conjecture, 
a little after he was restored to his liberty, and probably while 
he was yet in some parts of Italy,* whence he dates his saluta- 
tions. The main design of it is to magnify Christ and the 
religion of the gospel, above Moses and the Jewish economy and 
ministration ; that by this means he might the better establish 
and confirm the convert Jews in the firm belief and profession of 
Christianity, notwithstanding those sufferings and persecutions 
that came upon them; endeavouring throughout to arm and 
fortify them against apostacy from that noble and excellent 
religion, wherein they had so happily engaged themselves. And 
great need there was for the apostle severely to urge them to it, 
heavy persecutions, both from Jews and Gentiles, pressing in upon 
them on every side, besides those trains of specious and plausible 
insinuations that were laid to reduce them to their ancient 
institutions. Hence the apostle calls apostacy " the sin which 
did so easily beset them," 2 to which there were such frequent 
temptations, and into which they were so prone to be betrayed 
in those suffering times. And the more to deter them from it, 
he once and again sets before them the dreadful state and con- 
dition of apostates,* those who have been once enlightened, and 
baptized into the Christian faith, tasted the promises of the 
gospel, and been made partakers of the miraculous gifts of the 
Holy Ghost, those powers which in the world to come, or this 
new state of things were to be conferred upon the church, if 
after all this these men fall away, and renounce Christianity, 
it is very hard, and even impossible, to renew them again unto 
repentance. For by this means they trod under foot, and 
crucified the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame, 
profaned the blood of the covenant, and did despite to the spirit 
of grace. So that to sin thus wilfully after they had received the 
knowledge of the truth, there could remain for them no more 
sacrifice for sins, nothing but a certain fearful looking for of 
judgment and fiery indignation which should devour these ad- 
versaries. And a fearful thing it was in such circumstances to 
fall into the hands of the living God, who had particularly said 
of this sort of sinners, that "if any man drew back, his soul 

y Cap. xiii. 24. * Heb. xii. 1. a Cap. vi. 4—6. cap. x. 26—29. 

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should have no pleasure in him." Hence it is, that every where 
in this epistle he mixes exhortations to this purpose : that " they 
would give earnest heed to the things which they had heard, lest 
at any time they should let them slip : that they would hold 
fast the confidence, and the rejoicing of the hope, firm unto the 
end, and beware lest by an evil heart of unbelief they departed 
from the living God : that they would labour to enter into his 
rest, lest any man fall after the example of unbelief: that 
leaving the first principles of the doctrine of Christ, they would 
go on to perfection, shewing diligence to the full assurance of 
hope unto the end; not being slothful, but followers of them, 
who through faith and patience inherit the promises : that they 
would hold fast the profession of the faith without wavering, not 
forsaking the assembling of themselves together, (as the manner 
of some was,) nor cast away their confidence, which had great 
recompense of reward : that they had need of patience, that 
after they had done the will of God, they might receive the 
promise : that they would not be of them who drew back unto 
perdition, but of them that believed to the saving of the soul : 
that being encompassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses," 
who with the most unconquerable constancy and resolution had 
all holden on in the way to heaven, 44 they would lay aside every 
weight, and the sin which did so easily beset them, and run with 
patience the race that was set before them, especially looking 
unto Jesus, the author and finisher of their faith, who endured 
the cross, and despised the shame ; that therefore they should 
consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against 
himself, lest they should be wearied and faint in their minds ; 
for that they had not yet resisted unto blood, striving against 
sin ; looking diligently lest any man should fail of the grace of 
God, lest any root of bitterness springing up should trouble them, 
and thereby many be defiled.'" By all which, and much more 
that might be observed to this purpose, it is evident, what our 
apostle's great design was in this excellent epistle. 

VII. Our apostle being now, after two years' custody, perfectly 
restored to liberty, remembered that he was 44 the apostle of the 
Gentiles," and had therefore a larger diocese than Rome, and 
accordingly prepared himself for a greater circuit, though which 
way he directed his course is not absolutely certain. By some 
he is said to have returned back into Greece, and the parts of 



Asia, upon do other ground, that I know of, than a few intima- 
tions in some of his epistles that he intended to do so. By 
others he is thought to have preached both in the Eastern and 
Western parts, which is not inconsistent with the time he had 
after his departure from Borne. But of the latter we have better 
evidence. Sure I am, an author beyond all exception, St. Paul's 
contemporary and fellow-labourer, I mean Clemens, b in his 
famous epistle to the Corinthians, expressly tells us, that being 
a preacher both in the East and West, he taught righteousness 
to the whole world, and went to the utmost bounds of the 
West. Which makes me the more wonder at the confidence of 
one, c (otherwise a man of great parts and learning,) who so 
peremptorily denies that ever our apostle preached in the West, 
merely because there are no monuments left in primitive an- 
tiquity of any particular churches there founded by him : as if 
all the particular passages of his life, done at so vast a distance, 
must needs have been recorded, or those records have come 
down to us, when it is so notoriously known, that almost all the 
writings and monuments of those first ages of Christianity are 
long since perished ; or as if we were not sufficiently assured of 
the thing in general, though not of what particular he did there. 
Probable it is, that he went into Spain, d a thing which himself 
tells us he had formerly once and again resolved on. Certain it 
is, that the ancients do generally assert it,' without seeming in 
the least to doubt of it. Theodoret and others tell us, that he 
preached not only in Spain, but that he went to other nations, 
and brought the gospel into the isles of the sea ; by which he 
undoubtedly means Britain, and therefore elsewhere reckons the 
Gauls and Britains among the nations, which the apostles, and 
particularly the tent-maker, persuaded to embrace the law of 
Christ. Nor is he the only man that has said it, others having 
given in their testimony and suffrage in this case. f 

VIII. To what other parts of the world St. Paul preached 

b Ep. ad Corinth. s. 5. 

c L. CappelL Append, ad Hist. Apost. p. 33. d Rom. xy. 24 — 28. 

e Epiphan. Haeres. xxvii. 8. 6. Chrysost. de Laud. Paul Horn. Yii. toL ii. p. 516. 
CyriL Catech. xvii. s. 13. Theod. in 2 Tim. iv. 16. et in Psalm, cxvi. id. de cur. Graec. 
Affect. Serm. ix. Athan. Epist ad Dracont s. 4. 

f Sophron. Serm. de natali. App. u Transit et Oceanum, vel qua fecit insula portum, 
Quasque Britannus habet terras atque ultima Thule." Venant. Fortun. do vit Martin. 
1. iii. non procul a fin. 

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the gospel, we find no certain footsteps in antiquity, nor any 
farther mention of him till his return to Rome, which probably 
was about the eighth or ninth year of Nero's reign. Here he 
met with Peter, and was, together with him, thrown into prison, 
no doubt in the general persecution raised against the Christians, 
under the pretence that they had fired the city. Besides the 
general, we may reasonably suppose there were particular causes 
of his imprisonment. Some of the ancients make him engaged 
with Peter in procuring the fall of Simon Magus, and that that 
derived the emperor's fury and rage upon him : St. Chrysostom 
gives us this account ; g that having converted one of Nero's con- 
cubines, a woman of whom he was infinitely fond, and reduced 
her to a life of great strictness and chastity, so that now she 
wholly refused to comply with his wanton and impure embraces ; 
the emperor stormed hereat, calling the apostle a villain and im- 
postor, a wretched perverter and debaucher of others, giving 
order that he should be cast into prison, and, when he still per- 
sisted to persuade the lady to continue her chaste and pious re- 
solutions, commanding him to be put to death. 

IX. How long he remained in prison is not certainly known ; 
at last his execution was resolved on: what his preparatory 
treatment was, whether scourged, as malefactors were wont to 
be in order to their death, we find not. As a Soman citizen, 
by the Valerian and the Porcian law he was exempted from it : 
though by the law of the twelve tables, notorious malefactors, 
condemned by the centuriate assemblies, were first to be scourged, 
and then put to death : and Baronius tells us, h that in the church 
of St. Mary, beyond the bridge in Borne, the pillars are yet ex- 
tant, to which both Peter and Paul are 6aid to have been bound 
and scourged. As he was led to execution, he is said to have 
converted three of the soldiers that were sent to conduct and 
guard him, who within few days after, by the emperor's com- 
mand, became martyrs for the faith. Being come to the place, 
which was the Aquae Salvise, three miles from Borne, after some 
solemn preparation, he cheerfully gave his neck to the fatal 
stroke. As a Boman, he might not be put upon the cross, too 
infamous a death for any but the worst of slaves and malefactors, 
and therefore was beheaded ; accounted a more noble kind of 
death, not among the Bomans only, but among other nations, 

* Adv. vit. Monast vituperat 1. i. c. 4. h Ad Ann. 69. n. 8. 

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as being fitter for persons of better quality, and more ingenuous 
education : 1 and from this instrument of his execution the custom, 
no doubt, first arose, that in all pictures and images of this apo- 
stle, he is constantly represented with a sword in his right hand. 
Tradition reports, (justified herein by the suffrage of many of 
the fathers, k ) that when he was beheaded, a liquor more like milk 
than blood flowed from his veins, and spirted upon the clothes 
of his executioner ; and had I list or leisure for such things, I 
might entertain the reader with the little glosses that are made 
upon it. St. Chrysostom adds, that it became a means of con- 
verting his executioner and many more to the faith ; and that 
the apostle suffered in the sixty-eighth year of his age. Some 
question there is whether he suffered at the same time with 
Peter ; many of the ancients positively affirm, 1 that both suffered 
on the same day and year : but others,™ though allowing the same 
day, tell us that St. Paul suffered not till the year after; nay, some 
interpose the distance of several years. A manuscript writer of 
the lives and travels of Peter and Paul," brought amongst other 
venerable monuments of antiquity out of Greece, will have Paul 
to have suffered no less than five years after Peter, which he 
justifies by the authority of no less than Justin Martyr and 
Irenaeus. But what credit is to be given to this nameless au- 
thor, I see not, and therefore lay no weight upon it, nor think it 
lit to be put into the balance with the testimonies of the ancients. 
Certainly, if he suffered not at the very same time with Peter, it 
could not be long after, not above a year at most. The best is, 
which of them soever started first, they both came at last to the 
same end of the race, to those palms and crowns which are re- 
served for all good men in heaven, but most eminently for the 
martyrs of the Christian faith. 

X. He was buried in the Via Ostiensis, about two miles from 

1 Zenoph. de Exped. Cyri. L ii. in fin. Servi sunt in crucem sublati, militibus cervices 
abscissae. Hist, de Bell. Hispan. p. 460. 

k Ambr. de nat Petr. et Paul. Serm. lxviii. Chrys. Serm. in Petr. et PauL s. 2. yol. 
viii. p. 10. inter spuria. 

1 Dion. Corinth, ap. Euseb. L ii. c. 25. Ambr. ib. Serm. lxvi. Max. Taur. Horn, 
v. de Petr. et Paul. p. 231. 

m Prudent. Peristeph. in Pass. Petr. et Paul. Hymn. xii. Arat. Act Apost L ii. in 
fin. Aug. in natal Petri et Pauli, Serm. ccv. s. 4. in append. vol. v. p. 340. Greg. Turon. 
de glor. Martyr. 1. i. c. 29. 

n Apud P. Jun. not. in Clem. Ep. ad. Cor. ad p. 8. forsan. ex S. Metaphr. qui totidem 
verbis eadem babet ap. Sur. ad 29 Jun. n. 23. 

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Borne, over whose grave, about the year 318,° Constantine the 
Great, at the instance of pope Sylvester, built a stately church, 
within a farm which Lucina, a noble Christian matron of Borne, 
had long before settled upon that church. He adorned it with 
an hundred of the best marble columns, and beautified it with 
the most exquisite workmanship : the many rich gifts and en* 
dowments which he bestowed upon it being particularly set down 
in the Life of Sylvester. This church, as too narrow and little 
for the honour of so great an apostle, Valentinian, or rather 
Theodosius the emperor, (the one but finishing what the other 
began,) by a rescript directed to Sallustius, p prefect of the city, 
caused to be taken down, and a larger and more noble church to 
be built in the room of it : farther beautified (as appears from 
an ancient inscription q ) by Placidia, the empress, at the persua- 
sion of Leo, bishop of Borne. What other additions of wealth, 
honour, or stateliness it has received since, concerns not me to 



The person of St. Paul described. His infirm constitution. His natural endowments. 
His ingenuous education, and admirable skill in human learning and sciences. The 
divine temper of his mind. His singular humility and condescension. His temperance 
and sobriety, and contempt of the world. Whether he lived a married or a single life. 
His great kindness and compassion. His charity to men's bodies and souls. His 
mighty zeal for religion. His admirable industry and diligence in his office. His 
unconquerable patience. The many great troubles he underwent. His constancy and 
fidelity in the profession of Christianity. His writings. His style and way of writing, 
what St Jerome's bold censure of it The perplexedness and obscurity of his discourses, 
whence. The account given of it by the ancients. The order of his epistles, what 
Placed not according to the time when, but the dignity of persons or places to which 
they were written. The subscriptions at the end of them, of what value. The writings 
fathered upon St Paul. His gospel. A third epistle to the Corinthians. The epistle to 
the Laodiceans. His Apocalypse. His Acts. The epistles between him and Seneca. 

Though we have drawn St. Paul at large, in the account we have 
given of his life, yet may it be of use to represent him in little, 

° Damas. Pontif. in vit Sylvest. i. vid. Onuphr. de 7. Urb. Basil. 

P Apud Bar. ad Ann. 386. ex Cod. Vatic. i Ibid, in Addend, ad vol. iv. p. 12. 

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in a brief account of his person, parts, and those graces and 
virtues for which he was more peculiarly eminent and remark- 
able. For his person, we find it thus described/ He was low 
and of little stature, and somewhat stooping ; his complexion 
fair ; his countenance grave ; his head small ; his eyes carrying 
a kind of beauty and sweetness in them ; his eyebrows a little 
hanging over ; his nose long, but gracefully bending ; his beard 
thick, and, like the hair on his head, mixed with gray hairs. 
Somewhat of this description may be learnt from Lucian, 8 
when in the person of Trypho, one of St. Paul's disciples, he 
calls him, by way of derision, " the high-nosed bald-pated Gali- 
lean , 11 that was caught up through the air unto " the third 
heaven, 11 where he learned great and excellent things. That he 
was very low, himself plainly intimates, when he tells us,* they 
were wont to say of him, that " his bodily presence was weak, 
and his speech contemptible in which respect he is styled by 
Chrysostom," 6 rplinjx v ^ avOptoiro^ " a man three cubits- [or a 
little more than four feet] high, and yet tall enough to reach 
heaven. 11 He seems to have enjoyed no very firm and athletic 
constitution, being often subject to distempers ; St. Jerome par- 
ticularly reports,* that he was frequently afflicted with the head- 
ache, and that this was thought by many to have been " the 
thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan sent to buffet him 
and that probably he intended some such thing by " the tempta- 
tion in his flesh, 11 which he elsewhere speaks of : y which how- 
ever it may in general signify those afflictions that came upon 
him, yet does it primarily denote those diseases and infirmities 
that he was obnoxious to. 

II. But how mean soever the cabinet was, there was a treasure 
within more precious and valuable, as will appear, if we survey 
the accomplishments of his mind. For as to his natural abilities 
and endowments, he seems to have had a clear and solid judg- 
ment, quick invention, a prompt and ready memory ; all which 
were abundantly improved by art, and the advantages of a more 
liberal education. The schools of Tarsus had sharpened his dis- 
cursive faculty by logic and the arts of reasoning, instructed him 
in the institutions of philosophy, and enriched him with the 

r Niceph. Hist Eccl. lib. ii. c 37. 8 Philopatr. voL ii. p. 999. 

1 2 Cor. x. 10. M Serm. in Petr. et Paul. s. 1. vol. viii. p. 8. inter spuria. 

* Com. in Gal. iv. * Gal. iv. 14. 



furniture of all kinds of human learning. This gave him great 
advantage above others, and ever raised him to a mighty repu- 
tation for parts and learning ; insomuch that St. Chrysostom tells 
us of a dispute between a Christian and a Heathen, 8 whereif the 
Christian endeavoured to prove against the Gentile, that St. Paul 
was more learned and eloquent than Plato himself. How well 
he was versed, not only in the law of Moses and the writings of 
the prophets, but even in classic and foreign writers, he has left 
us sufficient ground to conclude, from those excellent sayings 
which here and there he quotes out of heathen authors : which 
as at once it shews that it is not unlawful to bring the spoils of 
Egypt into the service of the sanctuary, 8 and to make use of the 
advantages of foreign studies and human literature to divine 
and excellent purposes, so does it argue his being greatly con- 
versant in the paths of human learning, which upon every occa- 
sion he could so readily command. Indeed, he seemed to have 
been furnished out on purpose to be the doctor of the Gentiles, 
to contend with and confute the grave and the wise, the acute 
and the subtle, the sage and the learned of the heathen world, 
and to wound them (as Julian's word was) with arrows drawn 
out of their own quiver : though we do not find that, in his dis- 
putes with the Gentiles, he made much use of learning and philo- 
sophy ; it being more agreeable to the designs of the gospel, to 
confound the wisdom and learning of the world by the plain 
doctrine of the cross. 

III. These were great accomplishments, and yet but a shadow 
to that divine temper of mind that was in him, which discovered 
itself through the whole course and method of his life. He was 
humble to the lowest step of abasure and condescension, none 
ever thinking better of others, or more meanly of himself. And 
though when he had to deal with envious and malicious adver- 
saries, who, by vilifying his person, sought to obstruct his mi- 
nistry, he knew how to magnify his office, and to let them know 
that he was " no whit inferior to the very chiefest apostles yet 
out of this case he constantly declared to all the world, that he 
looked upon himself as an abortive, and an untimely birth ; as 
" the least of the apostles, not meet to be called an apostle and, 
as if this were not enough, he makes a word on purpose to ex- 
1 In 1 ad Cor. c. i. Horn. iii. s. 4. vol. x. p. 20. * Clem. Alex. Strom. 1. i. c. 14. 




press his humility, styling himself eXaj^ororepov, " less than thd 
least of all saints," yea, " the very chief of sinners." How freely, 
and that at every turn, does he confess what he was before his 
conversion ; a blasphemer, a persecutor, and injurious both to God 
and men ! Though honoured with peculiar acts of the highest 
grace and favour, taken up to an immediate converse with God 
in heaven, yet did not this swell him with a supercilious loftiness 
over the rest of his brethren : entrusted he was with great power 
and authority in the church, but never affected dominion over 
men's faith ; nor any other place, than to be an helper of their 
joy ; nor ever made use of his power but to the edification, not 
destruction of any. How studiously did he decline all honours 
and commendations that were heaped upon him ? When some 
in the church of Corinth cried him up beyond all measures, and 
under the patronage of his name began to set up for a party, he 
severely rebuked them ; told them that it was Christ, not he, that 
was crucified for them ; that they had not been baptized into his 
name, which he was so far from, that he did not remember that 
he had baptized above three or four of them, and was heartily 
glad he had baptized no more, lest a foundation might have been 
laid for that suspicion ; that this Paul, whom they so much ex- 
tolled, was no more than a minister of Christ, whom our Lord 
had appointed to plant and build up his church. 

IV. Great was his temperance and sobriety, so far from going 
beyond the bounds of regularity, that he abridged himself of the 
conveniences of lawful and necessary accommodations ; frequent 
his hungerings and thirstings, not constrained only, but volun- 
tary : it is probably thought that he very rarely drank any wine ; 
certain, that by abstinence and mortification he kept under and 
subdued his body, reducing the extravagancy of the sensual ap- 
petites to a perfect subjection to the laws of reason. By this 
means he easily got above the world, and its charms and frowns ; 
and his mind continually conversant in heaven, his thoughts were 
fixed there, his desires always ascending thither : what he taught 
others he practised himself ; his conversation was in heaven, and 
his desires were to depart and to be with Christ ; this world did 
neither arrest his affections nor disturb his fears, he was not taken 
with its applause nor frighted with its threatenings ; he studied 
not to please men, nor valued the censures and judgments which 

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they passed upon him; he was not greedy of a great estate, or 
titles of honour, or rich presents from men, not seeking theirs 
but them : food and raiment was his bill of fare, and more 
than this he never cared for; accounting, that the less he 
was clogged with these things, the lighter he should march 
to heaven, especially travelling through a world overrun with 
troubles and persecutions. Upon this account, it is probable 
he kept himself always within a single life, though there want 
not some of the ancients who expressly reckon him in the number 
of the married apostles, as Clemens Alexandrinus, b Ignatius, 0 and 
some others. It is true, that passage is not to be found in the 
genuine epistle of Ignatius, but yet is extant in all those that are 
owned and published by the church of Borne, though they have 
not been wanting to banish it out of the world, having expunged 
St. Paul's name out of some ancient manuscripts, as the learned 
bishop Usher d has, to their shame, sufficiently discovered to the 
world. But for the main of the question we can readily grant it, 
the scriptures seeming most to favour it, that though he asserted 
his power and liberty to marry as well as the rest, yet that he 
lived always a single life. 

V. His kindness and charity was truly admirable ; he had a 
compassionate tenderness for the poor, and a quick sense of the 
wants of others : to what church soever he came, it was one of 
his first cares to make provision for the poor, and to stir up the 
bounty of the rich and wealthy ; nay, himself worked often with 
his own hands, not only to maintain himself, but to help and 
relieve them. But infinitely greater was his charity to the souls 
of men, fearing no dangers, refusing no labours, going through 
good and evil report, that he might gain men over to the know- 
ledge of the truth, reduce them out of the crooked paths of vice 
and idolatry, and set them in the right way to eternal life ; nay, 
so insatiable his thirst after the good of souls, that he affirms, 
that rather than his countrymen, the Jews, should miscarry by 
not believing and entertaining the gospel, he could be content, 
nay wished, that himself " might be accursed from Christ for their 
sake," i. e. that he might be anathematized and cut off from the 

b Clem. Alex. Strom. 1. iii. c. 6. 

c Ignat. Ep. ad Philadelph. a. 4. vol. ii. p. 146. Euseb. 1. iii. c. 30. 
d Usser. not in Ignat. Epist ad Philadelph. vid. James, his Corrupt of the Faith, part 
ii p. 57. 


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church of Christ, and not only lose the honour of the apostolate, 
but be reckoned in the number of the abject and execrable 
persons, such as those who are separated from the communion of 
the church : an instance of so large and passionate a charity, 
that lest it might not find room in men's belief, he ushered it in 
with his solemn appeal and attestation, that " he said the truth 
in Christ and lied not, his conscience bearing him witness in the 
Holy Ghost." And as he was infinitely solicitous to gain men 
over to the best religion in the world, so was he not less careful 
to keep them from being seduced from it, ready to suspect every 
thing that might " corrupt their minds from the simplicity that 
is in Christ." " I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy," 
as he told the church of Corinth : e an affection of all others the 
most active and vigilant, and which is wont to inspire men with 
the most passionate care and concernment for the good of those 
for whom we have the highest measures of love and kindness. 
Nor was his charity to men greater than his zeal for God, endea- 
vouring with all his might to promote the honour of his Master. 
Indeed, zeal seems to have had a deep foundation in the natural 
forwardness of his temper. How exceedingly zealous was he, while 
in the Jews 1 religion, of the traditions of his fathers ; how earnest 
to vindicate and assert the divinity of the Mosaic dispensation, 
and to persecute all of a contrary way, even to rage and mad- 
ness ? And when afterwards turned into a right channel, it ran 
with as swift a current ; carrying him out against all opposition 
to ruin the kingdom and the powers of darkness, to beat down 
idolatry, and to plant the world with right apprehensions of God 
and the true notions of religion. When at Athens he saw them 
so much overgrown with the grossest superstition and idolatry, 
giving the honour that was alone due to God to statues and 
images, his zeal began to ferment, and to boil up into paroxisms 
of indignation ; and he could not but let them know the resent- 
ments of his mind, and how much herein they dishonoured God, 
the great Parent and Maker of the world. 

VI. This zeal must needs put him upon a mighty diligence 
and industry in the execution of his office : warning, reproving, 
entreating, persuading, " preaching in season and out of season," 
by night and by day, by sea and land ; no pains too much to be 
taken, no dangers too great to be overcome. For five and thirty 

« 2 Cor. xi. 2. ct vid. Chrysost. Horn, xxiii. s. 1. in 2 ad Cor. vol. x. p. 595. 

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years after his conversion, he seldom stayed long in one place ; 
from Jerusalem, through Arabia, Asia, Greece, round about to 
Illyricum, to Rome, and even to the utmost bounds of the 
Western world, " fully preaching the gospel of Christ running 
(saith St. Jerome) from ocean to ocean, like the sun in the 
heavens, of which it is said, " his going forth is from the end of 
the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it sooner wanting 
ground to tread on, than a desire to propagate the faith of Christ. 
Nicephorus compares him to a bird in the air, f that in a few 
years flew round the world ; Isidore the Pelusiot, e to a winged 
husbandman, that flew from place to place to cultivate the world 
with the most excellent rules and institutions of life. And while 
the other apostles did, as it were, choose this or that particular 
province as the main sphere of their ministry, St. Paul overran 
the whole world to its utmost bounds and corners, planting all 
places where he came with the divine doctrines of the gospel. 
Nor in this course was he tired out with the dangers and diffi- 
culties that he met with, the troubles and oppositions that were 
raised against him : all which did but reflect the greater lustre 
upon his patience, whereof, indeed, (as Clement observes, 11 ) he 
became /jLiyiaros viroypafifjub^, " a most eminent pattern and ex- 
emplar," enduring the biggest troubles and persecutions with a 
patience triumphant and unconquerable ; as will easily appear, 
if we take but a survey of what trials and sufferings he under- 
went, some part whereof are briefly summed up by himself : 1 
" In labours abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons fre- 
quent, in deaths oft ; thrice beaten with rods, once stoned, thrice 
suffered shipwreck, a night and a day in the deep : in journey- 
ings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by his 
own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, 
in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among 
false brethren ; in weariness, in painfullness, in watchings often, 
in hunger and thirst ; in fastings often, in cold and nakedness : 
and besides these things that were without, that which daily came 
upon him, the care of all the churches.'" An account, though 
very great, yet far short of what he endured ; and wherein, as 
Chrysostom observes, k he does o-<f>68pa fjuerptd^eiv, "modestly 
keep himself within his measures for had he taken the liberty 

f Lib. iii. c 1. * Lib. iii. Epist. 176. ad Isid. Diac. h Epist. ad Cor. s. 5. 
1 2 Cor. xi. 23. et seq. k Chrysost. Horn. xxv. s. 3. in 2 ad Cor. vol. x. p. 617. 



fully to have enlarged himself, he might have filled hundreds of 
martyrologie8 with his sufferings. A thousand times was his 
life at stake ; in every suffering he was a martyr ; and what fell 
but in parcels upon others, came all upon him ; while they 
skirmished only with single parties, he had the whole army of 
sufferings to contend with. All which he generously underwent, 
with a soul as calm and serene as the morning sun ; no spite or 
rage, no fury or storms, could ruffle and discompose his spirit : 
nay, those sufferings which would have broken the back of an 
ordinary patience, did but make him rise up with greater eager- 
ness and resolution for the doing of his duty. 

VII. His patience will yet farther appear from the considera- 
tion of another, the last of those virtues we shall take notice of 
in him, his constancy and fidelity in the discharge of his place, 
and in the profession of religion. Could the powers and policies 
of men and devils, spite and oppositions, torments and threaten- 
ings, have been able to baffle him out of that religion wherein he 
had engaged himself, he must have sunk under them, and left 
his station : but his soul was steeled with a courage and resolu- 
tion that was impenetrable, and which no temptation, either from 
hopes or fears, could make any more impression upon, than an 
arrow can that is shot against a wall of marble. He wanted 
not solicitation on either hand, both from Jews and Gentiles, and 
questionless might, in some degree, have made his own terms, 
would he have been false to his trust, and have quitted that way 
that was then everywhere spoken against. But, alas ! these 
things weighed little with our apostle, who " counted not his life 
to be dear unto him, so that he might finish his course with joy, 
and the ministry which he had received of the Lord Jesus 
and therefore, when under the sentence of death in his own appre- 
hensions, could triumphingly say, " I have fought a good fight, 
I have finished my course, I have kept the faith and so indeed 
he did ; kept it inviolably, undauntedly, to the last minute of his 
life. The sum is, he was a man in whom the divine life did 
eminently manifest and display itself ; he lived piously and de- 
voutly, soberly and temperately, justly and righteously ; careful 
"alway to keep a conscience void of offence both towards God 
and man," This, he tells us, was his support under suffering ; 
this the foundation of his confidence towards God, and his firm 
hopes of happiness in another world : " this is our rejoicing, the 

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testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sin- 
cerity we have had our conversation in the world." 1 

VIII. It is not the least instance of his care and fidelity in 
his office, that he did not only preach and plant Christianity in 
all places whither he came, but what he could not personally do, 
he supplied by writing. Fourteen epistles he left upon record, 
by which he was not only instrumental in propagating Christian 
religion at first, but has been useful to the world ever since in 
all ages of the church. We have all along, in the history of his 
life, taken particular notice of them in their due place and order ; 
we shall here only make some general observations and remarks 
upon them, and that as to the style and way wherein they are 
written, their order, and the subscriptions that are added to 
them. For the apostle's style and manner of writing, it is plain 
and simple ; and though not set off with the elaborate artifices, 
and affected additional of human eloquence, yet grave and 
majestical ; and that by the confession of his very enemies : " his 
letters (say they) are weighty and powerful."" 1 Nor are there 
wanting in them some strains of rhetoric, which sufficiently 
testify his ability that way, had he made it any part of his 
study and design. Indeed, Jerome is sometimes too rude and 
bold in his censures of St. Paul's style and character." He tells 
us, that being an Hebrew of the Hebrews, and admirably skilled 
in the language of his nation, he was greatly defective in the 
Greek tongue, (though a late great critic is of another mind, 0 af- 
firming him to have been as well or better skilled in Greek, than 
in Hebrew or in Syriac,) wherein he could not sufficiently express 
his conceptions in a way becoming the majesty of his sense and 
the matter he delivered, nor transmit the elegancy of his native 
tongue into another language: that hence he became obscure 
and intricate in his expressions, guilty many times of solecisms, 
and scarce tolerable syntax s and that therefore it was not his 
humility, but the truth of the thing, that made him say, that 
" he came not with the excellency of speech, but in the power 
of God." A censure from any other than St. Jerome that 
would have been justly wondered at : but we know the liberty 
that he takes to censure any, though the reverence due to so 

1 2 Cor. i 12. m 2 Cor. x. 10. 

n Ad Algas. Quaest 11. Quaest. 11. ad Hedib. In Eph. iii. Com. in Gal. iii. 

° Salmas. de Hellenist, par. i. quaest. 6. 

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great an apostle might, one would think, have challenged a more 
modest censure at his hands. However, elsewhere he cries him 
up as a great master of composition : p that as oft as he heard him, 
he seemed to hear not words, but thunder ; that in all his cita- 
tions he made use of the most prudent artifices, using simple 
words, and which seemed to carry nothing but plainness along 
with them, but which way soever a man turned, breathed force 
and thunder : he seems entangled in his cause, but catches all 
that comes near him ; turns his back, as if intending to fly, when 
it is only that he may overcome. 

IX. St. Peter long since observed,* 1 that in Paul's epistles 
there were Svavorjrd rcva, " some things hard to be understood 
which surely is not altogether owing to the profoundness of his 
sense and the mysteriousness of the subject that he treats of, 
but in some degree to his manner of expression ; his frequent 
Hebraisms, (common to him with all the holy writers of the 
New Testament,) his peculiar forms and ways of speech, his often 
inserting Jewish opinions, and yet but tacitly touching them, 
his using some words in a new and uncommon sense ; but, above 
all, his frequent and abrupt transitions, suddenly starting aside 
from one thing to another, whereby his reader is left at a loss, 
not knowing which way to follow him, not a little contributing 
to the perplexed obscurity of his discourses. Irenaeus took 
notice of old/ that St. Paul makes frequent use of these hyperbata, 
by reason of the swiftness of his arguings, and the great fervour 
and impetus that was in him ; leaving many times the designed 
frame and texture of his discourse, not bringing in what should 
have immediately connected the sense and order, till some dis- 
tance after : which indeed, to men of a more nice and delicate 
temper, and who will not give themselves leave patiently to trace 
out his reasonings, must needs create some obscurity. Origen 
and St. Jerome sometimes observe, that besides this, he uses 
many of his native phrases of the Oilician dialect ; which being 
iu a great measure foreign and exotic to the ordinary Greek, in- 
troduces a kind of strangeness into his discourse, and renders it 
less intelligible. Epiphanius tells us, 8 that by these methods he 
acted like a skilful archer, hitting the mark before his adversaries 

p Epist. xxx. pro libb. adv. Jovin. vol. iv. par. ii. p. 236. 

i 2 Pet. iii. 16. r Adv. Haer. L iii. c. 7. p. 248. 

• Hacres. lxiv. c. '29. 

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were aware of it ; by words misplaced, making the frame of his 
discourse seem obscure and entangled, while in itself it was not 
only most true, but elaborate, and not difficult to be understood ; 
that to careless and trifling readers it might sometimes seem 
dissonant and incoherent, but to them that are diligent, and will 
take their reason along with them, it would appear full of truth, 
and to be disposed with great care and order. 

X. As for the order of these epistles, we have already given 
a particular account of the times when, and the places whence 
they were written. That which is here considerable, is the 
order according to which they are disposed in the sacred canon. 
Certain it is that they are not placed according to the just order 
of time wherein they were written; the two epistles to the 
Thessalonians being on all hands agreed to have been first 
written, though set almost last in order. Most probable, there- 
fore, it is, that they were placed according to the dignity of 
those to whom they were sent : the reason why those to whole 
churches have the precedency of those to particular persons, 
and among those to churches that to the Romans had the first 
place and rank assigned to it, was because of the majesty of the 
imperial city, and the eininency and honourable respect which 
that church derived thence ; and whether the same reason do 
not hold in others, though I will not positively assert, yet I 
think none will over-confidently deny. The last inquiry con- 
cerns the subscriptions added to the end of these epistles; 
which, were they authentic, would determine some doubts con- 
cerning the time and place of their writing. But, alas, they 
are of no just value and authority, not the same in all copies ; 
different in the Syriac and Arabic versions, nay, wholly wanting 
in some ancient Greek copies of the New Testament, and were 
doubtless at first added at best upon probable conjectures. When 
at any time they truly represent the place whence, or the person 
by whom the epistle was sent, it is not that they are to be 
relied upon in it, but because the thing is either intimated or 
expressed in the body of the epistle. I shall add no more but 
this observation, that St. Paul was wont to subscribe every epistle 
with his own hand,* " which is my token in every epistle ; so I 
write: " which was done (says one of the ancients") to prevent 
impostures, that his epistles might not be interpolated and cor- 
* 2 Thess. iii. 17. u Ambr. in loc. 

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rupted; and that if any vented epistles under his name, the 
cheat might be discovered by the apostle's own hand not being 
to them : and this brings me to the last consideration, that shall 
conclude this chapter. 

XI. That there were some, even in the most early ages of 
Christianity, who took upon them (for what ends I stand not 
now to inquire) to write books, and publish them under the 
name of some apostle, is notoriously known to any, though but 
never so little conversant in church antiquities. Herein St. Paul 
had his part and share; several supposititious writings being 
fathered and thrust upon him. We find a gospel ascribed by 
some of the ancients to him, which surely arose from no other 
cause, than that in some of his epistles he makes mention of my 
gospel : which, as St. J erome observes," can be meant of no 
other than the gospel of St. Luke, his constant attendant, and 
from whom he chiefly derived his intelligence. If he wrote an- 
other epistle to the Corinthians, precedent to those two extant 
at this day, as he seems to imply in a passage in his first epistle,* 
" I have wrote unto you in an epistle, not to keep company," &c. 
a passage not conveniently applicable to any other part either in 
that or the other epistle, nay, a verse or two after, the first 
epistle is directly opposed to it : y all that can be said in the case 
is, that it long since perished, the Divine Providence not seeing 
it necessary to be preserved for the service of the church. Fre- 
quent mention there is also of an epistle of his to the Laodiceans, 
grounded upon a mistaken passage in the epistle to the Co- 
lossians : z but besides that the apostle does not there speak of an 
epistle written to the Laodiceans, but of one from them, Tertullian 
tells us, a that by the epistle to the Laodiceans is meant that to 
the Ephesians, and that Marcion the heretic was the first that 
changed the title ; and therefore, in his enumeration of St. Paul's 
epistles, he omits that to the Ephesians, for no other reason, 
doubtless, but that according to Mansion's opinion he had 
reckoned it up under the title of that to the Laodiceans : which 
yet is more clear, if we consider that Epiphanius, citing a place 
quoted by Marcion out of the epistle to the Laodiceans, 6 it is in 
the very same words found in that to the Ephesians at this day. 

n De Script. EccL in Luc. 
y 1 Cor. v. 11. 

* Ad?. Marc. Lv.c 11. ibid, c 17. 

* 1 Cor. v. 9. 

* Coliv. 16. 

b Hares, xlii. p. 319. 

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However, such an epistle is still extant, forged no doubt before 
St. Jerome's time ; who tells us, c that it was read by some, but 
yet exploded and rejected by all. Besides these, there was 
his Eevelation, d called also ' Ava&aritcbv, or his " ascension 
grounded on his ecstacy or rapture into heaven, first forged by 
the Cainian heretics, and in great use and estimation among the 
Gnostics. Sozomen tells us, e that this apocalypse was owned 
by none of the ancients, though much commended by some 
monks in his time : and he farther adds, that in the time of the 
emperor Theodosius, it was said to have been found in an 
underground chest of marble in St. Paul's house at Tarsus, and 
that by a particular revelation : a story which upon inquiry he 
found to be as false, as the book itself was forged and spurious. 
The Acts of St. Paul are mentioned both by Origen f and Eu- 
sebius, 8 but not as writings of approved and unquestionable credit 
and authority. The epistles that are said to have passed be- 
tween St. Paul and Seneca, how early soever they started in 
the church, yet the falsehood and fabulousness of them is now 
too notoriously known, to need any farther account or descrip- 
tion of them. 



Simon Magus, the father of heretics. The wretched principles and practices of him and his 
followers. Their asserting angel-worship ; and how countermined hy St Paul Their 
holding it lawful to sacrifice to idols, and abjure the faith in times of persecution, dis- 
covered and opposed by St Paul. Their maintaining an universal licence to sin. 
Their manners and opinions herein described by St Paul in his epistles. The great 
controversy of those times about the obligation of the law of Moses upon the Gentile 
converts. The original of it, whence. The mighty veneration which the Jews had 
for the law of Moses. The true state of the controversy, what The determination 
made in it by the apostolic synod at Jerusalem. Meats offered to idols, what Ab- 
stinence from blood, why enjoined of old. Things strangled, why forbidden. Forni- 
cation commonly practised and accounted lawful among the Gentiles. The hire of the 
harlot, what How dedicated to their deities among the heathens. The main passages 
in St Paul's epistles concerning justification and salvation shewed to have respect to 
this controversy. What meant by law, and what by faith, in St Paul's epistles. The 

c De Script Eccl. in Paulo. 

d Epiph. Haeres. xxxviii. c 2. August in Joan. Tract xcviiL s. 8. vol. iii. par. ii. p. 743. 
« Hist Eccl. 1. vil c. 19. f Orig. x*p. *Apx« L i. c 2. * Euseb. 1. iii. c. 3. 

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persons whom he had to deal with in this controversy, who. The Jews' strange doting 
npon circumcision. The way and manner of the apostle's reasoning in this controversy 
considered. His chief arguments shewed immediately to respect the case of the 
Jewish and Gentile converts. No other controversy in those times which his dis- 
courses could refer to. Two consectaries from this discourse. I. That works of evan- 
gelical obedience are not opposed to faith in justification. What meant by works of 
evangelical obedience. This method of justification excludes boasting, and entirely 
gives the glory to God. II. That the doctrines of St Paul and St James about 
justification are fairly consistent with each other. These two apostles shewed to 
pursue the same design. St James's excellent reasonings to that purpose. 

Though our Lord and his apostles delivered the Christian re- 
ligion, especially as to the main and essential parts of it, in 
words as plain as words could express it, yet were there men of 
perverse and " corrupt minds, and reprobate concerning the faith," 
who, from different causes, some ignorantly or wilfully mistaking 
the doctrines of Christianity, others to serve ill purposes and de- 
signs, began to introduce errors and unsound opinions into the 
church, and to debauch the minds of men from the simplicity of the 
gospel, hereby disquieting the thoughts and alienating the affec- 
tions of men, and disturbing the peace and order of the church. 
The first ringleader of this heretical crew was Simon Magus, who 
not being able to attain his ends of the apostles, by getting a 
power to confer miraculous gifts, whereby he designed to greaten 
and enrich himself, resolved to be revenged of them; scattering the 
most poisonous tares among the good wheat that they had sown, 
bringing in the most pernicious principles, and, as the natural 
consequent of that, patronizing the most debauched villanous 
practices, and this under a pretence of still being Christians. To 
enumerate the several dogmata and damnable heresies, first 
broached by Simon, and then vented and propagated by his dis- 
ciples and followers, who, though passing under different titles, 
yet all centred at last in the name of Gnostics, (a term which 
we shall sometimes use for conveniency, though it took not place 
till after St. PauFs time,) were as needless as it is alien to my 
purpose. I shall only take notice of a few of more signal re- 
mark, and such as St. Paul in his epistles does eminently reflect 

II. Amongst the opinions and principles of Simon and his 
followers, this was one : h that God did not create the world ; 

h Iren. 1. i. c. 20. Epiph. Haer. xxi. Tert de Prsescr. Haeret c. 33. et c. 4G. Aug. de 
Haeres. Haar. xxxix. 



that it was made by angels ; that divine honours were due to 
them, and they to be adored as subordinate mediators between 
God and us. This our apostle saw growing up apace, and struck 
betimes at the root, in that early caution he gave to the Colos- 
sians, to " let no man beguile them in a voluntary humility, and 
worshipping of angels ; intruding into those things which he 
hath not seen ; vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind ; and not 
holding the head;" 1 i. e. hereby disclaiming Christ, the head of 
the church. But notwithstanding this warning, this error still 
continued, and spread itself in those parts for several ages, till 
expressly condemned by the Laodicean council. j Nay, Theodoret 
tells us, k that in his time there were still oratories erected to the 
archangel Michael in those places, wherein they were wont to 
meet and pray to angels. Another Gnostic principle was, that 
men might freely and indifferently eat what had been offered in 
sacrifice to idols ; 1 yea, sacrifice to the idol itself, it being lawful 
confidently to abjure the faith in time of persecution. The first 
part whereof St. Paul does largely and frequently discuss up and 
down his epistles : the latter, wherein the sting and poison was 
more immediately couched, was craftily adapted to those times of 
suffering, and greedily swallowed by many, hereby drawn into 
apostacy. Against this our apostle antidotes the Christians, espe- 
cially the Jewish converts, among whom the Gnostics had mixed 
themselves, that they would not suffer themselves to be drawn 
aside by " an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living 
God ;" ra that, notwithstanding sufferings and persecutions, they 
would 44 hold fast the profession of the faith without wavering ; 
not forsaking the assembling of themselves together, as the 
manner of some is," (the Gnostic heretics,) remembering how se- 
verely God has threatened apostates, that 44 if any man draw back, 
his soul shall have no pleasure in him ;" and 44 what a fearful 
thing it is, thus to fall into the hands of the living God." n 

III. But besides this, Simon and his followers made the gate 
yet wider, maintaining an universal license to sin, that men were 
free to do whatever they had a mind to ;° that to press the ob- 
servance of good works was a bondage inconsistent with the 
liberty of the gospel ; that so men did but believe in him, arid 

1 CoL ii. 18. J Can. xxxv. 

1 Orig. adv. Cels. L vi. s. 11. Euseb. 1. iv. c. 7. 

■ Heb.x. 23. 25. 31.38. 

k Theod. comment in Col. ii. 

m Heb. iii. 12. 

• Iren. ady. Haer. 1. i. c. 20, 

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his dear Helen, they had no reason to regard law or prophets, 
but might do what they pleased; they should be saved by his 
grace, and not according to good works. Irenseus adds, (what a 
man might easily have inferred, had he never been told it,) that 
they lived in all lust and filthiness ; as, indeed, whoever will 
take the pains to peruse the account that is given of them, will 
find that they wallowed in the most horrible and unheard-of 
bestialities. These persons St. Paul does as particularly describe 
as if he had named them, having once and again, with tears, 
warned the Philippians of them,? that they " were enemies of 
the cross of Christ; whose end is destruction, whose God is 
their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly 
things." And elsewhere, to the same effect, q that they would 
" mark them that caused divisions and offences contrary to the 
doctrine which they had learned, and avoid them : for they that 
were such, served not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; 
by good words and fair speeches deceiving the hearts of the 
simple. 11 This, I doubt not, he had in his eye, when he gave those 
caveats to the Ephesians/ that " fornication, and all uncleanness, 
and inordinate desires, should not be once named amongst them, as 
became saints ; nor filthiness, nor unclean talking being assured 
by the Christian doctrine, that " no whoremonger, nor unclean 
person," &c. could be saved : that therefore " they should let no 
man deceive them with vain words ; these being the very things 
for which the wrath of God came upon the children of disobedi- 
ence, 11 and, accordingly, it became them " not to be partakers 
with them plainly intimating that this impure Gnostic crew 
(whose doctrines and practices he does here no less truly than 
lively represent) had begun, by crafty and insinuative arts, to 
screw itself into the church of Ephesus, cheating the people 
with subtle and flattering insinuations, probably persuading them 
that these things were but indifferent, and a part of that Chris- 
tian liberty wherein the gospel had instated them. By these 
and such like principles and practices (many whereof might be 
reckoned up) they corrupted the faith of Christians, distracted 
the peace of the church, stained and defiled the honour and 
purity of the best religion in the world. 

IV. But the greatest and most famous controversy that of all 
others, in those times, exercised the Christian church, was con- 

p Phil. iii. 17, 1R. « Rom. xvl 17, 18. r Eph. v. 3, 4, etc. 

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cerning the obligation that Christians were under to observe the 
law of Moses, as necessary to their justification and salvation : 
which because a matter of so much importance, and which takes 
up so great a part of St. Paul's epistles, and the clearing whereof 
will reflect a great light upon them, we shall consider more at 
large. In order whereunto, three things especially are to be in- 
quired after : the true state of the controversy ; what the apostles 
determined in this matter ; and what respect the most material 
passages in St. Paul's epistles about justification and salvation 
bear to this controversy. First we shall inquire into the true 
state and nature of the controversy; and for this we are to 
know, that when Christianity was published to the world, it 
mainly prevailed among the Jews, they being generally the first 
converts to the faith. But having been brought up in a mighty 
reverence and veneration for the Mosaic institutions, and looking 
upon that economy as immediately contrived by God himself, 
delivered by angels, settled by their great master Moses, re- 
ceived with the most solemn and sensible appearances of divine 
power and majesty, ratified by miracles, and entertained by all 
their forefathers as the peculiar prerogative of that nation for so 
many ages and generations, they could not easily be brought off 
from it, or behold the gospel but with an evil eye, as an enemy 
that came to supplant and undermine this ancient and excellent 
institution. Nay, those of them that were prevailed upon, by 
the convictive power and evidence of the gospel, to embrace the 
Christian religion, yet could not get over the prejudice of educa- 
tion, but must still continue their observance of those legal rites 
and customs wherein they had been brought up : and, not con- 
tent with this, they began magisterially to impose them upon 
others, even all the Gentile converts, as that without which they 
could never be accepted by God in this, or rewarded by him in 
another world. This controversy was first started at Antioch, 
a place not more remarkable for its own greatness, than the vast 
numbers of Jews that dwelt there, enjoying great immunities, 
granted them by the king of Syria \* for after that Antiochus 
Epiphanes had destroyed Jerusalem, and laid waste the temple, 
the Jews generally flocked hither, where they were courteously 
entertained by his successors, the spoils of the temple restored 
to them for the enriching and adorning of their synagogue, and 

■ Joseph, de Bell. Jud. 1. vii. c. 21. 

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they made equally with the Greeks freemen of that city: by 
which means their numbers increased daily, partly by the resort 
of others from Judea, partly by a numerous conversion of pro- 
selytes, whom they gained over to their religion. Accordingly, 
Christianity, at its first setting out, found a very successful en- 
tertainment in this place. And hither it was that some of the 
Jewish converts being come down from Jerusalem, taught the 
Christians,* that unless they observed circumcision, and the whole 
law of Moses, they could not be saved. Paul and Barnabas, then 
at Antioch, observing the ill influence that this had upon the 
minds of men, (disturbing many at present, and causing the 
apostacy of some afterwards,) began vigorously to oppose this 
growing error ; but not able to conjure down this spirit that had 
been raised up, they were despatched by the church at Antioch 
to consult the apo&tles and governors at Jerusalem about this 
matter: whither being come, they found the quarrel espoused 
among others by some converts of the sect of the Pharisees, (of 
all others the most zealous assertors of the Mosaic rites,) stiffly 
maintaining, that besides the gospel, or the Christian religion, it 
was necessary for all converts, whether Jews or Gentiles, to keep 
to circumcision, and the law of Moses. So that the state of the 
controversy between the orthodox and these Judaizing Christians 
was plainly this, " Whether circumcision and the observation of 
the Mosaic law, or only the belief and practice of Christianity, be 
necessary to salvation ?" The latter part of the question was 
maintained by the apostles, the former asserted by the J udaizing 
zealots, making the law of Moses equally necessary with the law 
of Christ: and no doubt pretending, that whatever these men 
might preach at Antioch, yet the apostles were of another mind ; 
whose sentence and resolution it was therefore thought necessary 
should be immediately known. 

XV. We are then next to consider what determination the 
apostolic synod at Jerusalem made of this matter. For a council 
of the apostles and rulers being immediately convened, and the 
question by Paul and Barnabas brought before them, the case 
was canvassed and debated on all hands : and at last it was re- 
solved upon, by their unanimous sentence and suffrage, that the 
Gentile converts were under no obligation to the Jewish law; 
that God had abundantly declared his acceptance of them, though 

* Acts xv. 1. 

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strangers to the Mosaical economy; that they were sufficiently 
secured of their happiness and salvation by the grace of the 
gospel, wherein they might be justified and saved without cir- 
cumcision or legal ceremonies, a yoke from which Christ had now 
set us free. But because the apostles did not think it prudent, 
in these circumstances, too much to stir the exasperated humour 
of the Jews, (lest by straining the string too high at first, they 
should endanger their revolting from the faith,) therefore they 
thought of some indulgence in the case ; St. J ames, then bishop 
of Jerusalem, and probably president of the council, propounding 
this expedient : that for the present the Gentile converts should 
so far only comply with the humour of the Jews, as to " abstain 
from meats offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, 
and from fornication. 11 Let us a little more distinctly survey the 
ingredients of this imposition. ' " Meats offered to idols, 11 or, as 
St. James in his discourse styles them, aXiay^fiara t&v elB6\cov y 
"the pollution of idols; 11 the word aXKry^fiara properly de- 
noting, the meats that were polluted by being consecrated to the 
idol. Thus we read of SfcUD tonb, apro? rjXiayr) pivot, (as the 
Seventy render it,) " polluted bread upon God's altar, 11 i. e. such 
probably as had been before offered to idols. So that these 
meats offered to the idols were parts of those sacrifices which 
the heathens offered to their gods, of the remaining portions 
whereof they usually made a feast in the idol-temple, inviting 
their friends thither, and sometimes their Christian friends to 
come along with them. This, God had particularly forbidden the 
Jews by the law of Moses, u " thou shalt worship no other God : 
lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and 
go a whoring after their gods, and do sacrifice unto their gods, 
and one call thee, and thou eat of his sacrifice. 11 And the not 
observing this prohibition cost the Jews dear: when invited by 
the Moabites to the sacrifices of their gods, x " they did eat 
with them, and bowed down to their gods. 11 Sometimes these 
remaining portions were sold for common use in the shambles, 
and bought by Christians. Both which gave great offence to 
the zealous Jews, who looked upon it as a participation in the 
idolatries of the heathen : of both which our apostle discourses 
elsewhere at large, pressing Christians to " abstain from idolatry, 11 
both as to the idol-feasts, and the remainders of the sacrifice : 

u Exod. xxxiv. 14, 15. x Numb. xxv. 2—4. 


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from the former, as more immediately unlawful ; from the latter, 
the sacrificial meats sold in the shambles, as giving offence to 
weak and undiscerning Christians. For though in itself u an 
idol was nothing in the world, " and consequently no honour 
could be done it by eating what was offered to it, yet was it 
more prudent and reasonable to abstain, partly because flesh- 
meats have no peculiar excellency in them to commend us to 
God ; partly because all men were not alike instructed in the 
knowledge of their liberty, their minds easily puzzled, and their 
consciences entangled, the Gentiles by this means hardened in 
their idolatrous practices, weak brethren offended ; besides, 
though these things were in their own nature indifferent, and in 
a man's own power to do, or to let alone, yet was it not con- 
venient to make our liberty a snare to others, and to venture 
upon what was lawful, when it was plainly unedifying and in- 
expedient. "From blood this God forbad of old, and that 
sometime before the giving of the law by Moses, y that " they 
should not eat the flesh with the blood, which was the life 
thereof. 11 The mystery of which prohibition was to instruct men 
in the duties of mercy and tenderness even to brute beasts, but 
(as appears from what follows after) primarily designed by God 
as a solemn fence and bar against murder, and the effusion of 
human blood : a law afterwards renewed upon the Jews, and 
inserted into the body of the Mosaic precepts. " From things 
strangled: 11 that is, that they should abstain from eating of 
those beasts that died without letting blood, where the blood 
was not throughly drained from them ; a prohibition grounded 
upon the reason of the former, and indeed was greatly abominable 
to the Jews, being so expressly forbidden in their law. 2 But it 
was not more offensive to the Jews than acceptable to the 
Gentiles, 11 who were wont with great art and care to strangle 
living creatures, that they might stew or dress them with their 
blood in them, as a point of curious and exquisite delicacy. This 
and the foregoing prohibition, abstinence from blood, died not 
with the apostles, nor were buried with other Jewish rites, but 
were inviolably observed for several ages in the Christian church, 
as we have elsewhere observed from the writers of those times. b 

y Gen. ix. 4. * Levit xvii. 10, 11, 12, etc. 

* Athen. Deipnos. L ii. c. 24. ubi vid. Casaub. in loc. 
b Prim. Christ, par. iii. c. 1. 

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Lastly, "From fornication :" this was a thing commonly prac- 
tised in the heathen world, who generally beheld simple fornica- 
tion as no sin, c and that it was lawful for persons, not engaged 
in wedlock, to make use of women that exposed themselves. A 
custom justly offensive to the Jews, and therefore, to cure two 
evils at once, the apostles here solemnly declare against it. Not 
that they thought it a thing indifferent, as the rest of the pro- 
hibited rites were, for it is forbidden by the natural law, (as 
contrary to that chasteness and modesty, that order and come- 
liness, which God has planted in the minds of men,) but they 
joined it in the same class with them, because the Gentiles looked 
upon it as a thing lawful and indifferent. It had been expressly 
forbidden by the Mosaic law, d " there shall be no whore of the 
daughters of Israel ;" and because the heathens had generally 
thrown down this fence and bar set by the law of nature, it was 
here again repaired by the first planters of Christianity, as by 
St. Paul elsewhere, 6 " Ye know what commandments we gave 
you by the Lord J esus ; for this is the will of God, even your 
sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication : that every 
one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification 
and honour, not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles 
which know not God." Though, after all, I must confess myself 
inclinable to embrace Heinsius^s ingenious conjecture, that by 
wopvela, " fornication," we are here to understand ir6pvrj<; 
fil<rOa)fia, " the harlot's hire," or the iropviicr) Ov<rca, " the offering 
which those persons were wont to make." For among the Gentiles, 
nothing was more usual than for the common women, that prosti- 
tuted themselves to lewd embraces, (those especially that attended 
at the temples of VenuSj) to dedicate some part of their gain, and 
present it to the gods. Athanasius has a passage very express 
to this purpose : f Twalices yovv iv elSaXehis 7779 $oivl/cri$ 
iraKai Trpoe/caOi&vro, airap'xpfievcu rot? itcei Oeoi? iavr&v rt}v 
rod o-wfiaro? luaOapviaV) vofil£ov<rai rfj iropveiq rrjv Oeov iavr&v 
i\da/ce<rOai, teal eh evfiiveiav a^/etv avrrjv Bta tovtwv : " The 
women of old were wont to sit 'in the idol temples of Phoenicia, 
and to dedicate the gain which they got by the prostitution of 

c Vid. Cicer. pro Ccelio, Orat xxxiv. Terent Adelph. act i. sc. 2. Philem. Comic, 
in Delph. ap. Athen. 1. xiii. c. 3. Vid. Leg. Attic 1. vi. tit. v. p. 41. et Petit. Comm. 
p. 474. 

d Deut xxiii. 17. « 1 Thess. iv. 2—5. f Orat adv. Gent s. 2b\ 

Y 2 

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their bodies, as a kind of first-fruits to the deities of the place ; 
supposing that by fornication they should pacify their goddess, 
and by this means render her favourable and propitious to them." 
Where it is plain he uses iropvela^ or " fornication," in this very 
sense, for that gain or reward of it which they consecrated to 
their gods. Some such thing Solomon had in his eye, g when he 
brings in the harlot thus courting the young man, " I have peace- 
offerings with me, this day have I paid my vows." These pre- 
sents were either made in specie, the very money thus un- 
righteously gotten, or in sacrifices bought with it, and offered at 
the temple, the remainders whereof were taken and sold among 
the ordinary sacrificial portions. This as it holds the nearest 
correspondence with the rest of the rites here forbidden, so could 
it not choose but be a mighty scandal to the Jews, it being so 
particularly prohibited in their law, h " Thou shalt not bring the 
hire of an whore into the house of the Lord thy God for any 
vow, for it is an abomination to the Lord." 

VI. These prohibitions, here laid upon the Gentiles, were by 
the apostles intended only for a temporary compliance with the 
Jewish converts, till they could by degrees be brought off from 
their stiffness and obstinacy, and then the reason of the thing 
ceasing, the obligation to it must needs cease and fail. Nay, we 
may observe, that even while the apostolical decree lasted in its 
greatest force and power, in those places where there were few or 
no Jewish converts, the apostle did not stick to give leave, that, 
except in case of scandal, any kind of meats, even the portions 
of the idol-sacrifices, might be indifferently bought and taken by 
Christians as well as Heathens. These were all which, in order 
to the satisfaction of the Jews, and for the present peace of the 
church, the apostles thought necessary to require of the converted 
Gentiles, but that for all the rest they were perfectly free from 
legal observances, obliged only to the commands of Christianity. 
So that the apostolical decision that was made of this matter 
was this : " that (besides the temporary observation of those few 
indifferent rites before mentioned) the belief and practice of the 
Christian religion was perfectly sufficient to salvation, without 
circumcision, and the observation of the Mosaic law." This 
synodical determination allayed the controversy for a while, 
being joyfully received by the Gentile Christians. But, alas ! the 

- s Prov. vii. 14. »> Deut. xxiii. 18. 

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Jewish zeal began again to ferment and spread itself; they could 
not with any patience endure to see their beloved Moses deserted, 
and those venerable institutions trodden down, and therefore la- 
boured to keep up their credit, and still to assert them as ne- 
cessary to salvation : than which nothing created St. Paul 
greater trouble at every turn, being forced to contend against 
these Judaizing teachers almost in every church where he came ; 
as appears by that great part that they bear in all his epistles, 
especially that to the Romans, and Galatians, where this leaven 
had most diffused itself: whom the better to undeceive, he dis- 
courses at large of the nature and institution, the end and design, 
the antiquating and abolishing of that Mosaic covenant, which 
these men laid so much stress and weight upon. 

VII. Hence then we pass to the third thing considerable for 
the clearing of this matter, which is to shew, that the main pas- 
sages in St. Paul's epistles, concerning justification and salvation, 
have an immediate reference to this controversy. But before we 
enter upon that, something must necessarily be premised for the 
explicating some terms and phrases frequently used by our apo- 
stle in this question ; these two especially, what he means by law, 
and what by faith. By law, then, it is plain, he usually under- 
stands the Jewish law, which was a complex body of laws, con- 
taining moral, ceremonial, and judicial precepts, each of which 
had its use and office as a great instrument of duty. The judicial 
laws, being peculiar statutes accommodated to the state of the 
Jews 1 commonwealth, as all civil constitutions, restrained men 
from the external acts of sin : the ceremonial laws came some- 
what nearer, and besides their typical relation to the evangelical 
state, by external and symbolical representments signified and 
exhibited that spiritual impurity from which men were to ab- 
stain : the moral laws, founded in the natural notions of men's 
minds concerning good and evil, directly urged men to duty, 
and prohibited their prevarications. These three made up the 
entire code and pandects of the Jewish statutes; all which our 
apostle comprehends under the general notion of " the law," and 
not the moral law singly and separately considered, in which 
sense it never appears that the Jews expected justification and 
salvation by it, nay, rather, that they looked for it merely from 1 
the observance of the ritual and ceremonial law: so that the 
moral law is no farther considered by him in this question, than 



as it made up a part of the Mosaical constitution, of that na- 
tional and political covenant which God made with the Jews at 
Mount Sinai. Hence the apostle all along in his discourses con- 
stantly opposes the law and the gospel, and the observation of 
the one to the belief and practice of the other ; which surely he 
would not have done, had he simply intended the moral law, it 
being more expressly incorporated into the gospel than ever it 
was into the law of Moses. And that the apostle does thus op- 
pose the law and gospel, might be made evident from the con- 
tinued series of his discourses ; but a few places shall suffice : 
" By what law (says the apostle) is boasting excluded? 1 by the 
law of works f 1 i. e. by the Mosaic law, in whose peculiar privi- 
leges and prerogatives the Jews did strangely flatter and pride 
themselves ? " Nay, but by the law of faith i. e. by the gospel, 
or the evangelical way of God's dealing with us. And elsewhere, k 
giving an account of this very controversy between the Jewish 
and Gentile converts, he first opposes their persons, "Jews by 
nature, 11 and " sinners of the Gentiles, 11 and then infers, " that a 
man is not justified by the works of the law, 11 by those legal ob- 
servances, whereby the J ews expected to be justified, " but by 
the faith of Christ, 11 by a hearty belief of, and compliance with 
that way which Christ has introduced ; " for by the works of the 
law, 11 by legal obedience, "no flesh, 11 neither Jew nor Gentile, 
" shall 11 now " be justified. 11 " Fain would I learn, whether you 
received the spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of 
faith? 111 that is, whether you became partakers of the miraculous 
powers of the Holy Ghost, while you continued under the legal 
dispensation, or since you embraced the gospel and the faith of 
Christ : and speaking afterwards of the state of the Jews before 
the revelation of the gospel, says he, m " before faith came, we 
were kept under the law ; 11 i. e. before the gospel came, we were 
kept under the discipline of the legal economy, " shut up unto 
the faith, 11 reserved for the discovery of the evangelical dis- 
pensation, "which should afterwards [in its due time] be re- 
vealed 11 to the world. This in the following chapter he dis- 
courses more at large: 0 " Tell me, ye that desire to be under the 
law, 11 i. e. ye Jews that so fondly dote upon the legal state, 
" Do ye not hear the law, 11 i. e. understand what your own law 

1 Rom. iii. 27. k GaL ii. 15, 16. » Gal. iii. 2—5. 

» Gal. iii. 23. •« Gal. iv. 21. et seq. 



does so clearly intimate ? and then goes on to unriddle what was 
wrapt up in the famous allegory of Abraham's two sons by his 
two wives : the one, Ishmael, born of Hagar, the bond-woman, 
who denoted the Jewish covenant made at Mount Sinai, which, 
according to the representation of her condition, was a servile 
state ; the other, Isaac, born of Sarah, the free- woman, was the 
son of the promise, denoting "Jerusalem that is above, and is 
free, the mother of us all :" i. e. the state and covenant of the 
gospel, whereby all Christians, as the spiritual children of Abra- 
ham, are set free from the bondage of the Mosaic dispensation. 
By all which it is evident, that by law and the works of the 
law, in this controversy, the apostle understands the law of 
Moses, and that obedience which the legal dispensation required 
at their hands. 

VIII. We are secondly to inquire, what the apostle means by 
faith ; and he commonly uses it two ways. 1. More generally for 
the gospel, or that evangelical way of justification and salvation 
which Christ has brought in, in opposition to circumcision, and 
the observation of those rites by which the Jews expected to be 
justified : and this is plain from the preceding opposition, where 
faith, as denoting the gospel, is frequently opposed to the law of 
Moses. 2. Faith is taken more particularly for a practical be- 
lief, or such an assent to the evangelical revelation as produces a 
sincere obedience to the laws of it ; and, indeed, as concerned in 
this matter, is usually taken not for this or that single virtue, but 
for the entire, condition of the new covenant, as comprehending 
all that duty that it requires of us : than which nothing can be 
more plain and evident; "in Christ Jesus," i. e. under the 
gospel, " neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircum- 
cision ;" it is all one to justification whether a man be circum- 
cised or no ; what then ? " but faith, which worketh by love :" 0 
which afterwards he explains thus ; " in Christ Jesus neither cir- 
cumcision availeth any thing, nor un circumcision, but a new 
creature," p a renewed and divine temper of mind, and a new 
course and state of life. And lest all this should not be thought 
plain enough, he elsewhere tells us, q that " circumcision is 
nothing, and un circumcision is nothing; but the keeping the 
commandments of God." From which places there needs no 
skill to infer, that that faith whereby we are justified contains 

° GaL v. 6. p Gal. vi. 15. <i 1 Cor. vii. 19. 



in it a new disposition and state both of heart and life, and an 
observation of the laws of Christ ; in which respect the apostle 
does in the very same verse expound " believing," by " obeying 
of the gospel." r Such, he assures us, was that very faith by 
which Abraham was justified, who against all probabilities of 
reason believed in God's promise ; " he staggered not at the pro- 
mise of God through unbelief, but was strong," &c. : that is, he so 
firmly believed what God had promised, that he gave him the 
glory of his truth and faithfulness, his infinite power and ability 
to do all things. And how did he that ? by acting suitably in a 
way of entire resignation, and sincere obedience to the divine 
will and pleasure : so the apostle elsewhere more expressly, 8 " by 
faith he obeyed, and went out, not knowing whither he went." 
This faith (he tells us 1 ) " was imputed to Abraham for righteous- 
ness ;" that is, God, by virtue of the new covenant made in Christ, 
was graciously pleased to look upon this obedience (though in 
itself imperfect) as that for which he accounted him, and would 
deal with him as a just and a righteous man. And upon this 
account we find Abraham's faith opposed to a perfect and unsin- 
ning obedience, for thus the apostle tells us, u that Abraham was 
justified by faith, in opposition to his being justified by such an 
absolute and complete obedience, as might have enabled him to 
challenge the reward by the strict laws of justice : whereas now 
his being pardoned and accepted by God in the way of a mean 
and imperfect obedience, it could not claim impunity, much 
less a reward, but must be entirely owing to the, divine grace 
and favour. 

IX. Having thus cleared our way, by restoring these words 
to their genuine and native sense, we come to shew^ how the 
apostle in his discourses does all along refer to the original con- 
troversy between the Jewish and Gentile converts, whether justi- 
fication was by the observation of the Mosaic law, or by the 
belief and practice of the gospel ; and this will appear, if we con- 
sider the persons that he has to deal with, the way and manner 
of his arguing, and that there was then no other controversy on 
foot to which these passages could refer. The persons whom he 
had to deal with were chiefly of two sorts, pure Jews, and Jewish 
converts. Pure Jews were those that kept themselves wholly to 
the legal economy, and expected to be justified and saved in no 

r Rom. x. 16. 8 Heb. xi. 8. 1 Rom. iv. 22. 0 Rom. iv. 2, 3, &c. 



other way, than the observation of the law of Moses. Indeed, 
they laid a more peculiar stress upon circumcision, because this 
having been added as the seal of that covenant which God made 
with Abraham, and the discriminating badge whereby they were 
to be distinguished from all other nations, they looked upon it 
as having a special efficacy in it to recommend them to the divine 
acceptance. Accordingly, we find in their writings that they 
make this the main basis and foundation of their hope and con- 
fidence towards God. For they tell us, that the precept of cir- 
cumcision is greater than all the rest, and equivalent to the whole 
law ; that the reason why God hears the prayers of the Israelites, 
but not tDW, " of the Gentiles'" or Christians, is iron nb^n, "for 
the virtue and merit of circumcision yea, that " so great is the 
power and efficacy of the law of circumcision, that no man that 
is circumcised shall go to hell."* Nay, according to the idle and 
trifling humour of these men, y they fetch down Abraham from 
the seat of the blessed, and place him as porter at the gates of 
hell, upon no other errand than to keep circumcised persons from 
entering into that miserable place. However nothing is more 
evident, than that circumcision was the fort and sanctuary 
wherein they ordinarily placed their security : and, accordingly, 
we find St. Paul frequently disputing against circumcision, as 
virtually comprising, in their notion, the keeping of the whole 
Jewish law. Besides, to these literal impositions of the law of 
Moses, the Pharisees had added many vain traditions and several 
superstitious usages of their own contrivance, in the observance 
whereof the people placed not a little confidence, as to that 
righteousness upon which they hoped to stand clear with heaven. 
Against all these our apostle argues, and sometimes by arguments 
peculiar to them alone. Jewish converts were those, who having 
embraced the Christian religion, did yet, out of a veneration to 
their ancient rites, make the observance of them equally necessary 
with the belief and practice of Christiapity both to themselves 
and others. These last were the persons, who as they first 
started the controversy, so were those against whom the apostle 
mainly opposed himself, endeavouring to dismount their pre- 
tences, and to beat down their opinions level with the ground. 

X. This will yet farther appear from the way and manner of 
the apostle^s arguing, which plainly respects this controversy, and 

* Cad. Hakkem. ap. Buxtorf. F. praef. ad Syn. Jud. y Synag. Jud. c. 4. 

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will be best seen in some particular instances of his reasonings. 
And, first, he jtrgues, that this way of justification, urged by 
Jews and Jewish converts, was inconsistent with the goodness of 
God, and his universal kindness to mankind ; being so narrow 
and limited, that it excluded the far greatest part of the world. 
Thus, in the three first chapters of his epistle to the Romans, 
having proved at large that the whole world, both Jew and 
Gentile, were under a state of guilt, and consequently liable to 
the Divine sentence and condemnation, he comes next to inquire 
by what means they may be delivered from this state of ven- 
geance, and shews that it could not be but by legal observances ; a 
but that now there was a way of righteousness or justification 
declared by Christ in the gospel (intimated also in the Old Tes- 
tament) extending to all, both Jews and Gentiles, whereby God, 
with respect to the satisfaction and expiation of Christ, is ready 
freely to pardon and justify aH penitent believers : that there- 
fore there was a way revealed in the gospel, whereby a man 
might be justified, without being beholden to the rites of the 
Jewish law, otherwise it would argue that God had very little 
care of the greatest part of men. " Is he God of the Jews only ? 
Is he not also of the Gentiles ? Yes, of the Gentiles also : seeing 
it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and 
the uncircumcision through faith Jew and Gentile in the same 
evangelical way. The force of which argument lies in this : that 
that cannot be necessary to our justification, which excludes the 
greatest part of mankind from all possibility of being justified, 
(and this justification by the Mosaic law plainly does ;) a thing 
by no means consistent with God's universal love and kindness 
to his creatures. Hence the apostle magnifies the grace of the 
gospel, that it has broken down the partition-wall, and made 
way for all nations to come in; a that "now there is neither 
Greek nor J ew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian nor 
Scythian no difference in this respect, b but " all one in Christ 
Jesus, 11 all equally admitted to terms of pardon and justification : c 
" in every nation, he that feareth God and worketh righteousness, 
being accepted with him. 11 

XI. Secondly, he argues, that this Jewish way of justification 
could not be indispensably necessary, in that it had not been the 
constant way whereby good men in all ages had been justified and 

z Rom. iii. 20, 21, &c. a Gal Hi. 28. b Col. iii. 11. c Acts x. 35. 



accepted with heaven. This he eminently proves from the in- 
stance of Abraham, whom the scripture sets forth as the father 
of the faithful, and the great exemplar of that way, wherein all 
his spiritual seed, all true believers, were to be justified. Now 
of him it is evident, that he was justified and accepted with 
God upon his practical belief of God's power and promise, be- 
fore ever circumcision, and much more before the rest of the 
Mosaic institution, was in being. " Cometh this blessedness then 
upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? 
for we say that faith was reckoned unto Abraham for righteous- 
ness. How was it then reckoned, , when he was in circumcision, 
or in uncircumcision ? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. 
And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteous- 
ness of the faith, which he had, being yet uncircuuicised," d &c. 
The meaning whereof is plainly this, that pardon of sin cannot be 
entailed upon the way of the Mosaic law ; it being evident, that 
Abraham was justified and approved of God before he was cir- 
cumcised, which was only added as a seal of the covenant be- 
tween God and him, and a testimony of that acceptance with 
God which he had obtained before. And this way of God's 
dealing with Abraham, and in him with all his spiritual children, 
the legal institution could not make void ; it being impossible that 
that dispensation, which came so long after, should disannul the 
covenant which God had made with Abraham and his spiritual 
seed four hundred and thirty years before.* Upon this account, 
as the apostle observes, the scripture sets forth Abraham as the 
great type and pattern of justification, as " the father of all them 
that believe, though they be not circumcised, that righteousness 
might be imputed to them also ; and the father of circumcision, 
to them who are not of the circumcision only, but also walk in 
the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had 
being yet uncircumcised. 11f "They therefore that are of faith, 
the same are the children of Abraham : and the scripture, fore- 
seeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached 
before the gospel (this evangelical way of justifying) unto 
Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then 
they which be of faith (who believe and obey, as Abraham did) 
shall be blessed (pardoned and saved) with faithful Abraham." 8 

d Rom. iv. 9, 10, 11, &c. 
f Rom. iv. 11, 12. 

e Gal. iii. 17. 
* Gal. iii. 7—9. 

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It might farther be demonstrated, that this has ever been God's 
method of dealing with mankind ; our apostle, in the eleventh 
chapter to the Hebrews, proving all along, by particular instances, 
that it was by such a faith as this, without any relation to the 
law of Moses, that good men were justified and accepted with 
God in all ages of the world. 

XII. Thirdly, he argues against this Jewish way of justifica- 
tion from the deficiency and imperfection of the Mosaic economy, 
not able to justify and save sinners. Deficient, as not able to 
assist those that were under it with sufficient aids to perform 
what it required of them ; h " this the law could not do, for that 
it was weak through the flesh, till God sent his own Son in the 
likeness of sinful flesh, (to enable us,) that the righteousness of 
the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, 
but after the Spirit. " And, indeed, " could the law have given 
life, verily righteousness should have been by the law:"* but, 
alas! the scripture having concluded all mankind, Jew and 
Gentile, under sin, and consequently incapable of being justified 
upon terms of perfect and entire obedience, there is now 
no other way but this, that "the promise by the faith of 
Christ be given to all them that believe,' 1 i. e. this evangelical 
method of justifying sincere believers. Besides, the Jewish 
economy was deficient in pardoning sin, and procuring the grace 
and favour of God ; it could only awaken the knowledge of sin, 
not remove the guilt of it. " It was not possible that the blood 
of bulls and goats should take away sin;" k all the sacrifices of 
the Mosaic law were no farther available for the pardon of sin, 
than merely as they were founded in, and had respect to that 
great sacrifice and expiation, which was to be made for the sins 
of mankind by the death of the Son of God. "The priests, 
though they daily ministered, and oftentimes offered the same 
sacrifices, yet could they never take away sins:" 1 no, that was 
reserved for a better and a higher sacrifice, even that of our 
Lord himself, who " after he had offered one sacrifice for sins, 
for ever sat down on the right hand of God ;" having completed 
that which the repeated sacrifices of the law could never effect. 
So that all men being under guilt, and no justification where 
there was no remission, the Jewish economy, being in itself 
unable to pardon, was incapable to justify. This St. Paul else- 

h Rom. viiL 3, 4. * Gal. iii. 21. k Hcb. x. 4. Heb. x. 11, 12. 



where declared in an open assembly before Jews and Gentiles ; 
" be it known unto you, men and brethren, that through this 
man [Christ Jesus] is preached unto you forgiveness of sins: 
and by him all that believe are justified from all things, from 
which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. 11 ™ 

XIII. Fourthly, he proves, that justification by the Mosaic 
law could not stand with the death of Christ, the necessity of 
whose death and sufferings it did plainly evacuate and take 
away. For if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is 
dead in vain : n if the Mosaical performances be still necessary to 
our justification, then certainly it was to very little purpose, and 
altogether unbecoming the wisdom and goodness of God, to send 
his own Son into the world, to do so much for us, and to suffer 
such exquisite pains and tortures. Nay, he tells them, that 
while they persisted in this fond obstinate opinion, all that 
Christ had done and suffered could be of no advantage to them. 
" Stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, 
and be not again entangled in the yoke of bondage," the bondage 
and servitude of the Mosaic rites; "Behold, I Paul solemnly 
say unto you, that if you be circumcised, Christ shall profit 
you nothing : for I testify again to every man that is circumcised, 
that he is a debtor to do the whole law ; Christ is become of 
none effect to you ; whosoever of you are justified by the law, 
ye are fallen from grace. 110 The sum of which argument is, that 
whoever lay the stress of their justification upon circumcision, 
and the observances of the law, do thereby declare themselves 
to be under an obligation of perfect obedience to all that the law 
requires of them, and accordingly supersede the virtue and effi- 
cacy of Christ's death, and disclaim all right and title to the grace 
and favour of the gospel. For since Christ's death is abundantly 
sufficient to attain its ends, whoever takes in another, plainly 
renounces that, and rests upon that of his own choosing. By 
these ways of reasoning it is evident what the apostle drives at 
in all his discourses about this matter. More might have been 
observed, had I not thought, that these are sufficient to render 
his design, especially to the unprejudiced and impartial, obvious 
and plain enough. 

XIV. Lastly, That St. Paul's discourses about justification 
and salvation do immediately refer to the controversy between 

m Acts xiii. 38, 39. » Gal. ii. 21. ° Gal. v. 1—4. 

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the orthodox and J udaizing Christians, appears hence, that there 
was no other controversy then on foot, but concerning the way 
of justification, whether it was by the observation of the law of 
Moses, or only of the gospel and the law of Christ. For we must 
needs suppose, that the apostle wrote with a primary respect to 
the present state of things, and so as they whom he had to deal 
with might, and could not but understand him: which yet 
would have been impossible for them to have done, had he in- 
tended them for the controversies which have since been bandied 
with so much zeal and fierceness, and to give countenance to 
those many nice and subtle propositions, those curious and ela- 
borate schemes, which some men in these later ages have drawn 
of these matters. 

XV. From the whole discourse, two consectaries especially 
plainly follow. Consect. 1. That works of evangelical obedience 
are not opposed to faith in justification. By works of evangelical 
obedience, I mean such Christian duties as are the fruits, not of 
our own power and strength, but God^ Spirit, done by the as- 
sistance of his grace. And that these are not opposed to faith, 
is undeniably evident, in that (as we observed before) faith, as 
including the new nature, and the keeping God's commands, is 
made the usual condition of justification. Nor can it be other- 
wise, when other graces and virtues of the Christian life are 
made the terms of pardon and acceptance with heaven, and of 
our title to the merits of Christ's death, end the great promise 
of eternal life. Thus repentance, which is not so much a single 
act, as a complex body of Christian duties : " Repent and be 
baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, 
and ye shall receive the Holy Ghost ;" p "Repent and be con- 
verted, that your sins may be blotted out." q So charity and 
forgiveness of others : " Forgive, if ye have aught against any, 
that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your 
trespasses : for if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly 
Father also will forgive you; but if ye forgive not men their 
trespasses, neither will your Father forgive yours." r Sometimes 
evangelical obedience in general : " God is no respecter of per- 
sons, but in every nation, he that feareth him, and worketh 
righteousness, is accepted with him." 8 " If we walk in the light, 

p Acts iL 38. q Acts iii. 19. 

r Mark xi. 25, 26. Matt. vi. 14, 15. » Acts x. 34, 35. 

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as God is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and 
the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin. ,n 
What privilege then has faith above other graces in this matter ? 
are we justified by faith ? We are pardoned and accepted with 
God upon our repentance, charity, and other acts of evangelical 
obedience. Is faith opposed to the works of the Mosaic law in 
justification ? so are works of evangelical obedience : " circum- 
cision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping 
of the commandments of God. 1 ' u Does faith give glory to God, 
and set the crown upon his head ? Works of evangelical obe- 
dience are equally the effects of divine grace, both preventing 
and assisting of us ; and indeed are not so much our works as 
his : so that the glory of all must needs be entirely resolved into 
the grace of God, nor can any man in such circumstances, with 
the least pretence of reason, lay claim to merit, or boast of his 
own achievements. Hence the apostle magnifies the evangelical 
method of justification above that of the law, that it wholly ex- 
cludes all proud reflections upon ourselves : " where is boasting 
then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay, but by 
the law of faith The Mosaical economy fostered men up in 
proud and high thoughts of themselves, they looked upon them- 
selves as a peculiar people, honoured above all other nations of 
the world ; the seed of Abraham, invested with mighty privileges, 
&c: whereas the gospel, proceeding upon other principles, takes 
away all foundations of pride, by acknowledging our acceptance 
with God, and the power whereby we are enabled to make good 
the terms and conditions of it, to be the mere result of the Divine 
grace and mercy, and that the whole scheme of our salvation, 
as it was the contrivance of the Divine Wisdom, so is the pur- 
chase of the merit and satisfaction of our crucified Saviour. Nor 
is faith itself less than other graces an act of evangelical obe- 
dience, and if separated from them, is of no moment or value in 
the accounts of heaven : " though I have all faith, and have no 
charity, I am nothing.' 1 y All faith, be it of what kind soever. 
To this may be added, that no tolerable account can be given 
why that which is on all hands granted to be the condition of 
our salvation (such is evangelical obedience) should not be the 
condition of our justification : and at the great day, Christians 
shall be acquitted or condemned according as in this world they 
1 1 John i. 7. "1 Cor. vii. 19. * Rom. iii. 27. * 1 Cor. xiii. 2. 



have fulfilled or neglected the conditions of the gospel : the de- 
cretory sentence of absolution that shall then be passed upon 
good men, shall be nothing but a public and solemn declaration 
of that private sentence of justification that was passed upon 
them in this world : so that upon the same terms that they are 
justified now, they shall be justified and acquitted then; and upon 
the same terms that they shall then be judged and acquitted, they 
are justified now, viz. an hearty belief, and a sincere obedience 
to the gospel. From all which, I hope, it is evident, that when 
St. Paul denies men to be justified by the works of the law ; by 
works, he either means works done before conversion, and by the 
strength of men's natural powers, such as enabled them to pride 
and boast themselves, and lay claim to merit, or (which most- 
what includes the other) the works of the Mosaic law. And 
indeed, though the controversies on foot in those times did not 
plainly determine his reasonings that way, yet the considerations 
which we have now suggested, sufficiently shew that they could 
not be meant of any other sense. 

XVI. Oonsect. 2. That the doctrines of St. Paul and St. 
James about justification are fairly consistent with each other. 
For seeing St. Paul's design in excluding works from justifica- 
tion, was only to deny the works of the Jewish law, or those 
that were meritorious, as being wrought by our own strength ; 
and in asserting, that, in opposition to such works, we are "justi- 
fied by faith he meant no more, than that either we are justified 
in an evangelical way, or more particularly by faith intended a 
practical belief, including evangelical obedience : and seeing, on 
the other hand, St. James, in affirming " that we are justified by 
works, and not by faith only by works, means no more than 
evangelical obedience, in opposition to a naked and an empty 
faith ; these two are so far from quarrelling, that they mutually 
embrace each other, and both, in the main, pursue the same de- 
sign : and, indeed, if any disagreement seem between them, it is 
most reasonable that St. Paul should be expounded by St. James, 
not only because his propositions are so express and positive, 
and not justly liable to ambiguity, but because he wrote some 
competent time after the other ; and, consequently, as he perfectly 
understood his meaning, so he was capable to countermine those 
ill principles which some men had built upon St. Paul's assertions.. 
For it is evident, from several passages in St. Paul's epistles, 

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that even then many began to mistake his doctrine, and from 
his assertions about justification by faith and not by works, to 
infer propositions that might serve the purposes of a bad life : 
" they slanderously reported him to say, that we might do evil, 
that good might come ; that we might continue in sin, that the 
grace of the gospel might the more abound :" z they thought, that 
so long as they did but believe the gospel in the naked notion 
and speculation of it, it was enough to recommend them to the 
favour of God, and to serve all the purposes of justification and 
salvation, however they shaped and steered their lives. Against 
these men, it is beyond all question plain that St. James levels 
his epistle, to batter down the growing doctrines of libertinism 
# and profaneness ; to shew the insufficiency of a naked faith and 
an empty profession of religion, that it is not enough to recom- 
mend, us to the divine acceptance, and to justify us in the sight 
of heaven, barely to believe the gospel,* unless we really obey 
and practise it; that a faith destitute of this evangelical obedi- 
ence is fruitless and unprofitable to salvation ; that it is by these 
works that faith must appear to be vital and sincere ; that 
not only Rahab, but Abraham, the father of the faithful, was 
justified, not by a bare belief of God's promise, but an hearty 
obedience to God's command, in the ready offer of his son, 
whereby it appears that his faith and obedience did cooperate 
and conspire together, to render him capable of God's favour 
and approbation ; and that " herein the Scripture was fulfilled, 
which saith, that Abraham believed God, and it was imputed 
to him for righteousness," (whence, by the way, nothing can be 
clearer, than that both these apostles intend the same thing by 
faith, in the case of Abraham's justification, and its being 
" imputed to him for righteousness," viz. a practical belief and 
obedience to the commands of God,) that it follows hence, that 
faith is not of itself sufficient to justify and make us acceptable 
to God, unless a proportionable obedience be joined with it ; 
without which, faith serves no more to these ends and pur- 
poses, than a body, destitute of the soul to animate and enliven 
it, is capable to exercise the functions and offices of the na- 
tural life : his meaning, in short, being nothing else, than that 
good works, or evangelical obedience, is, according to the divine 

* Rom. iii. 8. vi. 1. * Vid. chap. ii. 14, 15, ct seq. 


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appointment, the condition of the gospel-covenant, without 
which it is in vain for any to hope for that pardon which 
Christ hath purchased, and the favour of God, which is ne- 
cessary to eternal life. 

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The sacred history sparing in the acts of the succeeding apostles, and why. St Andrew's 
birth-place, kindred, and way of life. John the Baptist's ministry and discipline. 
St Andrew educated under his institution. His coming to Christ, and call to be 
a disciple. His election to the apostolate. The province assigned for his ministry. 
In what places he chiefly preached. His barbarous usage at Sinope. His planting 
Christianity at Byzantium, and ordaining Stachys bishop there. His travels in 
Greece, and preaching at Patrae in Achaia. His arraignment before the proconsul, and 
resolute defence of the Christian religion. The proconsul's displeasure against him, 
whence. An account of his martyrdom. His preparatory sufferings, and crucifixion. 
On what kind of cross he suffered. The miracles reported to be done by his body. 
Its translation to Constantinople. The great encomium given of him by one of the 

The sacred story, which has hitherto been very large and copious 
in describing the acts of the two first apostles, is henceforward 
very sparing in its accounts, giving us only now and then a few 
oblique and accidental remarks concerning the rest, and some of 
them no farther mentioned than the mere recording of their 
names. For what reasons it pleased the divine wisdom and 
providence, that no more of their acts should be consigned to 
writing by the penmen of the holy story, is to us unknown. 
Probably it might be thought convenient, that no more account 
should be given of the first plantations of Christianity in the 
world, than what concerned Judea and the neighbour-countries, 
at least the most eminent places of the Roman empire, that so 
the truth of the prophetical predictions might appear, which had 
foretold, that the u law of the Messiah should come forth from 
Sion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem." Besides, that 
a particular relation of the acts of so many apostles, done in so 
many several countries, might have swelled the holy volumes into 
too great a bulk, and rendered them less serviceable and accom- 
modate to the ordinary use of Christians. Among the apostles 
that succeed, we first take notice of St. Andrew. He was born 

z 2 



at Bethsaida, a city of Galilee, standing upon the banks of the 
lake of Gennesareth, son to John or J onas, a fisherman of that 
town ; brother be was to Simon Peter, but whether elder or 
younger the ancients do not clearly decide, though the major 
part intimate him to have been the younger brother, there being 
only the single authority of Epiphanius on the other side, as we 
have formerly noted. He was brought up to his fathers trade, 
whereat he laboured, till our Lord called him from catching 
fish to be a " fisher of men,'" for which he was fitted by some 
preparatory institutions, even before his coming unto Christ. 

II. John the Baptist was lately risen in the Jewish church: a 
person whom for the efficacy and impartiality of his doctrine, 
and the extraordinary strictness and austerities of his life, the 
Jews generally had in great veneration. He trained up his pro- 
selytes under the discipline of repentance ; and by urging upon 
them a severe change and reformation of life, prepared them to 
entertain the doctrine of the Messiah, whose approach, he told 
them, was now near at hand; representing to them the greatness 
of his person, and the importance of the design that he was come 
upon. Beside the multitudes that promiscuously flocked to the 
Baptist's discourses, he had, according to the manner of the 
Jewish masters, some peculiar and select disciples, who more 
constantly attended upon his lectures, and for the most part 
waited upon his person. In the number of these was our 
apostle, who was then with him about Jordan, when our 
Saviour, who some time since had been baptized, came that 
way: upon whose approach the Baptist told them, that this 
was the Messiah, the great person whom he had so often spoken 
of, to usher in whose appearing his whole ministry was but sub- 
servient ; that this was the Lamb of God, the true sacrifice that 
was to expiate the sins of mankind. Upon this testimony, 
Andrew and another disciple (probably St. John) follow our 
Saviour to the place of his abode : upon which account he is 
generally by the fathers and ancient writers styled irp&ro- 
/c\r)To<;* or the " first called disciple :" though in a strict sense he 
was not so ; for though he was the first of the disciples that 
came to Christ, yet was he not called till afterwards. After 
some converse with him, Andrew goes to acquaint his brother 
Simon, and both together came to Christ. Long they stayed not 

a Menaeon Grgecor. Wp« Noc/aty. sub. lit. o'. 

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with him, but returned to their own home, and to the exercise 
of their calling ; wherein they were employed, when somewhat 
more than a year after, our Lord, passing through Galilee, found 
them fishing upon the sea of Tiberias, where he fully satisfied 
them of the greatness and divinity of his person by the con- 
victive evidence of that miraculous draught of fishes, which they 
took at his command. And now he told them, he had other 
work for them to do ; that they should no longer deal in fish, 
but with men, whom they should catch with the efficacy and 
influence of that doctrine that he was come to deliver to the 
world ; commanding them to follow him, as his immediate 
disciples and attendants, who accordingly left all and followed 
him. Shortly after, St. Andrew, together with the rest, was 
called to the office and honour of the apostolate, made choice of 
to be one of those that were to be Christ's immediate vicegerents 
for planting and propagating the Christian church. Little else is 
particularly recorded of him in the sacred story, being compre- 
hended in the general account of the rest of the apostles. 

III. After our Lord's ascension into heaven, and that the Holy 
Ghost had in its miraculous powers been plentifully shed upon 
the apostles, to fit them for the great errand they were to go 
upon, to root out profaneness and idolatry, and to subdue the 
world to the doctrine of the gospel, it is generally affirmed by 
the ancients, that the apostles agreed among themselves, (by 
lot, say some, b ) probably not without the special guidance and 
direction of the Holy Ghost, what parts of the world they should 
severally take. In this division, St. Andrew had Scythia and 
the neighbouring countries primarily allotted him for his pro- 
vince. 6 First, then, he travelled through Cappadocia, Galatia, and 
Bithynia, and instructed them in the faith of Christ ; passing all 
along the Euxine sea, (formerly called Axenus, d from the bar- 
barous and inhospitable temper of the people thereabouts, who 
were wont to sacrifice strangers, and of their skulls to make cups 
to drink in at their feasts and banquets,) and so into the solitudes 
of Scythia. An ancient author 6 (though whence deriving his 

b Socr. Hist Eccl. L i. c. 19. 

c Orig. in Gen. L iii. ap. Euseb. Hist EccL 1. iii c. 1. Niceph. Hist EccL L ii. c. 39. 
d Strab. Geogr. 1. vii. p. 206. 

e Commentar. de S. Andr. Apost et T/wro«A^ry, extat Graec in Menaeo Graecor. 
^fi4p. A.', rov Nof p&p. sub lit r. 



intelligence I know not) gives us a more particular account of 
his travels and transactions in these parts. He tells us, that he 
first came to Amynsus, where being entertained by a Jew, he 
went into the synagogue, discoursed to them concerning Christ, 
and from the prophecies of the Old Testament proved him to be 
the Messiah, and the Saviour of the world. Having here con- 
verted and baptized many, ordered their public meeting, and 
ordained them priests, he went next to Trapezus, a maritime 
city upon the Euxine sea, whence, after many other places, he 
came to Nice, where he stayed two years, preaching and working 
miracles with great success; thence to Nicomedia, and so to 
Chalcedon ; whence, sailing through the Propontis, he came by 
the Euxine sea to Heraclea, and from thence to Amastris : in all 
which places he met with great difficulties and discouragements, 
but overcame all with an invincible patience and resolution. He 
next came to Sinope, a city situate upon the same sea, a place 
famous both for the birth and burial of the great king Mithridates; 
here, as my author reports from the ancients, (o>9 <f>aal \6yot 
7ra\aio\) he met with his brother Peter, with whom he stayed 
a considerable time at this place : as a monument whereof he 
tells us, that the chairs made of white stone, wherein they were 
wont to sit while they taught the people, were still extant, and 
commonly shewed in his time. The inhabitants of this city 
were mostly Jews, who partly through zeal for their religion, 
partly through the barbarousness of their manners, were quickly 
exasperated against the apostle, and contriving together at- 
tempted to burn the house wherein he sojourned : however, they 
treated him with all the instances of savage cruelty, throwing 
him to the ground, stamping upon him with their feet, pulling 
and dragging him from place to place ; some beating him with 
clubs, others pelting him with stones, and some, the better to 
satisfy their revenge, biting off his flesh with their teeth ; till 
apprehending they had fully despatched him, they cast him out 
of the city. But he miraculously recovered, and publicly re- 
turned into the city, whereby, and by some other miracles which 
he wrought amongst them, he reduced many to a better mind, 
converting them to the faith. Departing hence, he went again 
to Amynsus, and then to Trapezus ; thence to Neocsesarea, and 
to Samosata, (the birth-place of the witty but impious Lucian,) 
where having baffled the acute and wise philosophers, he pur- 

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posed to return to Jerusalem : whence, after some time, he betook 
himself to his former provinces, travelling to the country of the 
Abasgi, where, at Sebastople, situate upon the eastern shore of 
the Euxine sea, between the influx of the rivers Phasis and 
Apsarus, he successfully preached the gospel to the inhabitants 
of that city. Hence he removed into the country of the Zecchi, 
and the Bosphorani, part of the Asiatic Scythia, or Sarmatia; 
but finding the inhabitants very barbarous and intractable, he 
stayed not long among them, only at Cherson, or Chersonesus, a 
great and populous city within the Bosphorus, he continued some 
time, instructing and confirming them in the faith. Hence 
taking ship, he sailed across the sea to Sinope, situate in Paphla- 
gonia, the royal seat of the great king Mithridates, to encourage 
and confirm the churches which he had lately planted in those 
parts ; and here he ordained Philologus, formerly one of St. Paul's 
disciples, bishop of this city. 

IV. Hence he came to Byzantium, (since called Constanti- 
nople,) where he instructed them in the knowledge of the Chris- 
tian religion, founded a church for divine worship, and ordained 
Stachys (whom St. Paul calls his beloved Stachys) first bishop 
of that place. Baronius/ indeed, is unwilling to believe this, 
desirous to engross the honour of it to St. Peter, whom he will 
have to have been the first planter of Christianity in these parts. 
But besides that Baronius's authority is very slight and insigni- 
ficant in this case, (as we have before noted in St. Peter's Life,) 
this matter is expressly asserted, not only by NicephorusCallistus, 8 
but by another Nicephorus, h patriarch of Constantinople, and who 
therefore may be presumed knowing in his predecessors in that see. 
Banished out of the city by him, who at that time usurped the 
government, he fled to Argyropolis, a place near at hand, where 
he preached the gospel for two years together with good success, 
converting great numbers to the faith. After this, he travelled 
over Thrace, Macedonia, Thessaly, Achaia; Nazianzen adds 
Epyrus : 1 in all which places for many years he preached and 
propagated Christianity, and confirmed the doctrine that he 
taught with great signs and miracles : at last he came to Patrse, 

f Ad Ann. 44. n. 31. vid. ad Ann. 314. n. 94, 95, etc 
* Hist Eccl. 1. ii. c. 39. L y. c. 6. 

h Niceph. C. P. in Chronogr. a Seal edit. p. 309. vid. etiara Msen. Gr«c. ubi supr. 
1 Orat. xxv. p. 438. 



a city of Achaia, where he gave his last and great testimony to 
it ; I mean, laid down his own life to ratify and ensure it : in 
describing whose martyrdom, we shall for the main follow the 
account that is given us in the Acts of his Passion, k pretended 
to have been written by the presbyters and deacons of Achaia, 
present at his martyrdom ; which though I dare not, with some, 
assert to be the genuine work of those persons, yet can it not be 
denied to be of considerable antiquity, being mentioned by 
Philastrius, 1 who flourished anno 380, and were no doubt written 
long before his time. The sum of it is this. 

V. jEgeas, proconsul of Achaia, came at this time to Patrae, 
where observing that multitudes were fallen off from paganism, 
and had embraced Christianity, he endeavoured, by all arts both 
of favour and cruelty, to reduce the people to their old idolatries. 
To him the apostle resolutely makes his address, calmly puts him 
in mind, that he, being but a judge of men, should own and revere 
him, who was the supreme and impartial judge of all ; that he 
should give him that divine honour which was due to him, and 
leave off the impieties of his false heathen worship. The pro- 
consul derided him, as an innovator in religion, a propagator of 
that superstition whose author the Jews had infamously put to 
death upon a cross. Hereat the apostle took occasion to dis- 
course to him of the infinite love and kindness of our Lord, who 
came into the world to purchase the salvation of mankind, and 
for that end did not disdain to die upon the cross. To whom the 
proconsul answered, that he might persuade them so that would 
believe him ; for his part, if he did not comply with him in doing 
sacrifice to the gods, he would cause him to suffer upon that cross 
which he had so much extolled and magnified. St. Andrew re- 
plied, that he did sacrifice every day to God, the only true and 
omnipotent Being, not with fumes and bloody offerings, but in the 
sacrifice of the immaculate Lamb of God. The issue was, the 
apostle was committed to prison ; whereat the people were so en- 
raged, that it had broken out into a mutiny, had not the apostle 
restrained them, persuading them to imitate the mildness and 
patience of our meek humble Saviour, and not to hinder him 
from that crown of martyrdom that now waited for him. 

VI. The next day he was again brought before the proconsul, 
who persuaded him that he would not foolishly destroy himself, 

k Extant apud Sur. ad diem 30 Novemb. 1 De Hares, c. 89. 

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but live and enjoy with him the pleasures of this life. The 
apostle told him, that he should have with him eternal joys, if, 
renouncing his execrable idolatries, he would heartily entertain 
Christianity, which he had hitherto so successfully preached 
amongst them. That, answered the proconsul, is the very reason 
why I am so earnest with you to sacrifice to the gods, that those 
whom you have every where seduced may, by your example, be 
brought to return back to that ancient religion which they have 
forsaken ; otherwise I will cause you, with exquisite tortures, to 
be crucified. The apostle replied, that now he saw it was in vain 
any longer to deal with him, a person incapable of sober counsels, 
and hardened in his own blindness and folly; that, as for himself, 
he might do his worst, and if he had one torment greater than 
another, he might heap that upon him : the greater constancy he 
shewed in his sufferings for Christ, the more acceptable he should 
be to his Lord and Master. iEgeas could now hold no longer, 
but passed the sentence of death upon him ; and Nicephorus gives 
us some more particular account of the proconsul's displeasure and 
rage against him ; m which was, that, amongst others, he had con- 
verted his wife Maximilla, and his brother Stratocles, to the 
Christian faith, having cured them of desperate distempers that 
had seized upon them. 

VII. The proconsul first commanded him to be scourged, seven 
lictors successively whipping his naked body ; and seeing his in- 
vincible patience and constancy, commanded him to be crucified, 
but not to be fastened to the cross with nails but cords, that so 
his death might be more lingering and tedious. As he was led 
to execution, to which he went with a cheerful and composed 
mind, the people cried out, that he was an innocent and good 
man, and unjustly condemned to die." Being come within sight 
of the cross, he saluted it with this kind of address : that he had 
long desired and expected this happy hour, that the cross had 
been consecrated by the body of Christ hanging on it, and adorned 
with his members as with so many inestimable jewels ; that he 
came joyful and triumphing to it, that it might receive him as a 
disciple and follower of him who once hung upon it, and be the 
means to carry him safe unto his Master, having been the instru- 

m Lib. ii. c 39. vid. Menseon Graec. ad diem 30 Novemb. ubi eadem habent. 
» Bern. Sermon, ii. de S. Andr. p. 327. 



ment upon wbich bis Master had redeemed him. Having prayed, 
and exhorted the people to constancy and perseverance in that 
religion which he had delivered to them, he was fastened to the 
cross, whereon he hung two days, teaching and instructing the 
people all the time ; and when great importunities in the mean 
while were used to the proconsul to spare his life, he earnestly 
begged of our Lord, that he might at this time depart, and seal 
the truth of his religion with his blood. God heard his prayer, 
and he immediately expired, on the last of November, though in 
what year no certain account can be recovered. 

VII. There seems to have been something peculiar in that 
cross that was the instrument of his martyrdom, commonly 
affirmed to have been a cross decussate, two pieces of timber 
crossing each other in the middle, in the form of the letter X, 
hence usually known by the name of St. Andrew's cross ; though 
there want not those, 0 who affirm him to have been crucified 
upon an olive tree. His body being taken down and embalmed, 
was decently and honourably interred by Maximilla, a lady of 
great quality and estate, and whom Nicephorus, I know not upon 
what ground, makes wife to the proconsul. As for that report 
of Gregory, 1 * bishop of Tours, that on the anniversary day of his 
martyrdom, there was wont to flow from St. Andrew's tomb a 
most fragrant and precious oil, which, according to its quantity, 
denoted the scarceness or plenty of the following year ; and that 
the sick being anointed with this oil, were restored to their 
former health ; I leave to the reader's discretion, to believe what 
he please of it : for my part, if any ground of truth in the story, 
I believe it no more, than that it was an exhalation and sweating 
forth at some times of those rich costly perfumes and ointments 
wherewith his body was embalmed after his crucifixion. Though 
I must confess this conjecture to be impossible, if it be true what 
my author adds, that some years the oil burst out in such plenty, 
that the stream arose to the middle of the church. His body 
was afterwards, by Constantine the Great, q solemnly removed to 
Constantinople, and buried in the great church which he had 
built to the honour of the apostles : which being taken down 

° Chrysost in S. Andr. Serm. cxxxiii. Hippol. Comment MS. Gr. ap. Bar. Not in 
Martyr, ad 30 Novemb. p De Glor. Martyr. L i. c 31. 

<i Hieron. adv. Vigil yoL iv. par. ii. p. 283. 

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some hundred years after by Justinian the emperor, r in order to 
its reparation, the body was found in a wooden coffin, and again 
reposed in its proper place. 

IX. I shall conclude the history of this apostle with that en- 
comiastic character which one of the ancients gives of him. 8 " St. 
Andrew was the first-born of the apostolic choir, the main and 
prime pillar of the church, a rock before the rock, (6 irpb Ilerpov 
Tlerpo^) c the foundation of that foundation, 1 the first-fruits of 
the beginning, a caller of others before he was called himself ; he 
preached that gospel that was not yet believed or entertained ; re- 
vealed and made known that life to his brother, which he had not 
yet perfectly learned himself. So great treasures did that one 
question bring him, 6 Master, where dwellest thou? 1 which he soon 
perceived by the answer given him, and which he deeply pondered 
in his mind, ' Come and see. 1 How art thou become a prophet ? 
whence thus divinely skilful I what is it that thou thus soundest 
in Peters ears ? [ ' We have found him, 1 &c] why dost thou 
attempt to compass him, whom thou canst not comprehend ? how 
can he be found, who is omnipresent ? But he knew well what 
he said : We have found him, whom Adam lost, whom Eve in- 
jured, whom the clouds of sin have hidden from us, and whom 
our transgressions had hitherto made a stranger to us, 11 &c. So 
that of all our Lord's apostles, St. Andrew had thus far the 
honour to be the first preacher of the gospel. 

r Procop. de aedi£ Justin. L i. 

■ Hesych. Presb. Hierosolym. apud Phot cod. CCLXIX. col. 1488. 

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St James, why surnamed the Great His country and kindred. His alliance to Christ. 
His trade and way of life. Our Lord brought up to a manual trade. The quick 
repartee of a Christian schoolmaster to Libanius. His being called to be a disciple, 
and great readiness to follow Christ His election to the apostolic office, and peculiar 
favours from Christ Why our Lord chose some few of the apostles to be witnesses 
of the more private passages of his life. The imposition of a new name at his election 
to the apostleship. He and his brother styled Boanerges, and why. The zeal and 
activity of their temper. Their ambition to sit on Christ's right and left hand in his 
kingdom, and confident promise of suffering. This ill resented by the rest Our 
Lord's discourse concerning the nature of the evangelical state. Where he preached 
after Christ's ascension. The story of his going into Spain exploded. Herod Agrippa 
in favour with the Roman emperors. The character of his temper. His zeal for the 
law of Moses. His condemning St. James to death. The sudden conversion of his 
accuser, as he was led to martyrdom. Their being beheaded. The divine justice 
that pursued Herod. His grandeur and arrogance at Ceesarea. His miserable death. 
The story of the translation of St. James's corpse to Compostella in Spain, and the 
miracles said to be done there. 

St. J ames, surnamed the Great, either because of his age, being 
much older than the other, or for some peculiar honours and 
favours which our Lord conferred upon him, was by country a 
Galilean; born, probably, either at Capernaum or Bethsaida, being 
one of Simon Peter's partners in the trade of fishing. He was the 
son of Zebdai, or Zebedee,* (and probably the same whom the 
Jews mention in their Talmud, nnt "in mpy* "rabbi James, or 
Jacob, the son of Zebedee,") a fisherman, and the many servants 
which he kept for that employment (a circumstance not taken 
notice of in any other) speak him a man of some more consider- 
able note in that trade and way of life ; eWtr^o? r&v iv TaXi- 
\ala fieroLKovvrcov avSp&v, as Nicephorus notes. b His mother's 
name was Mary, surnamed Salome, called first Taviphilia, says 
an ancient Arabic writer, 0 the daughter, as is most probable, not 

a Mark i. 20. 

c Apud Kirsten. de vit. quat. Evangel, p. 47. 

Hist. Eccl. 1. ii. c. 3. 


wife, of Cleopas, sister to Mary the mother of our Lord ; d not her 
own sister properly so called, (the blessed Virgin being in all 
likelihood an only daughter,) but cousin-german, styled her 
sister, according to the mode and custom of the J ews, who were 
wont to call all such near relations by the names of brothers and 
sisters ; and in- this respect he had the honour of a near relation 
to our Lord himself. His education was in the trade of fishing : 
no employment is base, that is honest and industrious, nor can 
it be thought mean and dishonourable to him, when it is re- 
membered that our Lord himself, the Son of God, stooped so 
low, as not only to become the [reputed] son of a carpenter, but, 
during the retirements of his private life, to work himself at his 
father's trade ; not devoting himself merely to contemplations, 
nor withdrawing from all useful society with the world, and 
hiding himself in the solitudes of an anchoret, but busying 
himself in an active course of life, working at the trade of a 
carpenter, 6 and particularly (as one of the ancients tells us f ) 
making ploughs and yokes. And this the sacred history does 
not only plainly intimate, but it is generally asserted by the 
ancient writers of the church ; R a thing so notorious, that the 
heathens used to object it as a reproach to Christianity : thence 
that smart and acute repartee which a Christian schoolmaster 
made to Libanius, the famous orator, at Antioch, h when upon 
Julian's expedition into Persia, {where he was killed,) he asked 
in scorn, what the carpenter's son was now a doing ? the Chris- 
tian replied, with salt enough, that the great artificer of the 
world, whom he scoffingly called the carpenter's son, was making 
a coffin for his master Julian; the news of whose death was 
brought soon after. But this only by the way. 

II. St. James applied himself to his father's trade, not dis- 
couraged with the meanness, not sinking under the difficulties 
of it ; and, as usually the blessings of heaven meet men in the 
way of an honest and industrious diligence, it was in the exer- 
cise of this calling, when our Saviour, passing by the sea of 
Galilee, saw him and his brother in the ship, and called them 
to be his disciples. A divine power went along with the word, 

d John xix. 25. e Mark vi. 3. Matt xiii. 55. 

f Just Mart dial cum Tryph. s. 88. 

* Bas. Constit Monast c. 4. Vid. Hilar, in Matt Can. 4. 

h Theodor. Hist EccL 1. iii. c 18. 

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which they no sooner heard, but cheerfully complied with it, 
immediately leaving all to follow him. They did not stay to 
dispute his commands, to argue the probability of his promise, so- 
licitously to inquire into the minute consequences of the under- 
taking, what troubles and hazards might attend this new em- 
ployment, but readily delivered up themselves to whatever 
services he should appoint them. And the cheerfulness of their 
obedience is yet farther considerable, that they left their aged 
father in the ship behind them. For elsewhere we find others 
excusing themselves from an immediate attendance upon Christ,* 
upon pretence that they must go bury their father, or take their 
leave of their kindred at home. No such slight and trivial pre- 
tences could stop the resolution of our apostles, who broke 
through these considerations, and quitted their present interests 
and relations. Say not it was unnaturally done of them to 
desert their father, an aged person, and in some measure unable 
to help himself. For, besides that they left servants with him 
to attend him, it is not cruelty to our earthly, but obedience to 
our heavenly Father, to leave the one, that we may comply with 
the call and summons of the other. It was the triumph of 
Abraham^ faith, when God called him to leave his kindred and 
his father 1 ® house, to go out and sojourn in a foreign country, 
not knowing whither he went. Nor can we doubt but that 
Zebedee himself would have gone along with them, had not his 
age given him a supersedeas from such an active and ambulatory 
course of life. But though they left him at this time, it is very 
reasonable to suppose, that they took care to instruct him in 
the doctrine of the Messiah, and to acquaint him with the glad 
tidings of salvation ; especially since we find their mother Salome 
so hearty a friend to, so constant a follower of our Saviour : but 
this (if we may believe the account which one gives of it k ) was 
after her husband's decease, who probably lived not long after, 
dying before the time of our Saviour's passion. 

III. It was not long after this, that he was called from the 
station of an ordinary disciple to the apostolical office ; and not 
only so, but honoured with some peculiar acts of favour beyond 
most of the apostles, being one of the three whom our Lord 
usually made choice of to admit to the more intimate trans- 
actions of his life, from which the others were excluded. 

1 Luke ix. 59 — 61. k Zachar. ChrysopoL Comm. in Concord. Evang. p. 111. 

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Tims, with Peter and his brother John, he was taken to the 
miraculous raising of Jairus^ daughter; admitted to Christ's 
glorious transfiguration upon the mount, and the discourses 
that there passed between him and the two great ministers of 
heaven ; taken along with him into the garden, to be a spectator 
of those bitter agonies which the holy Jesus was to undergo, 
as the preparatory sufferings to his passion. What were the 
reasons of our Lord's admitting these three apostles to these 
more special acts of favour than the rest, is not easy to de- 
termine : though surely our Lord, who governed all his actions 
by principles of the highest prudence and reason, did it for wise 
and proper ends ; whether it was that he designed these three to 
be more solemn and peculiar witnesses of some particular passages 
of his life than the other apostles, or that they would be more 
eminently useful and serviceable in some parts of the apostolic 
office, or that hereby he would the better prepare and encourage 
them against suffering, as intending them for some more eminent 
kinds of martyrdom or suffering than the rest were to undergo. 

IV. Nor was it the least instance of that particular honour 
which our Lord conferred upon these three apostles, that at his 
calling them to the apostolate, he gave them the addition of a 
new name and title. A thing not unusual of old, for God to im- 
pose a new name upon persons, when designing them for some 
great and peculiar services and employments ; thus he did to 
Abraham and Jacob : nay, the thing was customary among the 
Gentiles, as, had we no other instances, might appear from those 
which the scripture gives us, of Pharaoh's giving a new name to 
Joseph when advancing him to be viceroy of Egypt, Nebuchad- 
nezzar to Daniel, &c. Thus did our Lord in the election of these 
three apostles: Simon he surnamed Peter; James the son of 
Zebedee, and John his brother, he surnamed Boanerges ; which 
is, the sons of thunder. 1 What our Lord particularly intended 
in this title, is easier to conjecture than certainly to determine ; 
some think it was given them upon the account of their being 
present in the mount, when a voice came out of the cloud, and 
said, " This is my beloved Son," m &c. The like whereto when 
the people heard at another time, they cried out, that it thun- 

1 Mark iii. 16, 17. Hieron. Comm. in Marc c. 3. Gaudent. Brix. Tract, i. de Lect. 
Evang. seu, in ordine, viii. 
m Matt. xvii. 5. 



dered." But besides that this account is in itself very slender 
and inconsiderable, if so, then the title must equally have belonged 
to Peter, who was then present with them. Others think it was 
upon the account of their loud, bold, and resolute preaching* 
Christianity to the world ;° fearing no threatenings, daunted 
with no oppositions, but going on to thunder in the ears of the 
secure sleepy world ; rousing and awakening the consciences of 
men with the earnestness and vehemency of their preaching, as 
thunder, which is called God's voice, powerfully shakes the 
natural world, and breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon : or, 
if it relate to the doctrines they delivered, it may signify their 
teaching the great mysteries and speculations of the gospel in a 
profounder strain than the rest ; wov? Be ovo fidget to £9 

rod ZefieBalov, a>9 fieyaXo/cijpvKai; /cal BeXoyifccordTovs, as 
Theophylact notes ; p which how true it might be of our St. 
James, the scripture is wholly silent; but was certainly verified of 
his brother J ohn, whose gospel is so full of the more sublime notions 
and mysteries of the gospel concerning Christ's deity, eternal 
preexistence, &c, that he is generally affirmed by the ancients, 
not so much to speak, as thunder. Probably the expression may 
denote no more, than that in general they were to be prime and 
eminent ministers in this new scene and state of things ; the in- 
troducing of the gospel, or evangelical dispensation, being called 
" a voice shaking the heavens and the earth ;" q and so is exactly 
correspondent to the native importance of the word signifying 
an earthquake/ or a vehement commotion that makes a noise 
like to thunder. 

V. However it was, our Lord, I doubt not, herein had respect 
to the furious and resolute disposition of those two brothers, 
who seem to have been of a more fierce and fiery temper than 
the rest of the apostles; whereof we have this memorable instance: 
our Lord being resolved upon his journey to Jerusalem, sent 
some of his disciples as harbingers to prepare his way, who 
coming to a village of Samaria, were uncivilly rejected, and re- 
fused entertainment ; probably, because of that old and inveterate 
quarrel that was between the Samaritans and the Jews, and 

■ John xii. 29. 0 Vict. Antioch. Comment in Marc. c. 2. 

p Comm. in Marc. iii. * Heb. xii. 26. 

r Hag. ii. 7. ubi ttttHD, " tremere faciam." W") M Filii commotionis seu magnae 


more especially at, this time, because that our Saviour seemed to 
slight Mount Gerizim (where was their staple and solemn place 
of worship) by passing it by, to go worship at Jerusalem ; the 
reason, in all likelihood, why they denied him those common 
courtesies and conveniences due to all travellers. This piece of 
rudeness and inhumanity was presently so deeply resented by 
St. James and his brother, that they came to their Master, to 
know whether, as Elias did of old, they might not pray down 
fire from heaven to consume these barbarous and inhospitable 
people. 8 So apt are men for every trifle to call upon heaven, to 
minister to the extravagancies of their own impotent and unrea- 
sonable passions. But our Lord rebukes their zeal ; tells them 
they quite mistook the case ; that this was not the frame and 
temper of his disciples and followers, the nature and design of 
that evangelical dispensation that he was come to set on foot in 
the world; which was a more pure and perfect, a more mild and 
gentle institution, than what was under the Old Testament in 
the times of Moses and Elias, " the Son of man being come not 
to destroy men's lives, but to save them.*" 

VI. The holy J esus not long after set forward in his journey 
to Jerusalem in order to his crucifixion, and the better to 
prepare the minds of his apostles for his death and departure 
from them, he told them what he was to suffer, and yet that 
after all he should rise again. They, whose minds were yet big 
with expectations of a temporal power and monarchy, understood 
not well the meaning of his discourses to them. However, 
St. James and his brother, supposing the resurrection that he 
spoke of would be the time when his power and greatness would 
commence, prompted their mother Salome to put up a petition 
for them.* She, presuming probably on her relation to Christ, 
and knowing that our Saviour had promised his apostles, " that 
when he was come into his kingdom, they should sit upon twelve 
thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel," and that he already 
honoured her two sons with an intimate familiarity, after leave 
modestly asked for her address, begged of him, that when he 
took possession of his kingdom, her two sons, James and John, 
might have the principal places of honour and dignity next to 
his own person, the one sitting on his right hand, and the other 
on his left, as the heads of Judah and Joseph had the first 

• Luke ix. 54. * Matt xx; 20. 

2 a 

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places among the rulers of the tribes in the Jewish nation. Our 
Lord, directing his discourse to the two apostles, at whose sug- 
gestion he knew their mother had made this address, told them, 
they quite mistook the nature of his kingdom, which consisted 
not in external grandeur and sovereignty, but in an inward life 
and power, wherein the highest place would be to take the 
greatest pains, and to undergo the heaviest troubles and sufferings; 
that they should do well to consider, whether they were able to 
endure what he was to undergo, to drink of that bitter cup 
which he was to drink of, and to go through that baptism 
wherein he was shortly to be baptized in his own blood. Our 
apostles were not yet cured of their ambitious humour, but 
either not understanding the force of our Saviours reasonings, or 
too confidently presuming upon their own strength, answered, 
that they could do all this. But he, the goodness of whose 
nature ever made him put the best and most candid interpreta- 
tion upon men's words and actions, yea, even those of his greatest 
enemies, did not take the advantage of their hasty and inconsi- 
derate reply, to treat them with sharp and quick reproofs, but 
mildly owning their forwardness to suffer, told them, that as for 
sufferings, they should indeed suffer as well as he, (and so we 
accordingly find they did, St. James after all dying a violent 
death, St. John enduring great miseries and torments, and, might 
we believe Chrysostom and Theophylact, martyrdom itself, 
though others nearer to those times assure us he died a natural 
death,) but, for any peculiar honour or dignity, he would not, by 
an absolute and peremptory favour of his own, dispose it any 
otherwise than according to those rules and instructions which 
he had received of his Father. The rest of the apostles were 
offended with this ambitious request of the sons of Zebedee; but 
our Lord, to calm their passions, discoursed to them of the 
nature of the evangelic state, that it was not here, as in the 
kingdoms and signories of this world, where the great ones 
receive homage and fealty from those that are under them, but 
that in his service humility was the way to honour; that whoever 
took most pains, and did most good, would be the greatest 
person, preeminence being here to be measured by industry and 
diligence, and a ready condescension to the meanest offices that 
might be subservient to the souls of men ; and that this was no 
more than what he sufficiently taught them by his own example ; 

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being come into the world, not to be served himself with any 
pompous circumstances of state and splendour, but to serve 
others, and to lay down his life for the redemption of mankind: 
with which discourse the storm blew over, and their exorbitant 
passions began on all hands to be allayed and pacified. 

VII. What became of St. James after our Saviour's ascension 
we have no certain account, either from sacred or ecclesiastical 
stories. Sophronius tells us, u that he preached to the dispersed 
Jews; which surely he means of that dispersion that was made 
of the Jewish converts after the death of Stephen. The Spanish 
writers generally contend, that having preached the gospel up 
and down Judea and Samaria, after the death of Stephen, he 
came to these western parts, and particularly into Spain, (some 
add Britain and Ireland/) where he planted Christianity, and 
appointed some select disciples to perfect what he had begun, 
and then returned back to Jerusalem. Of this there are no 
footsteps in any ancient writers earlier than the middle ages of 
the church, when it is mentioned by Isidore/ the Breviary of 
Toledo, 8 and Arabic book of Anastasius, 8 patriarch of Antioch, 
concerning the passions of the martyrs, and some others after 
them. Nay, Baronius himself, b though endeavouring to render 
the account as smooth and plausible as he could, and to 
remove what objections lay against it, yet after all confesses, 
he did it only to shew that the thing was not impossible, nor to 
be accounted such a monstrous and extravagant fable as some 
men made it to be, as indeed elsewhere he plainly and peremp- 
torily denies and disproves it. c He could not but see, that the 
shortness of this apostle's life, the apostles continuing all in one 
entire body at Jerusalem, even after the dispersing of the other 
Christians, probably not going out of the bounds of Judea for 
many years after our Lord's ascension, could not comport with 
so tedious and difficult a voyage, and the time which he must 
necessarily spend in those parts : and therefore it is safest to 

u Apud Hieron. de Script. Eccles. in Jacob. 

x Pseudo-Dextr. Chronic. Vincent Beilova. Spec. Historial. L viii. c. 7. 
y De vit et obit SS. utriusque Test. c. 72. « Brev. Tol. Instit S. Isidori. 

a Apud Marian, de adv. Jac in Hispan. c. 7. scd ex fide aliorum. 
b In Not ad MartyroL ad 25 Jul. p. 452. Vid. Orat Roder. Archiep. Tol. in Not. 
G. Loays. ad decret Gund. vol. iv. Concil. p. 548, 549. 
c Ad Ann. 816. n 69, 70. 


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confine his ministry to Judea, and the parts thereabouts, and 
to seek for him at Jerusalem, where we are sure to find him. 

VIIL Herod Agrippa, son of Aristobulus, and grandchild of 
Herod the Great, (under whom Christ was born,) had been in 
great favour with the late emperor Caligula, but much more with 
his successor Claudius, who confirmed his predecessor's grant, 
with the addition of Judea, Samaria, and Abylene, the remain- 
ing portions of his grandfather's dominions. Claudius being