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A. M. 1657. A. C. 2347 ; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 2257. A. C. 3154. GEN. CH. viii. 20. TO THE END OF CH. ix. strangled, and such as died of themselves, in which the junction be obligatory upon us now, under the dispensablood was settled,' as some will have it, or to the eating of tion of the gospel ? or whether the gospel, which is the the flesh of creatures reeking in blood, and their limbs cut law of liberty, has set us free from any such observance ? off, while they themselves were yet alive, as others imagine, and a question it is, that ought the rather to be deteris not so material here to inquire, since the former was mined, because some bave made it a matter of no small prohibited by subsequent laws, both in the Jewish and scruple to themselves, whilst others have passed it by Christian church, and the latter was a practice too ab- with neglect, as a law of temporary duration only, and horrent to human nature, one would think, to need any now quite abrogated. prohibition at all. Whether, therefore, it be blood con- That therefore the reader may, in this matter, chiefly gealed, or blood mingled in the flesh, that is here pri-judge for himself, I shall fairly state the arguments on marily intended, the injunction must at least equally ex- both sides; and, when I have done this, by a short exatend to blood simple and unmixed; nor can any inter- mination into the merits of each evidence, endeavour to pretation imaginable be more natural and obvious than convince myself and others, on which side of the questhis : “ Though I give you the flesh of every creature, tion it is that truth preponderates, and consequently, that you shall think proper to make use of for food, yet what ought to be the practice of every good Christian in I do not, at the same time, give you the blood with it. relation to this law. The blood is the life, or vehicle, or chief instrument of Those who maintain the lawfulness of eating blood, do life in every creature ; it must therefore be reserved for not deny, but that this prohibition obliged Noah and his another use, and not be eaten.'
posterity, that is, all mankind, to the time of the promulgaThis is the true sense of the prohibition, compared tion of the law; do not deny, but that, at the giving of the with those parts of the Levitical law, wherein we find it law, this prohibition was renewed, and more explicit reare-enjoined: but then the question is, whether this in- sons were given for the observation of it; nay, do not deny,
St Chrysostom, and Ludovicus de Dieu.
after laying his head upon a large stone, and cutting his throat, ? Maimonides, and our Selden de Jure Gentium. the blood fell from on high, or was poured on the ground like 3 See Lev. xvii. 12, and Acts xv. 20.
water, and sufficient evidence appeared that the creature was
dead, before it was attempted to eat it. We have seen that the “ sight of the ruins of this ancient capital of Abyssinia, we over- Abyssinians came from Palestine a very few years after this, and took three travellers driving a cow before them; they had black we are not to doubt, that they then carried with them this, with goat skins upon their shoulders, and lances and shields in their many other Jewish customs, which they have continued to this hands; in other respects they were but thinly clothed; they ap- day." —Bruce's Travels, vol. ii., p. 299. peared to be soldiers. The cow did not seem to be fatted for To corroborate the account given by Mr Bruce, in these exkilling, and it occurred to us all, that it had been stolen. This, tracts, it may be satisfactory to affix what Mr Antes has said upon however, was not our business, nor was such an occurrence at all the subject, in his observations on the manners and customs of remarkable in a country so long engaged in war. We saw that the Egyptians, p. 17. “When Mr Bruce returned from Abysour attendants attached themselves in a particular manner to the sinia, I was at Grand Cairo. I had the pleasure of his company three soldiers that were driving the cow, and held a short conver- for three months almost every day; and having, at that time, mysation with them. Soon after, we arrived at the hithermost bank self an idea of penetrating into Abyssinia, I was very inquisitive of the river, where I thought we were to pitch our tent : the about that country, on hearing many things from him which drivers suddenly tript up the cow, and gave the poor animal a seemed almost incredible to me; I heard inany eye-witnesses very rude fall upon the ground, which was but the beginning of often speak of the Abyssinians eating raw meat. I shall proceed her sufferings. One of them sat across her neck, holding down to relate one of those occurrences which Mr Pearce himself wither head by the horns, the other twisted the halter about her fore nessed. feet, while the third, who had a knife in his hand, to my great “On the 7th of February, he went out with a party of Lasta surprise, in place of taking her by the throat, got astride upon soldiers on one of their marauding expeditions, and in the course her belly, before her hind legs, and gave her a very deep wound of the day they got possession of several head of cattle, with which in the upper part of the buttock. From the time I had seen them towards evening, they made the best of their way back to the throw the beast upon the ground I had rejoiced, thinking that camp. They had then fasted for many hours, and still a consi when three people were killing a cow, they must have agreed to derable distance remained for them to travel. Under these cirsell part of her to us ; and I was much disappointed upon hearing cumstances, a soldier attached to the party, proposed cutting ou the Abyssinians say, that we were to pass the river to the other the “ ghulada” from one of the cows they were driving befor side, and not encamp where I intended. Upon my proposing them, to satisfy the cravings of their hunger. This term M they should bargain for part of the cow, my men answered, what Pearce did not at first understand, but he was not long left i they had already learned in conversation, that they were not then doubt upon the subject; for, the others having assented, they lai to kill her ; that she was not wholly theirs, and they could not hold of the animal by the horns, threw it down, and proceede sell her. This awakened my curiosity ; I let my people go for without farther ceremony to the operation. This consisted in cu ward, and staid myself, till I saw, with the utmost astonishiment, ting out two pieces of flesh from the buttock, near the tail, whic two pieces, thicker and longer than our ordinary beef steaks, cut together, Mr Pearce supposed, might weigh about a pound. out of the higher part of the buttock of the beast : how it was soon as they had taken these way, they sewed up the wound done, I cannot positively say."— Travels, vol. iii., p. 142. plastered them over with cow dung, and drove the animal forward
“We have an instance in the life of Saul, that shows the pro- while they divided among their party the still reeking steaks. pensity of the Israelites to this crime. Saul's army, after a battle, They wanted Mr Pearce to partake of this meat, raw as it can few, that is, fell voraciously upon the cattle they had taken, and from the cow, but he was too much disgusted with the scene threw them upon the ground to cut off their flesh, and eat them comply with their offer; though he declared he was so hungry raw; so that the army was defiled by eating blood, or living ani- the time, that he could without remorse have eaten raw flesh, b mals, 1 Sam. xiv. 33. To prevent this, Saul caused to be rolled the animal been killed in the ordinary way; a practice which to him a great stone, and ordered those that killed their oxen, to may here observe, he never could before be induced to ado cat their throats upon that stone. This was the only lawful way notwithstanding its being general throughout the country. I of killing animals for food; the tying of the ox, and throwing it animal, after this barbarous operation, walked somewhat lan upon the ground, was not permitted as equivalent. The Israelites but nevertheless managed to reach the camp without any ap did probably in that case, as the Abyssinians do at this day; they rent injury, and immediately after their arrival it was killed cut a part of its throat, so that blood might be seen on the ground, the Worari
, and consumed for their supper."-Salt's Foyag but nothing mortal to the animal followed from that wound; but | Abyssinia, p. 295.
A. M. 1647. A. C. 2347 ; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 2257. A. C. 3154. GEN. CH. viii. 20. TO THE END OF CH. ix. but that under the gospel it was enjoined by a very com- The place, where the question arose, was Antioch, petent authority, to some particular Christians at least, where (as Josephus tells us) there was a famous Jewish for some determinate time. But then they contend, that, university, full of proselytes of the gate, as they were during these several periods, there could be no moral called, and who, in all probability, were converted by obligation in the injunction, but that, (setting aside the the men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who were among those divine authority,)" ' neither if they did eat, were they the that were dispersed at the first persecution, which immeworse, neither if they did not eat, were they the better.' diately ensued the martyrdom of Stephen. For, if there was any moral turpitude in the act of eat- The persons who moved this question, were
some of ing blood, or things commixed with blood, how comes it the sect of the Pharisees, converted to Christianity, but to pass, say they, that, though God prohibited his own still so prejudiced in favour of their old religion, or at people the Jews, yet he suffered other nations to eato any least of the divine rite of circumcision, that they thought thing that died of itself, and consequently had the blood there was no coming to Christ without entering in at that settled in it? If? meat commendeth us to God, the same gate. Providence, which took care to restrain the Jews (for is The persons to whom the question related, were probe the God of the Jews only, is he not also of the Gen- selytes of the gate, that is, Gentiles by birth, but who tiles ?) from what was detestable to him, as well as ab- had renounced the heathen religion, as to all idolatry, horrent to human nature, would have laid the same inhi. and were thereupon permitted to live in Palestine, or bition upon all mankind; at least he would not have wherever the Jews inhabited ; and had several privileges enjoined his own people to give to a proselyte of the allowed them, upon condition that they would observe gate, or to sell to an alien, or heathen, such meat as the laws of society, and conform to certain injunctions, would necessarily ensnare them in sin,
that' Moses had prescribed them. The law, therefore, which enjoined Noah and his chil- The time when this question arose, was not long after dren to abstain from blood, must necessarily have been a the conversion of Cornelius ; so that this body of proselaw peculiar to that time only. "Cain, in the first age of lytes was, very probably, the first large number of Genthe world, had slain Abel, while there were but few per- tiles that were received into the Christian church, and cons in it: God had now destroyed all mankind except this the first time that the question was agitated, -wheeight persons; and, to prevent the fate of Abel from ther the proselytes of the gate, who, as the zealots prebefalling any of them, he forbids murder under a capital tended, could not so much as live among the Jews, withpunishment ; and to this purpose, forbids the use of out circumcision, could be allowed to be a part of the blood, as a proper guard upon human life in the infancy Christian church without it? of the world. Under the Mosaic covenant he renews this Under these circumstances the council at Jerusalem law, indeed, but then he establishes it upon another convened, and accordingly made their decree, that the foundation, and makes blood therefore prohibited, be- proselytes of the gate (for it is persons of this denomicatuse he had appointed its to be offered upon the altar, nation only which their decree concerns) · should" aband to make an atonement for men's souls; for it is the stain from the meats offered to idols, and from blood, blood,' saith he, that maketh an atonement for the soul;' and from things strangled, and from fornication ;' the and what was reserved for religious purposes, was not at very things which,12 according to the law of Moses, they that time convenient to be ate. But now that these purposes engaged themselves to abstain from, when they were first are answered, and these sacrifices are at an end, the admitted to the privilege of sojourning among the Jews. reason of our abstinence has ceased, and consequently So that, in effect, the decree did no more than declare our abstinence itself is no longer a duty.
the opinion of those who made it, to those to whom it Blood, we allow, had still something more sacred in was sent, namely, that Christianity did not alter the conit; it was a type of the sacrifice of Christ, who was dition of the proselytes in respect of their civil obligato be offered upon the altar of his cross; but that obla- tions, but that, as they were bound by these laws of tion being now made, the reason of its appropriation, Moses before their conversion, so were they still; and, and being withheld from common use, is now no more. consequently, that the sense of St Paul is the same with And though the council at Jerusalem made a decree, even the sense of the council at that time ; 13 6 let every one subsequent to the sacrifice of Christ, that the brethren, abide in the calling,' that is, in the civil state and conwho were of the Gentiles, should abstain from things dition wherein he is called. But, supposing the decree strangled, and from blood; yet before we can determine to extend farther than the proselytes of Antioch, yet any thing from this injunction, the occasion, place, time, there was another reason why the council at Jerusalem and other circumstances of it, must be carefully looked should determine in this manner, and that was, the strong into.
aversion which they knew the Jewish converts would The occasion of the decree was this—while Paul and have conceived against the Gentiles, had they been inBarnabas were preaching the gospel at Antioch, certain dulged the liberty of eating blood; and, therefore, to persons, converted from Judaism, came down from Jeru- compromise the matter, they laid on them this prudent salem, and very probably pretending a commission from restraint, from the same principle that we find St Paul the apostles, declared it their opinion, that whoever em- declaring himself in this manner :14 • Though I am free braced the Christian religion, was obliged, at the same from all men, yet have I made myself a servant unto all, time, to be circumcised, and observe the whole law. that I might gain the more. Unto the Jew, I became as
Acts xi, 20. Acts xv. 5.
9 Miscellanea Sacra, vol. 2. 10 Lev. xvij. 11 Acts xv. 29.
1 Cor. viii. 8. · Deut. xiv. 21. 31 Cor. viii, 8. Rom. ij. 29.
* Miscellanea Sacra, vol. 2. & Lev, xvii. 11.
13 See Lev, xvii. and xviii. 13 1 Cor. vii, 20. "I Cor. ix. 19, 20, 22.
A. M. 1657. A. C. 2347; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 2257. A. C. 3154. GEN. CH. viii. 20. TO THE END OF CH. ix. a Jew, that I might gain the Jew; to the weak, became subjects, say they, they usually reserve some royalties I as weak, that I might gain the weak. I am made all (such as the mines, or minerals) to themselves, as memothings to all men, that I might, by all means, save some.' rials of their own sovereignty, and the other's depen
Nay, admitting the decree was not made with this view, dance. If the grant, indeed, be given without any reserve, yet, being founded on laws which concerned the Jewish the mines and minerals may be supposed to be included polity only, it could certainly last no longer than the in it; but when it is thus expressly limited, “ You shall government lasted ; and, consequently, ever since the have such and such lordships and manors, but you shall temple worship has expired, and the Jews have ceased not have the mines and minerals with the lands, for seveto be a political body, it must have been repealed; and ral good reasons specified in the patent,' it must needs accordingly, if we look into the gospel, say they, we be an odd turn of thought to imagine that the grantee may there find a repeal of it in full form. For therein has any title to them ; and yet this is a parallel case: we are told,' that the kingdom of God is not meat and for, when God has thus declared his will to the children drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy of men,' You shall have the flesh of every creature for Ghost;"2 that meat commendeth us not unto God;"3 that food, but you shall not eat the blood with it, it is every what goeth into the mouth, defileth not the man ;'4 that whit as strange an inference, to deduce from bence a to the pure, all things are pure ; and» « that there is general right to eat blood. nothing unclean of itself, but only to him, that esteemeth The commandment given to Adam, is,12 Of every tree it to be unclean, it is unclean ; for every creature of God in the garden thou shalt freely eat; but of the tree of is good, and nothing is to be refused, if it be received knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat.' This is with thanksgiving, for it is sanctified with the word of the first law; and the second is like unto it,'" • Every God and prayer ;'6 and therefore we are ordered," that moving thing, that moveth, shall be meat for you; even
whatever is sold in the shambles, even though it be a as the green herb, have I given you all things; but flesh, thing offered to idols, that to eat, asking no questions for with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, sball you conscience sake ;' and are told, that86 whoever command- not eat.' This, upon his donation both to Adam and eth us to abstain from meats, which God has created to Noah, God manifestly reserves to himself, as an acknowbe received with thanksgiving of them that believe, and ledgment of his right to be duly paid; and when it was know the truth,' ought to be ranked in the number of relaxed or repealed, say they, we cannot tell. seducers.
Nay, so far from being repealed, that it is not only in In a word, the very genius of the Christian religion, his words to Noah that God has declared this inhibition, say they, is a charter of liberty, and a full exemption but in the law, delivered by his servant Moses, he has from the law of Moses. It debars us from nothing but explained his mind more fully concerning it. " Whatsowhat has a moral turpitude in it, or at least, what is too ever man there is, of the house of Israel, or of the stranbase and abject for a man, that has the revelation of a gers, that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of glorious and immortal life in the world to come : and, blood, I will even set my face against that soul
, and will as there is no tendency of this kind in the eating of blood, cut him off from among his people. This is a severe they therefore conclude that this decree of the apostles, commination, say they; and therefore observe, how oft, either concerned the Jewish proselytes only, who, in in another place, he reiterates the injunction, as it were virtue of the obedience they owed to the civil laws of with one breath. 156 Only be sure that thou eat not the Palestine, were to abstain from blood ; or obliged none blood, for the blood is the life, and thou mayest not eat but the Gentiles of Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia, to whom the life with the flesh. Thou shalt not eat it; thou shalt it was directed; was calculated for a certain season only, pour it upon the earth, as water; thou shalt not eat it, either to prevent giving offence to the Jews, who were that it may go well with thee and thy children after thee. then captious, or to reconcile Gentile and Jewish con- Now there are several reasons, continue they, why God verts, who were then at some variance ; but was to last should be so importunate in this prohibition : for, having no longer than till the Jews and Gentiles were formed appointed the blood of his creatures to be offered for the into one communion. So that now the prohibition given sins of men, he therefore requires, that it should be reli, by God to Noah, the laws given by Moses to the Israel giously set apart for that purpose ; and, having prohibited ites, and the decree sent by the apostles to the Chris- the sin of murder under a severe penalty, he therefore tians at Antioch, are all repealed and gone, and a full guards against it, by previously forbidding the eating of license given to us to eat blood with the same indiffer-blood, lest that should be an inlet to savageness and ence as any other food; if so be we thereby10 6 give no cruelty. offence to our weaker brethren, for whom Christ died.' The Scythians (as 16 Herodotus assures us) from drink
Those who maintain the contrary opinion, namely, that ing the blood of their cattle, proceeded to drink the the eating of blood, in any guise whatever, is wicked blood of their enemies; and were remarkable for nothing and unlawful, found the chief of their arguments upon so much as their horrid and brutal actions. The animals the limitation of the grant given to Noah, the reasons that feed on blood are perceived to be much more furious that are commonly devised for the prohibition, and the than others that do not; and thereupon they observe that literal sense of the apostolic decree.
blood is a very hot, inflaming food, that such foods create "When princes give grants of lands to any of their choler, and that choler easily kindleth into cruelty.
Nay, they observe farther, that eating of blood gave I Rom. xiv, 17. 2 1 Cor. viii. 8. • Matth. xv. 11. occasion to one kind of early idolatry among the Zabii
Tit. i. 15. 5 Rom. xiv. 14. 61 Tim. iv. 4, 5. 1 Cor. x. 25, 28. 8 1 Tim. iy. 1, 3. 'Miscellanea Sacra, vol. 2. 13 Gen, ii. 16, 17. 13 Gen. ix. 3, 4. "4 Lev, xvii. 10. 10 1 Cor, viii. 11, &c. 11 See Revelation Examined, vol. 2.
15 Deut. xii. 23, &c.
16 Book 4.
A. M. 1657. A. C. 2347; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 2237. A. C. 3154. GEN. CH. viii. 20. TO THE END OF CH. ix. in the east, namely, the worship of demons, whose food, city them that preach him, being read in the synagogue as they imagined, was blood; and therefore they who every Sabbath-day.' adored them, had communion with them by eating the My sentence (says the apostle) is, that ye write unto same food. Good reason, therefore, say they, had God the Gentile converts upon these points ; 'For Moses has in the gospel, as well as the law, to prevent a practice, those of old in every city that preach him,' that is, which he could not but foresee would be attended with there is no necessity of writing to any Jewish convert, such pernicious effects.
or any proselyte convert to Christianity, to abstain from For the apostolic decree, as they argue farther, did these things, because all that are admitted into synanot relate to one sect of people only, the proselytes of gogues (as the proselytes were) know all these things the gate, who were lately converted to Christianity; nor sufficiently already. And accordingly, upon this senwas it directed to some particular places only, and with tence of St James, the decree was founded and directed a design to answer some particular ends, the prevention (according to the nature of the thing) to those whom it of offence, or the reconciliation of contending parties; was fitting and necessary to inform in these points, that to subsist for a determinate time, and then to lose all is, to those who were unacquainted with the writings of its obligation: but it concerned all Christians, in all Moses. nations, and in all future ages of the church, was enacted The letter, indeed, which contained the decree, was for a general use and intent, and has never since been directed to the brethren at Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia; repealed. And to support these assertions, they proceed but it would be shocking and unchristian to think, that in this method :
the precepts of an apostolic epistle were obligatory to Before the passing of this decree, say they, St Paul those only to whom the epistle was directed. The purpreached Christianity to the whole body of the Gentiles port of it concerned all. It was to apprise the heathen at Antioch. For he had not long preached in the syna- converts to Christianity, that they were exempted from gogues, before the Gentiles' besought him, that he would the observance of the law of Moses, except in four preach to them the same words, that is, the doctrine of instances laid down in that canon; and as it was of Jesus Christ, on the next Sabbath-day; and accordingly general concern for all converts to know, the apostles, we are told, that, on the Sabbath-day, came almost the we may presume, left copies of it in all the churches : whole city together to hear the word of God;' which cer- for so we are told expressly of St Paul and his comtainly implies a concourse of people, more than the pro- panions, that, as they went through the cities, they selytes of the gate, nay more than the whole body of the delivered them the decrees to keep, which were orJews, who were but a handful in comparison of the dained of the apostles and elders that were at Jerusarest of the inhabitants of that great city; and that this lem; and so were the churches established in the faith, large company was chiefly made up of Gentiles, the and increased in number daily.' sequel of the history informs us. For when the ?Jews saw The apostles, say they, out of Christian prudence, the multitude they were filled with envy, and spake might do many things to prevent offences, and to accomagainst those things which were spoken by Paul, contra-modate matters to the people's good liking: but certainly dirting and blaspheming. Then Paul and Barnabas it looks below the dignity of a synod to meet, and waxed bold, and said, it was necessary that the word debate, and determine a question with the greatest solemdi God should first have been spoken to you, but seeing nity, merely to serve a present exigence; to leave upon ve put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of record a decree which they knew would be but of temeverlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. For so hath porary obligation; and yet could not but foresee would the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a occasion endless scruples and disputes in all future ages light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldst be for salvation of the church. If it was to be of so short a continuance, wto the ends of the earth. And when the Gentiles heard why was not the repeal notified, and why were not so this they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord ; many poor ignorant people saved, as died martyrs in and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed ; the attestation of it? But, above all, how can we supand the word of the Lord was published throughout all pose it consistent with the honour and justice of the the region.'
apostles, to impose things as necessary, which were but Now this transaction at Antioch, say they, happened of transient and momentary duration ? seven years before the decree against blood and things Observe the words of the decree, cry they, 'It seemed strangled was passed at Jerusalem; and therefore as the good unto the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you Gentiles, not in Antioch only, but in all the region round no greater burden than these necessary things, namely, about, were no strangers to the doctrine of Jesus Christ, that ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from there is reason to suppose that this decree, when passed, blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication.' was not confined to one particular set of men, but If these abstinences were only intended to be enjoined directed to all Gentile converts at large. For hear what for a season, could they properly be enjoined under the the president of the council says upon this occasion;: denomination of necessary things? Is that the appellaWherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, tion for duties of a transient and tenporary observation? who from among the Gentiles are turned to God; but Did neither the apostles nor the Holy Ghost know the that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions distinction between necessary and expedient? Or, supof idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, pose it not convenient to make the distinction at that and from blood : for Moses of old time hath in every time, how come things of a temporary, and those of an
Acts xii, 42, &c.
? Acts xiji, 45, &c.
* Acts xv. 19-22.
• Acts xvi, 4, 5.
A. M. 1657. A. C. 2347 ; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 2257. A. C. 3154. GEN. CH. viii. 20. TO THE END OF CH. ix. eternal obligation, to be placed upon the same foot of abstain from certain meats, as an infringement upon our necessity in the same decree? Or, were fornication and Christian liberty, and a branch of the doctrine of devils ; idol-pollutions to be abstained from only for a season, the meats which they forbade must be supposed to be in compliment to the infirmity of the Jews; or in order lawful in their kind, and under no divine prohibition ; ! to make up a breach between some newly initiated con- otherwise we bring the apostles, who inhibited the use of verts? These are absurdities, say they, which cannot be blood, under the like imputation. avoided, when men will assert the temporary obligation It cannot be denied, indeed, that? St Paul allows of this decree.
Christians to eat things offered to idols, which may seem Some general declarations in Scripture, especially in to invalidate this apostolic decree. But, the answer St Paul's epistles, seem indeed like a repeal of it; but to this, is—That the plain intention of the council then, if we consider the scope and occasion of these at Jerusalem, in commanding to abstain from meats declarations, we shall soon perceive that they were offered to idols, was to keep Christians from idolatry, i intended to be taken in a limited sense ; otherwise they or, as St James expresses it,' from pollutions of idols : are not consistent with the decree itself. Our blessed and the true way to effect this, they knew, was by prohiSaviour, for instance, tells the people, that not that biting all communion with idols and idolaters in their which goeth into the mouth defileth the man, but that feasts, which were instituted in honour of their idols, and which cometh out of it.' But now, if this declaration of were always kept in their temples. But how is this comhis destroys the validity of the apostolic decree, it will mand defeated by St Paul's permitting the Corinthians follow, Ist, That this decree was repealed just twenty to eat any part of a creature sold in the shambles, or set years before it was made, which is a supposition some- before them in private houses, (though that creature what extraordinary; and, 2dly, That the whole body of might chance to have been slain in honour to an idol,) the apostles did, after full debate, make a most solemn since the Christian, who ate it in this manner, did not decree, and that under the influence of the Spirit of God, eat it in honour to the idol, but merely as common in direct contradiction to the express declaration of their food ? Lord and Master, which is a little too contiguous to To illustrate this by a parallel instance. Suppose blasphemy; and therefore let us consider the occasion of that the apostolic decree had commanded Christians our Saviour's words.
abstain from things stolen. Would not any one conceive The Pharisees, it seems, were offended at his disciples that the design of this command was to prohibit theft
, for sitting down to meat before they had washed their and all communion with thieves in their villany? Yes, hands, as being a violation of one of their traditional surely. Suppose then that any one of the council should, precepts. Whereupon our Saviour tells the company, after this, tell the people whom he preached to, that they
Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth the man'- might buy any meat publicly sold in the shambles, or set never meaning to give them a permission to eat any before them in private houses, asking no questions for thing prohibited by the law, but only to instruct them in conscience sake, though possibly the butcher or the host this - That there was not all that religion, or profanation might have stolen the meat; would any one think that of religion, which the Pharisees pretended, in observing, this permission was intended to invalidate the decree of or not observing the tradition of the elders, by eating with abstaining from things stolen ? And if such a construcwashed or unwashed hands; that the thing itself was tion would be absurd in the one case, why should it not of an indifferent nature ; nor could a little soil taken in be deemed so in another ? Especially when St Paul at the mouth, by eating with dirty hands, defile the man, himself so expressly, so solemnly, deters Christians from because nothing of that kind could properly be called a all participation in idolatrous feasts. The things which pollution.
the Gentiles sacrifice,' says he, “they sacrifice to devils, St Paul himself, was one of the council of Jerusalem not to God; and I would not that ye should have fellowwhen the prohibition of blood was ratified by the Spirit ship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord of God, and imposed on the Gentiles, who were con- and of devils, ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table verted to the Christian faith ; and therefore we can hardly and of devils.' think that, in his epistles, which were written not In a word, say they, whatever the sense of certain many years after, he should go about to abolish the passages in St Paul's writings may seem to be, they canobservation of those precepts, which, after mature deli- not be supposed to contradict the decree at Jerusalem : beration, were enacted by a general assembly of the a decree to which himself consented, nay, which he himchurch; and therefore, when he tells us that the kingdom self principally occasioned, and which he himself actuof God, that is, the Christian religion, “consisteth not of ally carried about, and deposited with the several meat and drink, and that meat commendeth us not unto churches. For to imagine that, with his own hands, he God,' he must be understood in a comparative sense, deposited the decree in one church, under the sanction namely, that it neither consists in, nor commendeth us of a canon ratified by the Spirit of God, and then immeso much, as holiness and purity of life. When he diately went to another, and preached against that very declares,'that every creature of God is good, that nothing canon, and decried it as inconsistent with Christian is unclean of itself, and that to the pure all things are liberty, is to charge the apostle with such an inconsispure,' &c., he must necessarily be understood with this tency of behaviour, folly, and prevarication, as but badly restraining clause In case there be no particular statute comports with the character of an ambassador of Jesus to the contrary; for where there is one, all the sanctity in the world will not give a man a toleration to break it:
'Corx. 27. ? Revelation Examined, vol. 2, p. 66. and when he complains of some men's commanding us to
* 1 Cor. x. 20, 21,