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from open enemies, and infidious oppofition from false friends, as he emphatically defcribes in the paffage, in which he compares his own claims to the gratitude and confidence of the Corinthians with those which the falfe teachers who opposed him advanced-"wherein foever any is bold, I am bold "alfo. Are they Hebrews? fo am I; are they "Ifraelites? fo am I; are they the feed of Abraham? "fo am I; are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a "fool.") [I am conscious of the apparent impropriety of boafting of myself to which I am driven.] "I am more-in labours more abundant, in ftripes "above measure, in prifons more frequent, in "deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I "forty ftripes, fave one. Thrice was I beaten "with rods, once was I ftoned, thrice I fuffered "fhip-wreck; a night and a day I have been in the -"deep; in journeying often, in perils of waters, in "perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countryઃઃ men, in perils by the Heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the fea, in perils among falfe brethren; in wearinefs " and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger "and thirst, in faftings often, in cold and na"kedness. Befides thofe things that are without, "that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? "who is offended, and I burn not ?"-Under fuch

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circumstances as these, operating on a mind of fuch quick fenfibility as St. Paul's, we cannot wonder at his warmth and vehemence; but as all thefe circumftances were calculated to call forth, and inflame the spirit of fanaticism, had it at all exifted in the apoftle, we must allow that his fobriety of mind was fubmitted to the most severe and decifive trial, which the moft fcrutinizing adverfary can defire. Under fuch circumftances, it was not poffible but that his epiftles fhould have exhibited traces of vehemence and felf-commendation, and fometimes even of warm refentment, which prejudiced and worldly readers, who regard all religion with indifference, and treat every thing like religious controverfy with contempt, would readily pronounce enthufiaftic. But they ought not to be thus ftigmatized, till it be confidered whether this vehemence and felf-commendation, and indignant warmth, occafioned by gross injuries and calumnies, ever hurried the apostle to tranfgrefs the bounds of reafon and propriety; or whether they were not foftened and controuled by fuch tenderness, humility, and watchful attention to the peace and improvement of the Chriftian church, as was every way worthy of an infpired apoftle, teaching the word of truth, and pursuing no other object than the interefts of religion. That the zeal of the apoftle was thus directed and controuled, it fhall be the fubject of the next fection, by direct arguments, to evince.

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St. Paul's Epiftles exhibit fuch marks of fober judgment, and even of refined addrefs, as are directly contrary to the Spirit of enthufiafm.

THE first character which I fhall take notice of, as distinguishing St. Paul's writings from the compofitions of weak and extravagant fanatics, is the strict attention to propriety, and even the refined address which he displays in adapting his epistles to the fituations and tempers of the different churches, and individuals, for whom he defigned them, as well as the relations which he bore to them, and the degree of authority which he might reasonably exercise amongst them: a few inftances of this will fhew how plainly clear reafon and fober judgment manifest themselves in the writings of the apostle.

The important question, whether the converts to Christianity were obliged to obferve the Jewish law, was that which most engaged the attention, and most frequently disturbed the repose of the Gentile churches; its difcuffion therefore occupies a great part of the epiftles of St. Paul, who was preeminently the apoftle of the Gentiles; it forms the chief fubject of the epiftles to the churches of Rome


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and Galatia, and is occafionally mentioned in the epiftles to Ephefus, Philippi, and Coloff; but in e each, it is treated of exactly in that manner, which the fituation of each church, and its peculiar connection with the apostle, required. The church at Rome he had not himself planted, nor, as it feems, 2 ever visited previous to the writing this epistle, and the tenor of it is exactly fuited to this fituation; he commences his letter with affuring them of his earneft defire to vifit them-" for I long, fays he, to "fee you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, to the end you may be established;" but left he should offend them by feeming to doubt of their being established in the faith, with a cautious modefty, well adapted to conciliate men yet ftrangers to his perfon, he immediately explains, or recalls, as it were, what he had faid, and states the end of his coming to them to be their mutual rejoicing in one another's faith, when he and they came to fee and know one another; "that is, that I may be comfort"ed together with you, by the mutual faith both of 66 you and me." The fame fpirit of mildness and humble perfuafion univerfally prevails in this epistle; we every where perceive, that though the apostle steadily maintains his own authority, as an inspired teacher, yet he is not fatisfied with refting his decifions on this authority alone, he supports them by


z Vid. Rom. i. 11 and 15.

a Vid. Locke's note on Rom. i. 12.

Vid. Paley's Hore Paulinæ, ch. i. No. 7 and 8.


appealing to facts of universal notoriety, by adducing the authority of the Jewish scriptures, and by a clofe and laboured train of argument. We also perceive, that as he had not himself planted the church in Rome, and might not therefore be certain of their being inftructed in the Christian scheme; he takes care to weave into his discourse the principal doctrines of the gofpel, and to give to those whom he addreffed, a comprehenfive view of the whole feries of God's difpenfations to man on the subject of religion.

The epiftle to the Galatians was written nearly on the fame occafion as that to the Romans; but as the apostle's connection with them was different, he has addreffed them in a different manner. He had • himself introduced the gofpel amongst them, he was therefore certain of their being fully informed in the general doctrines of Christianity; hence he omits those instructions which he judged neceffary for the Romans, and confines himself to the fingle point of convincing them of their error, in departing from the doctrines he had taught, so as to allow the neceffity of observing the Jewish law; and as they had thus corrupted the truth, in which St. Paul himself had inftructed them with the moft affectionate zeal, and which he had confirmed by fuch miracles, as had established his divine authority amongst them be

• Vid. Locke's Synopfis, prefixed to this epiftle. d Gal. i 6.


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