ページの画像
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

bounds of truth upon the same grounds, and retain the character of an honest upright man also ? and consequently, if an honest upright man in the church of Rome may give a false testimony, may become a voucher for a pretended miracle, knowing it to be an 'impoßtion, to serve the cause of God then why may not an honest upright Protestant, yea an honest upright apostle, do the fame, when the same purpose is to be served thereby ? To say, were a' Protestant thus to deviate from truth he would act against his principles, and therefore would not be an honest man ; this is begging the question. One Protestant cannot form a judgment, with any certainty, what are another Proteftant's principles, in this respect ; that is, he cannot certainly know whether such Protestant does, or does not admit, that truth, in some instances and cases, may and ought to be dispensed with, may be made to give place to falfhood and dissimulation, seeing such admission is not incompatible with protestantism; and if a Protestant admits this, then such Protestant, in such instance or case, may exceed the bounds of truth, and yet retain the character of an honest upright And if a Protestant admits that

truth,

man,

[ocr errors]

man.

truth, in some instances and cases, may and ought to be dispensed with ; then, furely, the cause of God and religion may well be supposed to be fuch instance or cale ; and consequently, a Protestant may exceed the bounds of truth, may give a false testimony, when the cause of God and religion can be served thereby; and yet have a just title to the character of an honest upright

And, indeed, St. Paul must have acted

upon this principle, viz. that truth in some instances and cases may and ought to be dispensed with, and made to give place to falfhood and disimulation ; else, surely, his honesty and integrity in several inItances můst stand impeached. Thus he faith of himself, 1 Cor. ix. 20, 21. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews ; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; to them that are without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ) that I might gain them that are without law. Now, if St. Paul might, with a good conscience, act such a deceivable part as this, could so far personate a Jew, or occasionally conform to Judaism, as to lead the people

to

to think that he approved it, in order to gain over the Jews to christianity, could circumcise Timothy to answer the fame purpose, when at the same time he was the greatest enemy Judaism ever had, and declared Galatians v. 2. Bebold I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised Christ shall profit you nothing ; I say if St. Paul could thus dissemble, and act such a difguised part as above, to serve the cause of christianity ; then why may he not have given a false tefiimony to answer the same purpose? and why may he not have retained the character of an honest upright man in the latter, as well as in the former case ? seeing the end may as well sanctify the means in one case as in the other; and seeing he might have acted according to his conscience in both. Yea, St. Paul carried the matter of dispensing with truth much farther, by coining a fallhood thereby to fave himself; in which case God's cause was not immediately, but remotely interested. Thus Aits xxiii. 6. But when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee, of the hope and resurrection of the

dead

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

dead I am called in question. The last article in this speech was forged, as his hope in the resurrection was no part of the charge brought against him by the Yews, which the history sheweth. And, indeed, this he afterward acknowledged 'before Felix, and seems to have condemned himfelf for it, chap. xxiv, 20, 21. Or else, (faid he) let these fame bere fay, if they have found any evil-doing in me, whilf I stood before the council, except it be for this one voice that I cried ftanding among them, touching the resurrection of the dead I am called in question by you this day. But then, tho St. Paul represented to Felix the vending this falfhood to be evil doing, when he was in danger of having it brought as a fresh charge against him by the Jews ; yet he, to appearance at least, reassumed it again when he was before the chief captain and king Agrippa, in order for them to know what to write to Rome concerning him, and when he had liberty, and was called upon to state his own cafe. Thus chap. xxvi. 5, 6, 7, faith he, after the most strait feet of our religion I lived a Pharifee and now in consequence of my steady adherence to the principles of that

[ocr errors]

fect)

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

ect) I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise of God unto our fathers, unto which promise our twelves tribes instantly ferving God day and night hope to come ; for

which bope's sake, king Agrippa, I am accufed of the Jews. Here it's plain, that the

bope St. Paul mentions was that of a refurrection from the dead ; and this

and this appears, not only from his connecting it with his former profession as a Pharisee, but also more fully from the question he subjoins to it, viz. Why should it be thought a thing incredible that God should raise the dead? St. Paul probably inventėd this pretended charge against himself, not only to draw over a party of the unbelieving Jews to him ; but also thereby to conceal the true ground of all the troubles that he had then brought upon himself ; namely, a most notorious piece of disīmulation that he went through, therewith to deceive and impose upon the believing Jews, that were at Jerusalem, as in chap. xxi. Now, if the Apostle Paul might deceive, might exceed the bounds of truth to serve the cause of Christianity; then why. may not any other Apostle or any other apostolick man ? If St. Paul might deceive in one way to serve the cause of God; then why may

he

[ocr errors]

not

« 前へ次へ »