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The effect of the Jewish war, that great retributive dispensation for the punishment of the national sin of infidelity, was destined to be the dissolution of the Jewish community both ecclesiastical and civil; the loss of their place and nation; the destruction of Jerusalem ; and the wreck of all property, both public and private. A provision, then, which had already imposed on every Hebrew Christian, the obligation of parting with his temporal possessions, when he became a member of the church, while it had taken the necessary precautions to secure meanwhile, the maintenance of the whole body, must have guarded effectually beforehand against the possibility of any one of the believing Jews' being involved in the same calamities, and suffering in the same way from the national visitation, as the rest of his countrymen. What had previously been sold by the believing Jews, and had ceased to be their property, had come of course into the hands of the unbelieving; and would perish in the universal ruin of property, produced by the general convulsion which ultimately ensued. But its bona fide value had already been enjoyed, or might still continue to be enjoyed, by the Hebrew church. Money is at all times the most convenient form of property, not only for disposing of it in such and such a way, but also for securing it against the possibility of loss or deprivation, and for removing it readily from a scene of trouble or danger, to one of tranquillity and safety. If the wealth of the believing Jews consisted in a pecuniary fund—in a time of public peace, and during an established order of things, it would be as safe and inviolable as any other species of property; and in a season of confusion or disorder, of risk or uncer

tainty, should any such arise, it is manifest it would be the least endangered; it would be the most easy to secure, the most convenient to remove elsewhere, and to deposit out of the reach of destruction, of any.

And for this reason, it is most probable that this particular state of things in the Hebrew church, though unexampled and extraordinary while it lasted, was designed to continue no longer than the final consummation of the Jewish visitation; that is, in fact, than the natural period of the lifetime of that generation, to which the assurance of an extraordinary support, and the command to act accordingly in the disposal of their own property, were both given. This period, if we reckon from the day of the ascension, A. D. 30. to the capture of Jerusalem, A. D. 70. embraced an interval of nearly forty years; the length of time for which the Israelites of old, as I have already observed, had wandered, and been maintained in an extraordinary manner in the wilderness, before their settlement in the land of Canaan.

I shall conclude this exposition of the present part of the discourse, by pointing out one or two of the immediate advantages, which are derived from referring both the promise of an extraordinary support, and the command of the disposal of property, founded upon that promise, to Jews and not to Gentiles, in the first place, and to the believing not the unbelieving Jews, in the next. First, by such a reference, we do no violence to the words of scripture, but read them just as we find them, and understand them just as we read them. We reconcile our Saviour's teaching on the duty of taking no thought, or making no provision for the morrow, first with itself, as addressed to the multitude at large; on whom, by prohibiting to them only an immoderate degree of such taking of thought, he inculcated a prudent and moderate degree of it; whereas, in addressing his disciples immediately after, he inculcates the taking no thought at all; he prohibits even the moderate and prudent degree of itt: and secondly, with the teaching of his apostles, none of whom, when instructing his Gentile converts in the duties of their several stations, ever thinks of dissuading them from industry in the exercise of their calling, diligence in their application to business, or a prudent and circumspect use of present means and opportunities, for the sake of future wants and necessities; and of whom St. Paul in particular—as if to denounce expressly the abuse of the doctrine of taking no thought to purposes for which it was never intended, as justifying the conduct of moral agents generally or of Christians in particular, who should be guilty of a systematic .neglect and carelessness in making the necessary provision for the wants of life in behalf of themselves and of those immediately dependent upon them-has left this remarkable sentence on record : “ But if any one doth not provide for those who

* The literal construction of thê precepts in question furnished Celsus with a pretence for objecting to the doctrine or teaching of Christ in the New Testament, as repugnant to that of the Father in the Old. o δ' υιός άρα αυτού, says he, ο Ναζωραίος άνθρωπος, αντινομοθετεί, μηδέ παριτητών είναι προς τον πατέρα, τω πλουτουντι, ή φιλαρχιώντι, ή σοφίας ή δόξης αντιποιουμένω. δείν δε σίτων μεν και ταμιείου μή μάλλόν τι φροντίζειν ή τους κόρακας, εσθήτος δε ήττον ή τα kpiva, k', 1.1. Origen, i. 706. E. Contr. Cels. vii. 18.

belong to himself, and most of all for those of his

own family, he hath denied the faith, and is worse 6 than an unbeliever u.”

We reconcile the teaching of our Saviour on almsgiving also, first with itself, as addressed to the Pharisees a little before; on whom he impressed the obligation of that duty, in proportion to their ability only, (katà évóvta *;) whereas in addressing his disciples not long after, he commanded them to sell their all, and to give it to the poor: secondly, with that of his apostles, not one of whom urges it as binding on the consciences of his Gentile converts, that they should devote all their property to almsgiving, nor more of it than in proportion to their means, and to the demands of their own necessities, and to the just claims of their families and immediate connexions upon themselves.

Thus St. Paul; “ Communicating unto the neces“ sities of the saints ;" Rom. xii. 13: Cf. xii. 8. xv. 26, 27—“Every first day of the week let each “of you lay (somewhat) by himself, storing up “ whatsoever he may have been prospered to store:” 1 Cor. xvi. 2—“ But as to this thing—he who “ soweth sparingly, sparingly also shall reap; and “ he who soweth unto blessings, unto blessings also “ shall reap. Every one—according as he prefer“ reth with his heart; not of grief, or of necessity : “ for a cheerful giver God loveth :” 2 Cor. ix. 6, 7: cf. 8–15—“ Only, that we remember the poor:” Gal. ii. 10—“ And let him who is being catechised " in the word (receiving the rudiments of the word) “ communicate unto the catechiser (to him who is

u 1 Tim. v. 8.

* Luke xi. 41. Harm. P. iv. 31. Suidas, évóv. duvaróv. À evutrápxov. In which sense, the term is of very frequent occurrence, sometimes absolutely in the accusative, as in this passage of St. Luke, at others in construction, as ék TÔ évóvtwv, or the like. See Dionys. Hal. Ant. Rom. i. 46. 47–Jos. B. Jud. vi. iii. 1: Contra Apion. ii. 16. p. 1260: Ibid. 27—Epictet. Manuale, xxxiii. 5—Dio Chrys. Orat. xiv. 444. 35 : Orat. xv. 450. 5-Aristides, Orat. xiii. 319. 1. 17: xiv. 349. I. 1-Heliodor. Æthiopica, ix. 10—Isocrates, Orat. xi. 46: xv. 343: xvi. 48: Æschines, Orat. ii. 41, &c.

teaching him) in all good things :" Gal. vi. 6 : cf. 9, 13—“ He that stealeth, let him steal no more, “ but rather let him labour, gaining by the work of “ his hands that which is good, that he may have wherewithal to impart to him that hath need :" Ephes. iv. 28: cf. Philipp. iv. 10—20 : 1 Thess. iv. 9, 10—“For when we were with you also, this “ did we command you, that if any one is not will

ing to work, neither let him eat :” 2 Thess. iii. 10: cf. 11, 12—“And if any believing man, or believ

ing woman, hath widows, let him assist them, “ and let not the church (congregation) be burden“ed, that it may assist those that are widows in“ deed :" 1 Tim. v. 16-“ Them that are rich in the “ word that now is, command .... to do good, to “ be rich in honest works, to be easy of imparting, “ apt to communicate,” &c. Ibid. vi. 17, 18.

It is needless to observe, how much perplexity the positive contradiction between the express tenor of such precepts as these, and the apparent meaning of those which we have considered above, would occasion us; were we to endeavour to reconcile them together, on the supposition that all were intended to be binding on Christians alike. It would be an invidious undertaking, too, however easy it might be, to shew what violence, subterfuge, exaggeration

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