« FöregåendeFortsätt »
Paul was willing to suffer in this manner, if he might have been an instrųment in bringing the Jewish nation to embrace the gospel, we may learn how little those persons have of his benevolent spirit, who are unwilling to exert themselves or give even a mite in promoting the spread of the knowledge of Christ, in the ungospeii
disciples and followers, that I could, even now, in unaffected love to their souls,if it might be of any avail, sincerely wish, that as Christ subjected himself to the curɛe, that he might deliver us from it, so I myself, likewise, were accursed in this manner, after the exar ple of Christ, for the sake of these my brethren, and kinsmen according to the flesh, that they might thereby bezed parts of the world. delivered from the guilt they have brought upon their own heads, and become entitled to the forfeited and rejected blessings of the Messiah's kingdɔm. Far from revenging the sufferings of Christ and his followers upon their guilty heads, like Christ I would willingly expose myself to all the exe-ty in understanding this passage.crations of that enraged people. Like Some have supposed, that St. Paul was him, I would voluntarily let them ex- willing to be forever cast off from ecute upon me the infamous and ac- Christ, if he could by that means save cursed death of crucifixion itself, deshis brethren. This is the most natupising the shame, and bearing the ex-ral interpretation of the verse, as it cruciating agonies of such a death, if stands in our translation. But they such sufferings would avail any thing have found great difficulty in imitatin bringing them to repentance and sal-ing this fervent love of the Apostle.—
An Explanation of Rom. ix. 3. "For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ, for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh." Christians have found great difficul
And because they could not bring themselves to a willingness to be forever accursed from Christ, and to endure endless punishment, amidst the blasphemies of damned spirits, in order to save their brethren, they have been ready to condemn themselves for want of zeal in religion, and of love to the souls of men.
Inferences.-1st. How exceedingly inclined mankind are to impute bad motives to good men in faithfully declaring the threatenings of God against impenitent sinners. Nothing can more forcibly evince the truth of this remark than the solemn appeal of St. Paul, to|| the Holy Ghost, in this passage, to convince the Christian world that he Others have been displeased with was not actuated by a revengeful spir- this interpretation, supposing it inconit, in predicting the rejection of the sistent with love to Christ, to wish Jewish nation for their hardened wick-to be accursed from him, and have edness.-2d. The true Christian or put various, forced constructions upon benevolent man has no heart to return the passage to avoid this inconsisevil for evil, in revenge; but may ar-tency.
rive to such a degree of holiness, as I will offer one, which I think obviwillingly to endure all manner of re-ates both these difficulties and makes proaches, and even death itself, at the hands of his bitterest enemies, if he could be assured his suffering in this manner would avail, as a means, in the sight of God, in the everlasting sal-is emphatical, and is not merely I wishvation of their souls.-3d. Since St.
the meaning of the verse evident. The word which is rendered could wish is not optative but indicative, and should be rendered wished. The expression
ed but I myself wished, &c. The first part of the verse should be translated. thus; For I myself wished to be accursed
* Gal. iii. 13. "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us for it is written, cursed is every one from Christ, and should be read in a that hangeth on a tree."
parenthesis. This construction make
the verse, taken in connection with believing Jews, having himself once
Paul spoke from his own experience. I was wishing myself accursed from
Are not many of our brethren, our turn to the expressions puts a manifest kinsmen according to the flesh, in the force upon them. And though the same miserable condition with these verb be in the past time, yet in other Jews? Let us then imitate this great parts of the holy scripture, verbs in apostle, in exercising great heaviness the same time have evidently an optaand continual sorrow for them, and en-tive meaning, and express a present deavor by all means to bring them to wish. Thus Acts, xxv. 22. Agrippa salvation. MINOR. said unto Festus, I would also hear the man myself, apparently expressing a TO THE EDITORS OF THE CONNECT-present wish or desire. And 2 Cor. xi. ICUT EVANGELICAL MAGAZINE. 1. Paul says, "Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly." In
AS you have admitted into your both which places the verbs in the oriuseful Magazine, two different attempts ginal, are used in the same manner, to explain the apostle's words, Rom. and found in the same tense, as that ix. 3, you may perhaps deem it not rendered I could wish, in this text ununsuitable to admit a third. His words der consideration. Consequently its are these,"6 "For I could wish that being in the past time is no sufficient myself were accursed from Christ for evidence that it is not meant to express my brethren, my kinsmen, according a present wish,-a present affection of to the flesh." the apostle's mind.
Mr. Sandaman and several others It may also, be further observed, after him, suppose that the words "For that to put a construction upon the I could wish that myself were accurs-passage which necessarily leaves us at ed from Christ," ought to be included an utter uncertainty respecting the dein a parenthesis, and read for I was gree of the apostle's sensibility to the wishing myself accursed from Christ.dangers of his own nation, or the That read in this manner they natural-strength of his benevolent concern for ly suggest a reason for the apostle's them, does not well comport with the great and peculiar sensibility to the solemnity with which what he was a wretched state and danger of the unbout to assert, is introduced. What he
was about to assert of his affection for 1. It is the nature of moral goodness, the Jewish nation, he prefaces with an and essential to it, that it be ready to oath; "I say the truth in Christ, I lie sacrifice, and give up a less good for not, my consciente also bearing me the sake of a greater. If we leave this witness in the Holy Ghost." A pre-out of our ideas of moral virtue and face worthy the assertion in the text, goodness, there will be nothing left to when literally understood; but hardly distinguish it from vice, from pure necessary, it might be supposed, to selfishness. Consequently, convince those, to whom he wrote of 2. A willingness to abandon and great heaviness and sorrow of heart give up any interest or good which for his kinsmen according to the flesh.may be less, for the sake of one which Many, not satisfied with this con-may be more for the glory of the struction of the words, suppose that great God and Saviour, is essential to the apostle asserted a willingness to suf-true moral goodness. Keeping these fer a temporary exclusion from the positions in view, the truth of which communion of the christian church, or will, probably be admitted, let us seek even temporal death, and that of the the meaning of the apostle, when he most ignominious kind, for the good, says, I could wish that myself were acthat is, the eternal salvation of the Jew-cursed from Christ, for my brethren, ish nation. But we can hardly believe my kinsmen, according to the flesh. so eminent a saint would feel it ne- When the apostle wrote, we will cessary to make a direct appeal to the suppose, which probably does not exsearcher of hearts, to conciliate a be-ceed the truth, the Jewish nation conlief of his readiness to make so small sisted of three millions of people. a sacrifice for so important an object-Paul was one single person-an india sacrifice infinitely disproportioned vidual. Other things being equal, the to the worth of the object for which it nation was capable of enjoying three was to be made! Such a sacrifice as million times the felicity the apostle this, even for the Philipian church, the was capable of-not only so, but capaapostle asserts his joyful readiness' at ble of enduring three million times the any time to make. Nor does he in misery and wretchedness-and if perthat case preface his assertion by anishing eternally, actually would endure appeal to heaven for the truth of what it, which could possibly fall to the lot he said. His words are, Philip. i. 17, of the apostle. This respecting those "Yea, and if I be offered upon the sac-then in actual existence. But we can rifice and service of your faith, I joy hardly suppose, that the tender, beand rejoice with you all." According nevolent concern of this great apostle to this construction of the apostle's for that people, extended no farther words the evils mentioned are so very than the then existing generation. The triffing compared with the good to be interest of millions and millions then attained, that, instead of taking oath unborn could hardly fail of coming into to his willingness on such a condition his view, and filling and occupying his to undergo them, one might think he mind. Here, then, in one scale, is would blush even to mention it. the interest of only an individual; in Would not a parent be thought void of the other, that of many millions. Let natural affection should he refuse such the case be proposed to any impartial a sacrifice as this for his children? judge, we can be at no loss how he That we may judge whether the lit-would decide. Had Paul so much of eral construction of the passage before impartiality, as the eminence of his us, will convey an idea of any thing character for, piety authorises us to beyond that of the natural operation suppose, in a case so palpable, beof benevolence and goodness, the fol- tween interests so inconceivably une lowing things may be proper to be ob-qual, we find no room to hesitate what served, viz. his decision would be. Should the
apostle have preferred his own private the least reason to be an enemy to interest, even his own eternal salvation, him, or blaspheme his glorious name.. to that of an almost innumerable mul- If he felt a disposition which would titude, the salvation of each individual break out in enmity and blasphemy on of which was of as much worth as his his being cast off forever, he was in own, could it be thought that he pos- fact of no better spirit than that which sessed the least degree of that spirit re- he had before manifested in persecutquired by the second great command-ing Christ and his church,-his real inent," thou shalt love thy neighbor temper and disposition still remained as thyself! How, but under the gov-essentially the same. ernment of a principle entirely selfish, could the apostle have made such a choice!
But 2. It is admitted that Paul well knew that were he actually accursed from Christ, he should become, and Further, were the apostle's primary forever remain his inveterate enemy. object, in the desires he had of his own A candid attention may, nevertheless, personal salvation, the glory of Christ,|| lead us to see, that this is no sufficient as it certainly was; he could not but objection against a literal construction be sensible, that other things being of the passage to which we are attendequal, Christ would be glorified mill-ing. A lively sense of the dishonor ions and millions of times more in the and reproach cast on Christ, by etersalvation of the whole Jewish nation, than in the salvation of any individual whatever, be it even himself. In the exercise of that affection, wherein we are required to love God with all the heart, and our neighbor as ourselves, how then is it possible that he should hesitate to be willing to be accursed from Christ, for his brethren, his kinsmen, according to the flesh!
Were the glory of Christ and the good of others, the great and primary object of the apostle's wishes and desires; so long as in the exercise of this temper he would enjoy a far higher measure of comfort in the hope and prospect of the salvation of the whole nation than it is supposable he could have in the prospect of any private personal good whatever of his own. But
nally blaspheming his glorious name, would be the great thing which influenced the apostle, while in the exercise of truly gracious affection, to view it with such aversion and abhorrence. This is manifest; because without such affection, no pain is felt under the apprehension that the name of the Lord Jesus will be forever reproached. But instead of that, the subject is prepared in the state of his own mind, cordially to join in these reproaches.. But were the whole Jewish nation to be accursed from Christ, and eternally perish, other things being equal, there would be many inillion times the reproach cast by them on Christ, which could be done by any single person. As far, therefore, as the apostle would feel an aversion to being forever anit will be objected, that were Paul ac- athmatized from Christ, from the concursed from Christ, he would become sideration of the reproach which in a bitter, perfect enemy to him, and an that case, he should cast upon the eternal blasphemer of his glorious Lord; he would from the same regard name. Therefore, that in the exer- to the glory of Christ, feel a much cise of true grace, and love to Christ, greater unwillingness, that his glorious it is utterly unsupportable he should Lord should be the object of the reexpress such a wish as the literalproach and blasphemy of millions and construction of the passage under millions of others. consideration implies. To this it may be replied,
1. That should the apostle in the highest and fullest sense of the term be accursed from Christ, he would not have
Since it is clearly revealed that it will be the occasion of greater glory to Christ that many of mankind should be, and eternally remain enemies to him, the truly good and gracious heart
to the objection, of the good-will, which a literal construction of the passage under consideration, compels us to suppose the apostle felt and expressed. No other reply need be made to the objection.
acquiesces in it, and rests satisfied. into our world, and becoming a sacriIt is in the nature of things, and in it-fice for our sins, fell short, and that inself considered, as undesirable that finitely, as it must have done according others should be enemies to Christ, as we ourselves; and as far as we are under the influence of that love, which seeketh not her own, we shall feel it to be so. On this ground, therefore, an aversion to being accursed from Christ arising from a sense of the wickedness of that enmity to him which would follow, would operate with greater strength against many million being accursed from him.
Thus it appears, that for the apostle to be willing to be accursed from Christ, on the condition expressed, is no more than is required in the command, to love our neighbor as ourselves; and was but a portion of the same spirit, which Christ manifested in dying for sinners.
For the Utica Christian Magazine.
It is further to be observed, that did the apostle possess that benevolent spirit which implied a willingness to be himself accursed from Christ for the sake of the eternal salvation of his kinsmen, according to the flesh, it was no more than a portion of the spirit which his glorious Lord had manifest- A certain man perceived that his ed before him. Christ was not only house was not entirely good, especialwilling, but actually did become ally in stormy weather. He concluded curse for his kinsmen, according to that something must be done; and as the flesh, that they might be the right- it leaked, he determined to put a new ousness of God in him; and with the roof on it; but this was soon perceivspirit he possessed, it was not possible ed not to be sufficient, he therefore put he should in any other way be so hap-in some new studs and braces, and py, so could it have been that the apos- then added a new siding, which he cotle was assured that his being accurs-vered with a coat of paint. Soon after ed from Christ was the only and cer- this he found the sleepers giving way. tain way for the whole Jewish nation While he was attempting to replace to be eternally saved; continuing to these, he found the sills to be rotten, and be of the spirit which is breathed out these he found had rotted by resting on in the text, he could not be so happy the sand. He now learns what he ought in any other way as being actually ac- to have known at first, viz. That he cursed. Should it be here objected, needs a new house--that the labor that the evil which Christ endured, which he has spent in repairing the old, when he became a curse, however has been thrown away, seeing it was great in other respects, was yet but bestowed on a building which wanted temporary and short, and that being the most essential thing, to wit, a founaccursed from his supplies endless evil,dation. consequently, that we have no example in Christ, of a benevolence so disinterested and great, as a willingness in the apostle to be on any condition whatever eternally accursed from Christ, must import. It may be replied, that it must be extremely dishonorable to Christ, and to his glorious character, when we consider how high and exalted it is, to suppose that his benevolence and good will in coming VOL. 2 C C
The house without foundation is the place where the Christless sinner lives and sleeps. Sickness, bereavement, and whatever alarms his conscience, are the storms which discover to him the insufficiency of his house to shelter him. He thinks however that some amendment in his life will be sufficient to put him into a state of safety. He leaves off one sin, and then another;