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who had been long since foretold, and promised, as the “ seed of the woman, that should bruise the head of the serpent, the seed of Abraham, in whom all the families of the earth should be blessed,” and “the Son of David,” in whom the promise of an extensive and ever. lasting kingdom was to be fulfilled. Of all which things the blessed Jesus sometimes, in the latter part of his ministry, reminded the Jewish people, his hearers, to induce them to act according to evidence, and to improve the present opportunity, and accept the blessings offered to them, lest they should expose themselves to the divine displeasure and resentment. But, as before hinted, he never invited any with assurances of worldly advantages from him: and all were at liberty to act according to their own judgment, and to “ go away,” or stay with him. John vi. 66-71.

Wherever he went, preaching that excellent and heavenly doctrine, he was attended by many; who plainly discerned it to be superior to that of their ordinary teachers, the Scribes and Pharisees, and that he spoke and acted as a prophet, with divine illumination and authority. The people in general were so well satisfied of his great character, that they could not help wondering, that their Scribes and Rulers, for whom they had a great respect, did not publicly acknowledge him to be the Messiah. “ And many of the people believed on him, and said; “ When the Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man has done ?" John vii. 31. Again : “ And many resorted unto him, and said ; John did no miracle. But all things that John spake of this man were true. And many believed on him there." John X. 41, 42.

Nevertheless, among the chief rulers also, many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” John xii

. 42, 43. But Nicodeinus, a Pharisee, and a ruler, and in the very early part of our Lord's ministry, came to him of his own accord, and acknowledged him to be a teacher come from God,” John jii. And it is very likely that he went away fully convinced that he was the Christ. And when the Jewish council reproved their officers for not having apprehended Jesus, and brought him before them, Nicodemus,“ being one of them,” pleaded his cause, saying ; “ Doth our law judge any man before it hear him and know what he doeth ?” John vii. 51. For which he was reviled, as very ignorant and greatly mistaken. However, he afterwards attended the burial of Jesus, together with “ Joseph of Arimathea,” another “ disciple of Jesus; but secretly, for fear of the Jews. He was a rich man, and an honourable counsellor: who went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus, and wrapt it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb, hewn out of a rock.' John xix. 38–42. Matt. xxvii. Mark xy. Luke xxiii.

Beside them, Jairus, ruler of a synagogue, and a nobleman of Capernaum, were disciples of some distinction. And there may have been some others in like stations, who paid their respects to Jesus, though they are not named. The centurion at Capernaum had such faith in Jesus, as to believe him able to heal his sick servant at a distance, by speaking a word only: He was a Gentile, but he was in esteem with “ the elders of the Jews,” who lived in that city. And they also joined with him in the request to Jesus to heal his sick servant, “saying, that he was worthy, for whom he should do this.” Luke vii. 4. So that they also were persuaded in their minds, that Jesus had power to perform so great a miracle. Not now to take any notice of our Saviour's female disciples, though they also were, some of them, respectable for their outward condition, as well as for their eminent virtue.

Out of the number of his disciples Jesus chose twelve, to be generally with him, and to be employed by him, whom he named apostles; who, notwithstanding some imperfections and failings, owing to the prevailing prejudices of the Jewish people, all continued faithful to him, excepting only Judas the traitor, a man of a worldly and covetous disposition. And though the miscarriage and loss of Judas could not but be a great grief and discouragement to them, the other eleven kept together, even after the death of their Lord.

When he was risen from the dead, he came again among them, and shewed himself to them: and though they were not to be persuaded without good proof

, in the end they were all satisfied that it was he.

Having, in the space of forty days, been often seen by them, and having frequently con. versed with them, “ speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God," he was in their sight taken up into heaven. Acts i.

Soon after which, when they were assembled together, to the number of “ about one hundred and twenty,” another, named Matthias, was chosen in the room of Judas, to be a witness with the rest of the things concerning the Lord Jesus, and particularly his resurrection from the dead.

At the next following Pentecost, the Holy Ghost, in a remarkable manner, came down upon the apostles and their company, agreeably to the promise which Jesus had made to them. And henceforward the apostles, being fully qualified, preached to all men in the name of Christ, exhorting them to repentance, with the promise of the remission of sins, and everlasting salvation. Acts ii.

Such was the effect of St. Peter's first discourse at Jerusalem, after our Lord's ascension, that “ there were added to them about three thousand souls:” and afterwards such accessions were made, that their number was “ about five thousand.” Acts ii. 41; iv. 4.

But though many miracles were done by the hands of the apostles, and the whole company of the believers behaved in a very becoming manner, insomuch that it is said, they had favour with all the people ;” Acts ii. 49: and again, that “ the whole multitude of them that believed was of one heart, and of one soul; neither said any of them, that ought of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had all things common; ” Acts iv. 32: yet they met with many difficulties, and were ill treated by the Jewish rulers. Peter and John were apprehended and brought before the council, and examined, and were then commanded, “ not to speak at all, nor teach in the name of Jesus : ” Acts iv. And they were farther threatened, if they transgressed that order. But they, nevertheless, thinking themselves obliged to persist in their work, and “ to obey God, rather than men; in a short time afterwards, all the apostles were taken up, and put in the common prison,” and then brought before the council : and having been “beaten,” and again "commanded not to speak in the name of Jesus,” they were dismissed. Acts v. Soon after this, Stephen, a man of great eminence and usefulness among the disciples, was stoned; Acts vi. vii. And James, brother of John, one of the chief apostles of Jesus, was beheaded by order of Herod Agrippa, then king in the land of Judea. " And be. cause he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded farther to take Peter also, and put him in prison, intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people;” Acts xii. But now Divine Providence interposed: Peter was miraculously delivered out of prison ; and Herod died under tokens of divine displeasure. What is added is well worthy of observation. « But the word of God grew, and multiplied.”

And gradually the apostles and their fellow-labourers, with divine approbation and encouragement, enlarged their views, and preached the gospels to Samaritans, and then to Gentiles. But, wherever they went, they first addressed themselves to the Jewish inhabitants, and particularly in their synagogues, which there were at that time in many cities of Greece, and elsewhere, and usually had some converts among them. The evidences of the Christian religion were fairly and openly proposed, and to many they appeared sufficient and satisfactory. The whole argument is briefly summed up in those words of St. Paul before the governor Festus, and King Agrippa, and the rest of that great audience. “ Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue to this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come; that the Christ should be liable to sufferings ; and that, being the first who rose from the dead,” to die, no more," he should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.” Acts xxvi. 22, 23.' Thus, at Antioch in Pisidia, it is said of Paul and Barnabas, Acts xiii. 14, “ they went into the synagogue on the sabbath day; where Paul made a long discourse...." Now, when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews, and religious, or worshipping “proselytes, followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.”. Afterwards, at Iconium, “ they went both into the synagogue, and so spake, that a great multitude of the Jews, and also of the Greeks, believed.” Acts xiv. 1. Ånd in like manner at other places.. And particularly at Thessalonica, Acts xvii. 1; and at Berea, ver. 10; at Athens, ver. 17; at Corinth, xviii. 4 ; at Ephesus, xviii. 19, and 26. When Paul came to Rome, he was a prisoner. He therefore could not go to any Jewish synagogue. But being “ suffered to dwell by himself, with a soldier that kept him, he called the chief of the Jews together....And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging ; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law and the

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prophets, from morning to evening. And some believed, and some believed not.” Acts xxviii. 16_24.

As for the Jews at Jerusalem, we know, from the history of the council, held there in the year of Christ 50, about the terms upon which the Gentiles should be received, that the believers were then numerous there, and greatly concerned for the establishment and propagation of the gospel, Acts xv. And when St. Paul came thither again, at the Pentecost of the year 58, as we compute, the believers there were still steady and numerous. And St. James, the apostle who presided there, and the elders, reminded him, saying ; “ Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are that believe.” Acts xxi. 20. By which I suppose to be intended chiefly the church at Jerusalem ; though some others may be included, who were come up thither upon occasion of the feast.

And about four years after this, near the end of his imprisonment at Rome, or soon after it, Paul wrote his epistle to the Hebrews, or the believers at Jerusalem and in Judea, not excluding such as lived elsewhere, to confirm. and strengthen them, and fortify them against discouragements.

Indeed, it should be particularly observed by us, that there were societies of believers in other parts of Judea, beside Jerusalem. For in the account of things about the year of Christ 40, it is said, (Acts ix. 31.) “ Then had the churches rest throughout all Judea, and Galilee, and Samaria, and were edified; and, walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.” And St. Paul in his epistle to the Galatians, speaks of his being “ unknown by face unto the churches of Judea, which are in Christ.” Gal. i. 22. See likewise 1 Thess. ii. 14.

Nor were all these men of the lowest rank and condition. For, in the general account of the early progress of the gospel, we are told, Acts vi. 7, “ And the word of God increased, and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly: and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.” And we can reckon up some by name, who, upon several accounts, were men of eminence. Nicolas, a proselyte of Antioch, then residing at Jerusalem, who generously undertook a share in providing for the poor of the church; a man of substance undoubtedly, and probably a man of good understanding, and great probity. Barnabas, a Levite, a native of Cyprus, where he had an estate in land, which he sold for the relief of those believers in Jesus who were poor and indigent. Paul, a Pharisee, son of a Pharisee, a native of Tarsus in Cilicia, educated in Jewish learning at Jerusalem under “ Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, and had in reputation among all the people,” Acts iv. v. and xxii. and not unacquainted with Greek literature, and a person of uncommon acuteness; who, of a violent persecutor, became a sincere convert to the faith, and a zealous preacher of the gospel. In which service he laboured as fervently, and as successfully, as any other of the apostles; shewing therein great fidelity and self-denial : whose disinterestedness had been so conspicuous, that he could openly appeal to the world, and say; “ Though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant to all, that I might gain the more." i Cor. ix. 19.

The character of this person is so extraordinary, that I must enlarge somewhat in his history; notwithstanding the brevity which I have prescribed to myself in this article. By the special choice and designation of Jesus Christ, after his resurrection from the dead, he was added to the other twelve apostles, “ that he might bear his name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel :" Acts ix. and xxvi. though it was foreseen, that he would “ suffer many things” in that service. In the course of his ministry he preached and asserted the Christian doctrine to the Jewish people in general, and before the Jewish council at Jeru. salem. He pleaded also, and preached the doctrine of Christ before Felix and Festus, Roman governors of Judea, and before King Agrippa, and his sisters Drusilla and Bernice, who were Jews by religion; and in the presence of many other personages of great distinction at Cæsarea, the residence of the Roman governor. Acts xxii.—xxvi. He also pleaded before the emperor Nero at Rome; by whom was signed the order of his confinement in that city, which was a kind of free custody: where he « dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence,” and with great success, “no man forbid. ding him.” Acts xxviii. 30, 31. At the end of which period he was discharged, and set at

• See the second Vol. of “The Supplement to the Credibility,' &c.

liberty by the same authority by which he had been confined. And then he went abroad again, preaching the gospel, as he had done before, and visiting and confirming the Christian churches in several places. Afterwards, as we have reason to believe, he came to Rome again. And there, in the year 64 or 65, in the persecution of the Christians, ordered by the same emperor, he suffered martyrdom, being beheaded, as a Roman citizen; so bearing his final testimony to the truth of that doctrine, which he had long preached with great zeal and diligence. I now proceed.

The chamberlain and treasurer of “ Candace, queen of the Ethiopians," a Jewish proselyte, “ who had come up to Jerusalem to worship.” Acts viii. 27. His high station, and the great trust reposed in him, are arguments of his ability and fidelity. His journey to Jerusalem indi. cates his zeal for the religion which he had embraced: and his reading the Jewish sacred scriptures, as he was returning in his chariot, shews his studiousness to understand them. His discourse with Philip, a disciple of Jesus, who drew near to him, manifests inquisitiveness and openness to conviction, which are laudable dispositions. And his conversion to the faith of Jesus is therefore a testimony to the truth of the Christian religion, which cannot be slighted.

“ Judas and Silas, chief men among the brethren” at Jerusalem; Acts xv.—xviii. and the latter of them, as it seems, a Roman citizen. Aquila and Priscilla, Jews of Pontus, persons of good understanding, and uncommon piety. Timothy, a young man of good understanding at Lystra, who from his childhood had been instructed in the scriptures of the Old Testament, being the son of a Jewess. 2 Tim. i. His mother Eunice, and his grandmother Lois, also were believers. Acts xii. 12. John Mark, an evangelist, son of Mary, a woman of great zeal and courage in the profession of the Christian religion, an inhabitant of Jerusalem, and nephew to Barnabas. Col. iv. 10. Luke, another evangelist, by some thought to be the same as Lucius of Cyrene; Acts xiii. 1. If so, he was a Jew by birth. If he was not that Lucius, yet very probably he was a Jewish proselyte before he became a Christian. With that Lucius of Cyrene is mentioned, in the place just referred to, “ Manaen, who had been brought up with Herod the tetrach." A person, undoubtedly, of a liberal education.

Apollos, a Jew of Alexandria, an eloquent or learned man, and “ mighty in the scriptures' of the Old Testament. Acts xviii. Crispus and Sosthenes, rulers in the Jewish synagogue at Corinth; 1 Cor. 1, and Zenas, a Jewish lawyer. Tit. iii. 13.

All these I have reckoned up briefly and imperfectly among the Jewish believers ; designedly omitting converts from among the Gentiles. All these Jews, by their faith and profession, bore a testimony to Jesus, well deserving our regard. For they must have acted under as great discouragements as can be conceived. They underwent the keenest reproaches from the unbelieving Jews, their neighbours, for receiving a person as the Messiah ; who, instead of working out a great deliverance for their nation, as was generally expected and earnestly desired, had himself undergone an ignominious death. For my own part, I always think of these early Jewish believers with peculiar respect. I am not able to celebrate all the virtues of their willing and steady faith_under the many difficulties which they met with. But I am persuaded, that when the Lord Jesus shall come again, he will bestow marks of distinction upon those who extricated themselves out of the snares, in which their close connections with others had involved them. And as “ they were not ashamed of him, and his words, but confessed his name in the midst of an adulterous and sinful generation, he will not be ashamed of them, but will confess them,” and own them for his, “ when he shall come in the glory of his Father, with the holy angels." Mar. viii. 38; Mat. x. 32.

For certain, I apprehend, that the faith of the Jewish believers is of greater importance than the unbelief of other Jews in the time of Jesus and his apostles.

• Μανααντε “Ηρωδε το τετραρχ8 συντροφος. • Herodis te- been the apostle's kinsmen, and therefore must have been trarchæ collectaneus.' Vulg. At vocabulum OUYTFOR: latius

* At vocabulum OuYtfo@latius Jews. Aristarchus, a Thessalonian, Acts xx. 4. who is menpatet, significatque 'eum, qui a primâ ætate cum altero educa- tioned again in the epistle to the Colossians iv. 10, 11, writtus est.' Grot. in loc.

ten during the apostle's imprisonment at Rome, or near the I say, imperfectly.' For I have not rehearsed all the end of it, in the year 62. Where St. Paul calls him “his Jewish believers, who are expressly mentioned, and by name. fellow prisoner;" and reckons him among those “ of the I have omitted several: as Jason, who was so friendly to St. circumcision, who had been his fellow-workers unto the kingPaul, at Thessalonica, as related, Acts xvii. 5-9. Sopater of dom of God. Muason of Cyprus, au old disciple ;” Acts Berea, Acts xx. 4. These two seem to be the same who are xxi. 16. And there are diver's others, who may be observed mentioned again, Rom. xvi. 21, where they appear to have by attentive readers of the Acts, and St. Paul's Epistles. VOL. III.

3

II. What has been hitherto alleged we know from the books of the New Testament. It will be worth while to attend also to the informations of ecclesiastical history,

There is good reason to believe, that no Christians were involved in the miseries of the last siege of Jerusalem. They are supposed to have left it before the siege began. Some went to Pella, as mentioned by Eusebius, a “ city on the other side of Jordan. Others might go elsewhere, into 6 Asia, or other remote countries, where they could get a settlement. St. John, a as I suppose, left Judea, and went to Ephesus in the year 66, or thereabout, a short time before the war commenced. Some Jews of Jerusalem, and other parts of Judea, might go with him, or follow him afterwards. And, under his direction and assistance, they might procure a comfortable settlement in some places not far from him.

After the war was over in Judea, it is supposed, that the believers, who had retired into the country beyond Jordan, returned to Jerusalem, and formed a church there.

James, the Lord's brother, who had presided in the church of Jerusalem, died, as we suppose, in the year of Christ 62; who was succeeded by Simeon. In his ecclesiastical history Eusebius placeth his election after the destruction of Jerusalem; but in his Chronicle' it is so expressed, as if it had been done immediately after the death of James. That is no very material circumstance: nor are we able to determine which is right, for want of sufficient evidence. By Hegesippus he is : said to have been son of Cleophas, brother of Joseph; and therefore was our Lord's cousin-german. But Eusebius mentions that in a doubtful manner. We should therefore, as I apprehend, be cautious of being too particular in our decisions about it. However, Eusebius - justly reckons him among the eye and ear-witnesses of the Lord: and according to Hegesippus, whose ecclesiastical history Eusebius had before him, he suffered martyrdom in Trajan's persecution. We therefore, without liesitation, place his death at the year of our Lord 107; where also it is placed by Eusebius in * his chronicle. Simeon was then 120 years old. By order of Atticus, president of Syria, he was crucified: he must therefore have been born several years before our Lord; and, supposing him chosen bishop of Jerusalem in the year 62, he presided in that church more than forty years.

He was succeeded by Justus, a Jew; and, as Eusebius adds, “there! were then many believers of the circumcision.' • Then times of the ensuing successions of bishops at Jerusalem, · Eusebius says, he could never learn : but it was said they had sat in the see for a short time only. This he had learned from ancient writers, that to the war in Adrian's time, (about the year 132) there had been fifteen successions, who were all Hebrews by birth, and had held the

genuine doctrine of Christ.' Whose names are all put down by him. In this catalogue of fifteen, Eusebius reckons James the first, Simeon the second; after which there follow thirteen

Why their times were so short we cannot say; there is no reason to think that any of them were taken off by persecution : but possibly they were all in years, seniority being esteemed a ground of preference. After " their defeat by Adrian, the Jews were forbid to come to Jerusalem : from that time the church there consisted of Gentiles, whose first bishop was named Mark.

That there were Jews who believed in Jesus, we are assured even by Celsus the epicurean, who wrote against the Christians about the middle of the second century. In divers parts of his work he personates a Jew: it is likely that he had conversed with divers unbelievers of that nation. He consulted them, that they might assist him in his argument against the Christians,

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a H. E. I. 3. cap. 5. p. 75. A. Vid. et Epiph. H. 29. vii. εν Κλωπας, αδελφον τα Ιωσηφ υπαρχειν Ηγησιππος ισορει. H. 30. n. ii.

H. E. 1. 3.c. xi. p. 87. Conf. 1. 4. cap. 22. p. 142. C. b See The Supplement, in this Vol. ch. ix. sect. iii. and Λογισμα αν και τον Συμεωνα των αυτοπτων και αυτηch. xx. sect. vi.

κοων ειποι αν τις γεγονέναι το κυριε. L. 3. c. 32. p. 104. Β. c Credibile est, Judææ Christianos, non tantum Pellae, ad Ap. Eus. H. E. 1. 3. c. 32. p. 104. C. ortum Jordanis, commoratos esse, sed et per vicinas, immo k Trajano adversus Christianos persecutionem movente, et remotiores Romani imperii provincias, in quibus tutiores Simon, filius Cleopæ, qui in Jerosolymis episcopatum teneesse poterant, sparsos esse, &c. Cleric. H. E. an. 71. num. i. bat, crucifigitur. Cui succedit Justus. Ignatius quoque

• See The Supplement to the Credib. in this Vol. chap. ix. Antiochenæ ecclesiæ episcopus, Romam perductus, bestiis sect. iv. e H. E. L. 3. cap. xi.

traditur. Chr. p. 165. f

Jacobus, frater Domini, quem omnes Justum appella- 1....Της εν Ιεροσολύμοις επισκοπης τον θρονον Ιεδαιος τις bant, a Judæis lapidibus opprimitur ;. in cujus thronum ονομα Ιοςος, μυριων όσων εκ περιτομης εις τον Χριςον την ικαντα Simeon, qui et Simon, secundus assumitur. Chr. p. 161. επιςευκοτων εις και αυτος ων διαδεχεται. 1. 3. c. 35. p. 106. 8 ..., Ανεψιον, ως γε φασι, γεγονότα τη σωτηρος. Τον γαρ

m L. 4. cap. v.
" Ib. 1. 4. cap. 6. vid. et Chr. P.

167.

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