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though they are incongruous with its simplicity and glory. How can I assist in a service, which in my opinion, is an insult on the God whom I adore? How can I approach the table of the Lord with a man, who rejects all the mysteries, which God exhibits there and so of the rest. Retain, then, all the parts of this definition, and you will form a just notion of toleration. This moderation, always necessary among
christians, was particularly so in the primitive ages of christianity. The first churches were composed of two sorts of proselytes; some of them were born of Jewish parents, and had been educated in Judaism, others were converted from paganism; and both, generally speaking, after they had embraced christianity, preserved some traces of the religions which they had renounced. Some of them retained scruples, from which just notions of christian liberty, it should seem, might have freed them. They durst not eat some foods which God gave for the nourishment of mankind, I mean, the flesh of animals, and they atę only herbs. They set apart certain days for devotional exercises : not from that wise motive, which ought to engage every rational man to take a portion of his life from the tumult of the world, in order to consecrate it to the service of his Creator; but from I know not what notion of pre-eminence, which they attributed to some days above others. Thus far all are agreed in regard to the design of St. Paul in the text.
Nor is there any difficulty in determining which of the two orders of christians of whom we spoke, St. Paul considers as an object of toleration ; whether that class, which came from the Gentiles, or that, which came from the Jews. It is plain the last is intended. Every body, knows that the law of Moses ordained a great number of feasts under the penalty of the great anathema. It was very natural for the converted Jews to retain a fear of incurring that penalty, which followed the infraction of those laws, and to carry their veneration for those festivals too far.
There was one whole sect among the Jews, that abstained entirely from the flesh of animals ; they were the Essenes. Josephus expressly affirms this; and Philo assures us, that their tables were free from every thing, that had blood, and were served with only bread, salt, and hyssop. As the Essenes professed a severity of manners, which had some likeness to the morality of Jesus Christ, it is probable, many of them embraced christianity, and in it interwove a part of the peculiarities of their own sect.
I do not think, however, that St. Paul had any particular view to the Essenes, at least, we are not obliged to suppose, that his views were confined to them. All the world know, that Jews have an aversion to blood. A Jew, exact in his religion, does not eat flesh now-a-days with christians, lest the latter should not have taken sufficient care to discharge the blood. When, therefore, St. Paul describes converted Jews by their scrupulosity in regard to the eating of blood, he does not speak of what they did in their own families, but of what they practised, when they were invited to a conviviai repast with people, who thought themselves free from the prohibition of eating blood, whether they were gentiles yet involved in the darkness of paganism, or gentile converts to christianity. Thus far our subject is free from difficulty.
The difficulty lies in the connection of the maxim in the text with the end, which St. Paul proposeth in establishing it. What relation is there between christian toleration and this maxim ? None of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself ? How doth it follow from this principle, whether we live, we live unto the Lord, or, whether we die, we die unto the Lord, how doth it follow from this principle, that we ought to tolerate those, who, through the weakness of their minds, mix some errors with the grand truths of christianity, and with the new testament worship some ceremonies which obscure its simplicity, and debase its glory?
The solution lies in the connection of the text with the foregoing verses, and particularly with the fourth verse, who art thou, that judgest another man's servant ? To judge in this place does not signify to discern, but to condemn. The word has this meaning in a hundred passages of the new testament. I confine myself to one passage for example. If we judge ourselves, we should not be judged, 1 Cor. xi. 31. that is to say, if we would condemn ourselves at the tribunal of repentance, after we have partaken unworthily of the Lord's supper, we should not be condemned at the tribunal of divine justice. In like manner, who art thou, that judgest another man's servant ? is as much as to say, who art thou that condemnest ? St. Paul meant to make the christians of Rome understand, that it belonged only to the sovereign of the church to absolve or to condemn, as he saw fit.
But who is the supreme head of the church? Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ, who, with his father, is over all, God blessed forever, Rom. ix. 5. Jesus Christ, by dying for the church, acquired this supremacy, and in virtue of it all true christians render him the homage of adoration.
All this is clearly expressed by our apostle, and gives us an occasion to treat of one of the most abstruse points of christian theology.
That Jesus Christ is the supreme head of the church, according to the doctrine of St. Paul, is expressed by the apostle in the most clear and explicit manner; for after he hath said, in the words of the text, whether we live, or die, we are the Lord's, he adds immediately, for to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.
That this Jesus, whose, the apostle says, we are, is God, the apostle does not permit us to doubt ; for he confounds the expressions to eat to the Lord, and to give God thanks ; to stand before the judgment seat of Christ, and to give account of himself to God; to be Lord both of the dead and living, ver. 6. 10. 12. and this majestic language, which would be blasphemy in the mouth of a simple creature, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess ta God, ver. 11.
Finally, That Jesus Christ acquired that supremacy by his sufferings and death, in virtue of which all true christians render him the homage of adoration, the apostle establisheth, if possible, still more clearly. This appears by the words just now cited, to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living, ver. 8. 11. To the same purpose the apostle speaks in the epistle to the Philippians, He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God hath also highly exalted him, and given him a name, which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth ; and that every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. This is the sovereign
ty which Jesus Christ acquired by dying for the church.
But the most remarkable, and at the same time the most difficult article on this subject, is this. These texts, which seem to establish the divinity of Christ in a manner so clear, furnish the greatest objection, that hath ever been proposed against it. True, say the enemies of this doctrine, Jesus Christ is God, since the scripture commands us to worship him.
But his divinity is an acquired divinity ; since that supremacy, which entitles him to adoration as God, is not an essential, but an acquired supremacy. Now, that this supremacy is acquired is indubitable, since the texts, that have been cited, expressly declare, that it is a fruit of his sufferings and death. We have two arguments to offer in reply.
1. If it were demonstrated, that the supremacy established in the forecited texts was only acquired, and not essential, it would not therefore follow, that Jesus Christ had no other supremacy belonging to him in common with the Father and the holy Spirit. We are commanded to worship Jesus Christ, not only because he died for us, but also because he is eternal and almighty, the author of all beings, that exist : and because he hath all the perfections of Deity as we can prove by other passages, not necessary to be repeated here.
2. Nothing hinders that the true God, who, as the true God, merits our adoration, should require every day new rights over us, in virtue of which we have new motives of rendering those homages to him, which, we acknowledge he always infinitely merited. Always when God bestows a new blessing, he acquireth a new right. What was Jacob's opinion, when he made this vow? If God will be with me, and will keep me in the way that