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The following Note, by Dr. Priestley, on Matth. viii. 22. gives a very satisfactory interpretation of the text :
• Let the dead bury their dead.] i. e. Let worldly-minded men mind worldly things. Death is often used in this moral and figurative fenfe, as, dead in trespasses and fins, &c. It is probable that this man thought, that by waiting will the death of his father, the uncomfortable life that our Lord now led would be over, and he would be entering upon his kingdom.'
Luke ix. 62. is thus judiciously paraphrased :
• As no man is fit to manage a plough who looks behind him, and is not intent upon his work: so no man fit for the kingdom of heaven, who does not give his whole attention to it, and who, in the present circumstances of things, is not even ready to abandon all for it.'
Dr. Priestley thus explains Luke x. 18.:
• I bebeld Satan as lightning fall from beaven ;] i. e. falling as rapidly as lightning seems to fall from heaven. By Satan is here meant the supposed cause of poffeffion, and may be extended to evils of all kinds, moral as well as natural.'
The following remark on the Parable of the good Samaritan is equally just and useful :
• An excellent parable, to shew that we are not to enquire into the relation that an object of distress bears to us. It is enough that the a Micted are men, and therefore feel as we should do in the same cir. cumstances.'
We lay the following Notes before our Readers, as containing much curious and useful matter. They will remember that those which have a capital T at the end are Mr. Turner's, those that are marked J, Dr. Jebb's, and those without a mark, Dr. Priestley's.
Matth. viii. 28. As it was the current opinion among the Jews, that madness was owing to a poffeffion with an evil spirit, the mad. men themselves, who once had their senses, muft, of course, have had the same notion. These madmen, as is not uncommon, knew themselves to be so, and therefore thought themselves to be poffefsed, and spoke in that character. For reasons, of which we may not be competent judges, our Lord thought proper to transfer the madness from these men to the swine. Perhaps to punish them for keeping those animals, which by the Law of Moses they were not allowed to cat, and which by a law of Hyrcanus they were forbidden to keep.'
It is generally imagined, that the people of this country be. fought Jesus to depart out of their coafts, through disike to him and his doctrine ; but their request might be dictated by the same apprehenfion that led Peter to say, after the miraculous draught of filhes, Depart from me, for I am a finfal man. They were convinced that Jesus was a Prophet, and might be afraid that he was come to punilh them for their fins. It is observable, that Jesus ordered these madmen to publish the miracle of their cure. Perhaps, as he was leaving their country, and did not intend to spend much time there, he was not apprehensive of any inconvenience from it. It could not be owing to the incredulity of the people; for, if they had not been
convinced of his miraculous power, they would not have contented themselves with befeeching him to leave their coasts, but, irritated at the loss of their swine, would, probably, have insulted and abused him.'
• Mark vi. 33. Many knew it *.] It is much more probable that the place whither they were going should be spoken of as known to the people, who might have been informed of it by the Apostles.
That many of them should know Jesus himself, could hardly be worth noticing. It would have been rather extraordinary, if, after all that had passed, they fhould not have known 'hin. Perhaps σoλλον Steyway may here mean, that many observed, or watched him, to find whither he was going. Ji'
• V. 40. It should rather have been rendered by a hundred and by. fifty ; i. e. one hundred in front and fifty deep, which makes the whole number five thousand, v. 44. This gives a clear idea of the arrangement. Ti'
John vi, 32. Probably aanduvar ought to be understood as agree.. ing with the former as well as the latter
gave you not the true bread from heaven ; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. T.'
• V.70. One of you is a traytor, or the devil.] This may be ren. · dered, one of you is a falfe accufer. And + as the fame term is ge
nerally used for the fource or principle of evil, and there is no allofion to any particular act of treachery on this occafion, our Lord might only mean to fay that he was a bad man, notwichttanding the many advantages he had had for religious instruction. Thus our Lord called Peter Satan, when what he suggested was of an evil nature and tendency.'
Matth. xvii. 13. It is something remarkable, that both Moses and Elijah had, like Jesus, fafted forty days, the one when he gave the Law to the Ifraelites, and the other when he attempted to recover them to a due regard to their Law after a time of great degeneracy. It is observable also, that Elijah had been translated to heaven without dying ; and if it be said of Moses that he died in the mount, to wbich God called him, yet he went up in perfect health and vigour, nobody was permitted to accompany him, and his place of burial could never be found. It is therefore not improbable that he never properly died, but was translated also. Since, however, he was with Jelus on the Mount of Transfiguration, in company with Elijah, we may presume that they were then in the fame ftate, and consequently. that Moses, as well as Enoch and Elijah, are now living with Christ. Whether these be all his attendants of the human race we cannot tell, and it concerns us not to know. All his faithful disciples and followers will receive the joyful fummons to attend him at a proper time.'
John viii. 58. 'I am.] Chrift had used these words twice before in this discourse, in both which places our translators have added the word he; why they have not done she same here, it is difficult to aflign a good reason. V. 24.-If ye believe not that (tyú cipes) I am be, ye laall die in your fins. V. 28. When ye have lifted up the Son of Man, then shall ye know that (syw eige) I am be. In both these parfages I presume that we are to underttand be that was promised; or in Our version has, Many knew him.
† Lege, Or.
the words of the Baptist, Matth. xi. 3. be that should come. So here: before Abraham was, I am be that hould come, orl I am he that was promised before Abraham was. T.'
John X. 26, 27, Read the passage thus, 26. But ye believe not, for ye are not of my sheep. 27: As I said unto you ; v. 4. 14.) my Theep bear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. T.'
Macth. xx. 28. “Give bis life a ransom for many ;] i. e. fall deliver, or rescue many, viz. from sin and mifery, by means of his Gofpel, which was signally confirmed by his death and refurrection, Thus God is said to redeem, or ransom, the Israelites from Egypt, by an exertion of his power, not by giving a price for them.'
Mark xiii. 32. Neither the Son] It is very extraordinary that any person can read this passage, and imagine Christ to be the omniscient God. Pearce observes, that these words are not in the old manuscripts of St. Ambrose's days, and therefore thinks them an interpolation. But this makes no difference ; because, whether the Son be mentioned or not, the knowledge of the day of judgment is expressly confined to the Father only. That Chrift should know this as God, but be ignorant of it as man, which Pearce supposes, is too triling to be replied to. On this principle there could be no union of the two natures, and consequently Jesus would be no more God than he is upon the scheme of Socinus.'
Luke xxii, 68. * And if I also ask you.] f I should argue the matter with you, putting questions to you, according to the cuftom of disputations in ancient times, as we see in Socrates.'
• Ib. You would not answer me.] i. e. You would not discuss the matter fairly.'
The two following Notes of Dr. Priestley evidently refer to the sentiments he has advanced in his other writings respecting the conftitution of human nature. We leave them to the judgment of our Readers.
: Matth. X. 28. • Not able to kill the foul, but rather fear him who is able to deftroy both foul and body in hell.] In this our Lord might express himself according to the philosophical principles that perhaps began about that time to spread among the Jews, as well as he did concerning poffeffion by dæmons. Or by toxr, which we render foul, he might mean no more than life, but the future and better life, in opposition to the present; God being able to put an end even to this, in the utter annihilation of the wicked. It is observable, even here, that the only punishment of the soul that our Lord speaks of, is in company with the body. Nothing is said of its existing in a ftate separate from the body. And it might very well be conceived, that the faculty of ihinking belonged to fomething in man different from the rest of his body; and this might even be subdivided in idea, as
into foul and spirit, as by Paul, and yet the whole be thought to be corporeal, inseparable, and consequently not capable of sublifting but in conjunction,',
Luke xvi. 19. It is evident that this parable does not represent the soul as a substance distinct from the body, but is formed upon the idea of the whole man being removed into a future state before the usual time. For when the beggar dies, it is not faid that his soul, but that he himself, was carried into Abraham's borom. It is also the
rich man, and not his foul only, that lifted up his eyes in hell; and the pains he complains of are such as could affect his body only. Also when Abraham speaks of Lazarus returning to the world, he evi. dently refers to a real resurrection : neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead. The general resurrection is never mentioned in any
other terms.' To the specimens that we have already given of The Paraphrase, we shall subjoin the following:
John vi. 44. Do not imagine that I am very anxious about gaining you to be my disciples. The success of my Gospel, in this age, as well as in every future age, will be such as my father shall judge to be most proper.
But whoever shall become my disciple, not in name only, but in deed and in truth, I will raise him up to eternal life at the last day. 45. That the success of my preaching depends upon the good will and providence of God, is attested by the Prophets, who say that they small be all taught of God. All, therefore, who come to me, must be those whose hearts it shall please God to be so well disposed as to hear and receive the truth. 45. Not that I speak of any miraculous influence of the Divine Being, so that men shall be impelled to become my disciples by a direct impulse from him. This is true only of myself, who have the most intimate and peculiar communication with God. What I mean by hearing and learning of the Father is, hearing and learning things by those means which the Divine Being has provided in the course of his common Providence, and agreeable to the general laws which he has ekablished in nature.'
Luke xvi. 10-12. • And not the rich only, but even the poorest may follow the same maxim ; for he whose disposition leads him to justice and charity, will be just and charitable, whether he has little or much. If, therefore, you have made a bad use of the things of this world, how can you expect that things of more consequence will be intrufted to you ? If you have been unfaithful in a crust as stewards, how can you expect to be rewarded by your employer, with an estate of your own?
john xi. 50-52. Caiaphas said, It is certainly better for us to destroy this one man at once, than run the risk of bringing the whole vengeance and power of the Romans upon us, in order to crush the seditions that will be excited by him, which might be the utter ruin of the whole nation, 51. Now Caiaphas being the High Priest that year, his words may be considered as prophetical, and in a much more important sense than he had any idea of. For in fact, Jesus did die for the whole nation, aod not for that natión only, but for the benefit of the whole world, who, by becoming Christians, are united under one head, and brought to join in the worship of the one living and true God.'
Matth. xxvi. 26. • This is my body.] This you are to consider as a representation and memorial of my body, which, like this bread, is shortly to be broken for you. 28. This wine also, is a representation and memorial of my blood, which is shed in confirmation of thąc Gospel, in which the doctrines of repentance and forgiveness of fin will be preached to all nations. 29. I shall not henceforth partake
of any more entertainments with you, till I join with you in a much more delightful one in the kingdom of heaven.'
John xvii. 4. Since, now, O father, I have promoted thy glory on earth, and have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. 5. Exalt me, I intreat thee, to thy right hand, which is the state of glory that thou hadft appointed for me before the world was.'
v. 17. May their minds be thoroughly seasoned and fortified by a firm belief of the great truths which they are to teach to others, and be thus consecrated and set apart for the office of the Apoftlethip.'
V. 20. Neither do I now pray for these my Apostles only, who are now present with me, but for all that shall be converted to the Ohriftian religion through their preaching, even all those who, to the end of the world, shall become my disciples, 21. That they may all form one connected compact body, by an union as intimate as that which subfifts between thee and me, that they all may be one with us, and that the whole world, seeing the good effects of this divine harmony, may be convinced of my divine million.'
22. As they are one with me in affe&tion and design, I am also defirous that they should share with me in the glory which thou gavest me; that in this refpect also they may be one with us, as thou and myself art one ; 23. I being considered as dwelling in them, and thou in me, that their union with us may be comple:ed, and that all the world may be convinced that thou hast sent me, and that thou wilt love and honour them, even as thou hast loved and ho. poured me.?
24. It is my final with, that all my faithful followers may enjoy my presence hereafter, and may behold and share in the glory which thou givet me, and which thou haft designed for me from the foun. dation of the world.'
We could willingly transcribe much more of this judicious explanation of our Saviour's last prayer for his disciples; but our limits forbid. Our Readers will observe, that Dr. Priestley has paraphrased the whole of the 14th, 15th, 16th, and 17th chapters of St. John's Gospel.
In the Paraphrase of John viii. by introducing the name of God, v. 18. the question of the Jews, v. 19. Where is thy Father is rendered unnatural and absurd. So likewise, v. 32, the meaning of our Lord is so fully explained, as to leave no ground for the offence which they took at his expressions.
Dr. Priestley has thus judiciously paraphrased John X. 29, 30.
« My Father, who has given me this power,' (the power of giving eternal life to all his fincere followers). and to whose Providence I ascribe all the success of my doctrine, is greater than all, and no one is able to frustrate his designs. 20. And in this respect I and my Father are to be considered as one and the same, since what I do is by power communicated to me from him.'
To this we shall add the paraphrase on ver. 35, &c. for the fake of a remark: