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P. 298. [1.] They had one common nature so far as they really conveyed, or were foolishly imagined to convey, benefits to the participants. But St. Paul joining to the Christian and the Jewish, the Gentile sacrificial Feasts, he thought it logically necessary to make a distinction between the real and the imaginary benefits ; which he does in this manner“What say I then that an Idol is any thing; or that which is offered to Idols is any thing? No, (says he) both are nothing, i. e. are equally incapable of conveying benefits. That this must be his meaning, appears from his predicating the same thing both of the Idol and the offering. Now as the offering had a PHYSICAL existence, what hindered but that, in his opinion, the Idol might have a METAPHY, SICAL? Though in an efficacious and MORAL sense, Both were nothing. This interpretation shews that the Apostle was perfectly consistent, when just before he calls these Idols NOTHING, and yet, presently after, says they were Devils, whom, we know, in his opinion, were SOMETHING. The calling these Idols, Devils, served to explain his meaning when he said Idols were nothing, to be this, that no benefit was to be expected from them. And to intimate yet further, that so far from receiving benefit from Idols, their Worshippers, by this intercourse with them, were subject to great harm and mischief. In order to insinuate this latter assertion, the Apostle clianges his first idea of an Idol, which lie used in common with the Gentiles, to this second, which he, and all the Christians of that time, had of them.—The Idols, to whom the Gentiles intentionally sacrificed, were their natioval Gods, the celestial Budies, their dead Ancestors; their kings and Benefactors; all of them, long ago, engrafted into the public worship. From such, the Apostle owns, they .conld receive neither good nor harm; these being only IDOLS OF THE BRAIN.—But SATAs or the Devil, as the Original Author and still the fomenter of Idolatry, makes him properly and peculiarly the IDOL OF THE ALTAR. From such an Idol, they, to whom the Apostle writes, must readily confess, much harın would arise from communicating with bin, in a Sacrificial or sacramental feast.
Of this capital Enemy of Mankind the Gentiles themselves had, somehow or other, received an obscure tradition; plentifully, indeed, contaminated with fable; which they still further polluted with new-invented Superstitions. Yet these still preserving a few traces of resemblance to the Mosaic History, and occasioning some conformity between the languages of error and revelation, have drawn unwary men into some dangerous conclusions, as if the Founders of our holy Religion had taken advantage of Pagan follies to form a system of DEMONOLOGY, agreeable to the preconceived fancies of their CONVERTS.--But of this, more in its place. The present occasion rather leads us to admire the Art by which the Sacred Writer has conducted his argument.
P. 319. [K.] It should seem most probable that the miraculous powers were, in general, occasional and temporary. But a learned Writer, who has declared himself of this opinion, hath unwarily put the gift of tongues into the number
" The Gift of Tongues upon the day of Pentecost (says he) was not tasting, but instantaneous and transitory; not bestowed upon them for the constant work of the Ministry, but as an occasional sign only, that a person endowed with it was a chosen
Ininister of the Gospel: which sign, as soon as it had “ served that particular purpose, seeins to have ceased, " and totally to have vanished*.
Would reason, or the truth of things, suffer us to be thus compliant, we might concede to Unbelievers all which they fancy the Learned Writer bath procured for them, that the power of tongues was temporary, and like the
power of healing, possessed occasionally,” without being alarmed at any consequence they will be able to deduce from it. For let it be granted, that the gift of tongues returned as often as they had occasion for its use, and it is no great matter where it resided in the interim.
* Dr. Middleton's Essay on the Gift of Tongues, Vol. II. of his
Works, p. 79.
But neither reason, nor the truth of things, will suffer us to be thus complaisant. The power of healing the diseased (to which Dr. M. compares the gift of tongues) .is, during the whole course of its operation, one continued arrest or diversion of the general laws of matter and motion; it was therefore very fitting that this power should be imparted occasionally. But the gift of tongues, when once it was conferred, became, from thenceforth, a natural power; just as the free and perfect use of the · members of the Body, after they had been restored, by miracle, to the exercise of their natural functions. Indeed, the loss of this gift of tongues, after the temporary use of it, would imply other miracles, as oft as there was occa sion to restore what was lost by actual deprivation. Unless we can suppose that the Apostles, in the exercise of this gilt, were merely irrational organs, Automati, through which certain sounds were conveyed. In a Ford, it was as much in the course of nature for an Apostle, when the holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost had enabled him to speak a strange language, ever afterwards to have the use of that language, as it was for the Cripple, whoin Jesus had restored to the use of his limbs on the sabbath day, ever afterwards to walk, to run, and perform all the functions of a man perfectly sound and entire.
In one thing, indeed, the power of healing the diseased, and of speaking with strange tongues, agreed.--As the Disciples could not heal at all times, and when they would; so neither could they speak when they woald, in an unknown tongue, when it was first essayed. Yet when the holy Spirit had once enabled them to speak and understand. a Language till then unknown to them, I conceive they must retain the use of it with the same facility as it wiey had acquired it in the ordinary way of instruction.
But the confusion in this matter, and the embarras which follows it, in the Doctor's stating the Question, arise from not distinguishing between the active power and the passive gift. Iu healing the diseased, the Apostles: are to be considered as the Workers of a Miracle; in
speaking speaking a strange tongue, as Subjects of a miracle perforned".
P: 335. [L] The serious Reader will be ready to ask, what learned discoveries they are wliich have encouFaged these men to innovate from the common opinion concerning the Gospel Demoniacs ? Ilave they found in the Scripture history of the Demoniac's anything either hurtful to morals, or false in Physics ? Nothing of either. And yet whatever is found there, they are not the finder's.
An excellent Divine of the last age had, in his extensive researches into antiquity, collected, that both Jews and Gentiles, at and before the time of Christ, were infected with one common Superstition, that Demons and the Souls of wicked men deceased frequently seized upon the bodies of the living, and tormented them in various ways. Hence he too hastily, yet with his usual modesty, insinuated, that the Possessions recorded in the Gospel, and called demoniacal, might be of that imaginary sort; and no other in reality than OCCULT DISEASES; which being intractable by the art of medicine, were supposed to be supernatural (as if a good Physician was a match for any thing but the Devil).- To the unhappy wretches so afficted, he supposed that Jesus miglit apply his salutary hands : and that to this malady, so relieved, the People gave the fashionable name by which, at that time, it was commonly distinguished.
Without doubt this truly learned Divine went the more readily into this bold opinion, as he had observed it to have been God's gracious method, in the course of his DISPENSATIONS, to take advantage of men's habitual prejudicef, towards the support of his Revelation, by keeping his servants attached to his Ordinances.
But, here, the excellent person should have distinguished (as his Followers † were not likely to do it for
* He who would see a more complete account of this whole affair and its dependencies, is recommended to the first Book of the Doctrine of Grace, or the Office anit Operation of the Holy Spirit, 3d Edition, Lond. 1763. [See vol. viii. of this Edit.] + Dr. Sykes-Dr. Lardner, &c. &c. cc4
him) him) between Rites and DOCTRINES. As they were Rites only, of which God was pleased to avail himself, for the benefit of his People, in order to combat, or to elude, their fondness for Pagan usages.-In matters of DOCTRINE, the like compliance was not, nor could be, safely indulged to them, without violating the truth of things ; and therefore Sacred Scripture affords us no example of such a condescension. In things pertaining only to Rites we have, indeed, many instances. Thus the use of linen-garments, lighted lamps, lustrations, and a multitude of other usages, in themselves indifferent, were brought out of fulse Religions into the true: and this, with high propriety and wisdom, while their new destination sanotified their use; and their use served to the Casici introduction of the new establishment. But to assert and support a groundless, superstitious opinion (if such it were) of Diabolical possessions, would be the infecting and contaminating the Christian Faith.
However, if the admirable Author of this hurtful Novelty did himself miss of so just and obvious a distinction, ive havc less reason to wonder that those of his Followers, who only ained at something, by a faint reflection from the other's learning, should not hit (as we have said) upon what their Master had overlooked.
A late eminent Physician, who hath borrowed this notion professedly froin this great man, acted a more nodest and becoming part. He might pretend, by virtue of his Profession, and still more by his superior skill in it, to a profounder insight into Nature: At the same time, Theology, being in another department, he was the more excusable, if he did not see all that this Divine Science opposed to the Opinion; an Opinion, which miglit be said to descend to him, by inheritance from his great namesake and relation: whose conciseness, strength, and modesty of reasoning, he hath so well copied, that to confute objections so borrowed, will be to overthrow the whole System of the Antidemoniac Party*
In “ Ut redeam autem ad Dæmoniacos; son mea est, profesio, sed aliorun inte me pietate & doctrina prestäntium vireroin sententia quum hic propeo. Et proximo quidem sæculw, inter nostrates etiam 11