« AnteriorContinuar »
place to that which is filled by St. Paul's Epistle to the Colossians. In the doctrinal substance of his teaching, and in the practical application of the great principles of the Christian Faith to moral and social Duty, St. Peter, in his First Epistle to the Jewish Christians, exhibits his perfect agreement with the Apostle of the Gentiles in his exhortations to the great Gentile Church of Ephesus. In his Second General Epistle, St. Peter adds force and solemnity to the warnings of St. Paul to the Churches of Phrygia, concerning the immoral consequences arising from heretical denials or perversions of those Christian doctrines, which were propounded by St. Paul in his Epistle to the Ephesians, and by St. Peter himself in his First General Epistle.
Thus the two great Apostles, St. Peter and St. Paul, are seen standing side by side, teaching the same divine verities, and uttering the same cautions against corruptions of the Faith.
The proof of this statement will be submitted to the reader's consideration in the Introduction to the Second Epistle of St. Peter'.
On one grave question St. Peter had, upon one occasion, differed from St. Paul. That difference arose in a discussion concerning the terms and conditions, upon which the Gentile converts were to be received into the Christian Church.
The circumstances of that controversy between the two Apostles have been narrated by St. Paul in one of his Epistles, the Epistle to the Galatians 2.
St. Peter addressed his First Epistle to the Asiatic Christians; and he particularizes the Galatians as among those to whom he writes 3.
It is remarkable, that in this Epistle St. Peter adopts the very words which are used by St. Paul in his Epistle to the Galatians, concerning that same question which had formerly been an occasion of altercation between them 1.
It is also observable, that St. Peter, in his Second Epistle, written to the same parties as the first 5, and written also a little before his own death, and, consequently, a little before the death of his brother Apostle, St. Paul, who suffered martyrdom at Rome about the same time as St. Peter', declares his own affectionate regard for his "beloved brother Paul," and commends "all his Epistles" as "Scripture."
Thus the Holy Spirit, speaking by the mouth of St. Peter a little before his decease, declares the divine Inspiration of St. Paul's Epistles; and by the gifts and graces of faith and love, peace and joy, patience and courage, poured into St. Peter's heart, He enabled him to unite with his brother Apostle, St. Paul, in preaching the same Faith, and in sealing that testimony with his blood.
The Catholic or General Epistles possess also a peculiar interest in their mutual relation to each other.
1 See below, pp. 69, 70.
2 See Gal. ii. 11-21, and the Review of that chapter in the notes at the end of it.
3 1 Pet. i. 1.
* See below, Introduction to St. Peter's First Epistle, and note on 1 Pet. ii. 16.
$ 2 Pet. iii. 1.
62 Pet. i. 13, 14.
See below, Introduction to St. Peter's First Epistle, p. 44.
See note below on 2 Pet. iii. 15, 16.
The writer of the first of these Epistles is St. James, the Lord's brother, the first Bishop of Jerusalem, who died a Martyr to the faith in that city'.
St. James, as we have seen, connects the Catholic Epistles with St. Paul's. St. Peter in his First Epistle often adopts the language of St. James 2.
The Holy Spirit, writing by St. Jude, the brother of St. James, frequently reiterates the language of St. Peter's Second Epistle3; and displays the fulfilment of the prophecies which had been delivered in that Epistle of St. Peter.
There is also good reason to believe, that the Second Epistle of St. John has an intimate relation, of a very interesting kind, to the First Epistle of St. Peter'.
Thus those Epistles are connected together in a sacred network, and are woven together in a beautiful and almost seamless texture of substance and expression.
Each of these General Epistles performs also its appointed and appropriate work. St. James confutes the errors of those who imagined that a speculative knowledge of religion, and theoretical profession of belief, is acceptable to God, irrespectively of practical piety; and he exhibits Christian Faith in its true character as the essential energizing principle of Christian Life.
St. Peter, in his First Epistle, follows St. James, and builds up, as it were, a systematic structure of moral duty on the solid foundation of Christian Faith. He applies the doctrines of the Gospel to the social and domestic relations of Rulers and Subjects, Husbands and Wives, Masters and Servants.
In his Second Epistle, St. Peter condemns the erroneous tenets of heretical Teachers, who denied the doctrines of Christ's Godhead and Incarnation, and of the Atonement made by Him on the Cross, and he exposes the immoral consequences of those tenets, and displays the licentious profligacy of those Teachers and their adherents.
St. Jude in his Epistle completes the work of St. Peter. He recalls the attention of the Church to St. Peter's prophetical warnings, and points out the fulfilment of St. Peter's Apostolic forebodings 3.
St. John also, in his Epistles, had a special function to discharge.
His brother Apostles, St. Peter and St. Jude, had denounced the proud presumption, the anarchical lawlessness, and the carnal sensuality of heretical Teachers. St. John deals with the heresies concerning the Manhood and Divinity of Christ, in their theological bearings on the whole body of Christian Doctrine. He shows that those heresies corrode and fret away, like a canker, the very vitals of Christian Theology, and destroy the very essence of Christian Faith, Hope, and Charity.
"Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father "." "He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God, hath not life "." "This is His commandment, that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love
A.D. 62. See below, Chronological Table, p. xi, and Introduction to St. James, p. 12, and Chronological Synopsis prefixed to the Acts of the Apostles, p. 25, new edit., or p. xxxvii, 1st edit.
2 See below, p. 12, note, and on 1 Pet. i. 16.
See the Introduction to St. Jude's Epistle, p. 132.
See below, Introduction to St. John's Second Epistle, p. 123.
' Jude 17.
• Described below, in the Introduction to St. John's First Epistle, pp. 98–101. 1 John ii. 23.
8 1 John v. 12.
one another '." "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be a propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another 2." Here is the strongest motive to Christian holiness. "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. And every one that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure "."
The Catholic Epistles, thus contemplated, in relation to St. Paul's Epistles, and to each other, are recognized as mutually auxiliary and suppletory to each other; and minister salutary cautions to every age, against heretical error, sectarian divisions and antinomian licence; and constitute a divinely-organized system of instruction in Christian Doctrine and Practice; and approve themselves to be works of the same Divine Spirit, "dividing to every one severally as He will."
Thus the Holy Apostles of Christ are seen standing together like beautiful statues, each in its own niche, on the front of some venerable Minster; and join together in the harmonious consent of one Faith, and in grateful ascriptions of glory to God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. "HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, Lord God of Sabaoth; Heaven and Earth are full of Thy Majesty. The glorious Company of the Apostles praise Thee."
The further elucidation of this subject in detail is reserved for the Introductions prefixed to the several Epistles.
The relation of the APOCALYPSE, or REVELATION of St. John, to the other parts of Holy Scripture, will be considered in the Introduction and Notes to that Book".
Recent events appear to be imparting a fresh interest of solemn importance to some portions of the Apocalypse. It may be not irrelevant to mention, that the Notes upon it in the present Volume were written before their occurrence.
The Editor now reverently commits the last portion of his labours on the New Testament to the gracious favour and blessing of the Divine Author of Holy Scripture, with a devout tribute of thankfulness to Him for His great mercy and goodness in enabling him to bring the work to a close, and with fervent and earnest supplication and prayer, that He would vouchsafe to accept it as an offering of praise, and that He would be pleased to make it subservient and ministerial to His own Glory, and to the salvation of souls, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
STANFORD IN THE VALE, October 3, 1860.
FROM THE BIRTH OF CHRIST TO THE END OF THE FIRST CENTURY.
Birth of JESUS CHRIST probably A.U.c. 749, four years before the common era.
Presentation in the Temple, forty days after the Nativity.
Flight into Egypt.
Herod's death, a little before the Passover, A.U.c. 750.
On the sequence of these events, see above on Matt. ii. 9.
Jesus is catechized in the Temple (Luke ii. 42-49).
Death of the Emperor Augustus (19th August). Tiberius succeeds.
Jesus Christ begins His Ministry (Luke iii. 23; cp. notes on Matt. ii. 9. 20).
The Crucifixion of Christ at the Passover.
38-41. "Rest of the Churches" (Acts ix. 31).
His Ascension, forty days after His Resurrection.
The Descent of the Holy Spirit at the Feast of Pentecost fifty days after the Passover.
St. Stephen's Martyrdom (Acts vii.). Saul was then a veavías (vii. 58).
St. Philip's Missionary Journey (Acts viii. 5—40).
St. Peter and St. John at Samaria. Simon Magus (Acts viii. 14–24).
Saul's Conversion (Acts ix. 1-22): cp. Euseb. H. E. ii. 1; and see note below on 1 Tim. i. 13.
Saul retires to Arabia (Gal. i. 17).
Pontius Pilate is recalled from his procuratorship in Judæa (Joseph. Ant. xviii. 4. 2).
Damascus occupied by Aretas, who appoints an Ethnarch there.
"After many days" (ix. 23), Saul escapes from Damascus.
Goes up to Jerusalem; where he remains fifteen days, and sees Peter and James (Gal. i. 18,
19. Acts ix. 26, 27); and disputes with the Grecians; Saul is sent to Tarsus (ix. 30). The Emperor Tiberius dies 16th March; Caligula succeeds.
St. Peter's Missionary Journey (ix. 32-43). He tarries at Joppa many days (ix. 43).
St. Matthew's Gospel written probably about this time (cp. Introduction, p. xlix-lii, and
Euodius, first Bishop of Antioch (Euseb. Chron. ii. p. 269. Clinton, F. R. App. ii. p. 548).
The Apostle St. James, the brother of John, is killed with the sword (Acts xii. 2), and St.
Saul and Barnabas having been deputed by the Christians at Antioch (xi. 27-30) to
Their first Missionary Journey to Cyprus (Paphos), and Pisidia, and Perga in Pamphylia
A controversy arises at Antioch concerning the obligation of the Ceremonial Law (xv. 1, 2).
Paul and Barnabas, and some others, are deputed to go from Antioch to Jerusalem, "to the Apostles and Elders," concerning this matter (xv. 2, 3).
50, 51. Council of Jerusalem, at which Peter and James, Paul and Barnabas, are present (xv.
Paul and Barnabas return to Antioch, where they remain some time (xv. 35, 36). Dispute
of St. Paul and St. Peter at Antioch, concerning the Ceremonial Law. St. Peter is rebuked by St. Paul (Gal. ii. 11–13).
The altercation and separation of Paul and Barnabas (Acts xv. 39).
Paul takes Silas (xv. 40) on his second Missionary Journey, and afterwards Timothy also at
Lystra (xvi. 1).
52-54. St. Paul passes through Phrygia and Galatia to Troas (xvi. 6. 8). Thence crosses over to
Philippi (xvi. 12), Thessalonica (xvii. 1), Berœa (xvii. 10); thence to Athens (xvii. 15). St. Luke's Gospel written probably about this time. See the Introduction to that Gospel,
p. 168, and notes on 1 Thess. v. 2. 27, and 2 Cor. viii. 18; and cp. Clem. Alex. in Euseb. vi. 14.
St. Paul comes to Corinth, where he spends a year and six months (xviii. 1. 11).
St. Paul writes his two Epistles to the Thessalonians. See the Introduction to those Epistles, pp. 1, 2, and 25.
Epistle to the Galatians written probably about this time from Corinth. See the Introduction to that Epistle, pp. 36-41.
St. Paul sets sail from Cenchrea in the spring for Ephesus, on his way to Jerusalem, for the feast, probably Pentecost (xviii. 18, 19).
The Emperor Claudius dies (13th October, A.D. 57), and Nero succeeds.
After a short visit at Jerusalem (xviii. 21),
St. Paul returns by way of Antioch, where he spends some time (xviii. 22), and Galatia and Phrygia, where he confirms all the disciples (xviii. 23), and by the upper regions
of Asia Minor (xix. 1) to Ephesus; where he spends three years (xx. 31)—three months
in the Synagogue, and two years in the school of Tyrannus (xix. 8-10).
First Epistle to the Corinthians. See Introduction to that Epistle, pp. 75-77.
Epistle to the Romans, written at Corinth or Cenchreæ. See Introduction to it, p. 203.
of Ephesus, and gives them an Apostolic charge (xx. 17), and Tyre (xxi. 3), and lands