Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

they have not some good reason for their judgment, who dislike the denomination or inscription, taken notice of at the beginning of this letter. A Magdalen house for penitent pr-tes.'

It appears to me a great abuse of the name of a truly honourable, and I think truly excellent woman. If Mary's shame had been manifest, and upon record, she could not have been worse stigmatized: whereas the disadvantageous opinion concerning the former part of her life is founded only in an uncertain and conjectural deduction. And if the notion, that she was the woman in Luke vii. be no more than a vulgar error, it ought to be abandoned by wise men, and not propagated, and perpetuated.*

Besides, are there no bad consequences of a moral kind to be apprehended from this mistaken, or at best very doubtful opinion? Some, perhaps many, will be admitted into these houses, who have lived very dissolute lives, and have been very abandoned creatures. And the proofs of the repentance of some may be very ambiguous. Nevertheless all who get into houses, called Magdalen houses, will reckon themselves Magdalens. If they have been first taught to impute to her their own vices, they will soon learn to ascribe to themselves her virtues, whether with reason or without. At the lowest, they will be encouraged to magnify themselves beyond what might be wished; where humility, as we may think, should be one requisite qualification. And indeed I imagine, it would be best, that these houses should not have the denomination of any

saint at all.

It is not my intention to disparage your institution. I hope that many of your patients may be recovered to wisdom and virtue: though I cannot see the reason why they should be called Magdalens.

It may not be proper for me to recommend another inscription: but I apprehend that a variety might be thought of, all of them decent and inoffensive. I shall propose one, which is very plain: A charity house for penitent women:' which, I think, sufficiently indicates their fault; and yet is, at the same time, expressive of tenderness, by avoiding a word of offensive sound and meaning, denoting the lowest disgrace that human nature can fall into, and which few modest men and women can think of without pain and uneasiness. Or, if that title is not reckoned distinct and particular enough, with a small alteration, it may be made, for penitent harlots.'

·

Perhaps you will say, that this letter has been brought to you too late; and I could now almost wish you had had it sooner, provided it contains any thing deserving your regard: for these thoughts, or most of them did early arise in my mind upon the first intelligence concerning this new design; but I declined the labour of putting them together. And I was also in hopes, that the point would be considered by some pious clergyman, or other learned man, apprehensive of consequences, and concerned for the honour of our Saviour, and his friends, as well as desirous to promote the good of his neighbours, and other fellow-creatures of his own time.

Your humble Servant,

October 2, 1758.

END OF THE LETTER TO HANWAY.

"

Since writing what is above, and indeed the whole of this Letter, I have met with a book, entitled Thoughts on the Plan for a Magdalen House for Repentant Prostitutes, addressed to the promoters of this charity. Where, at p. 23, is this paragraph. Give me leave to take notice of the name of your charity. It does not appear to me, that Mary 'Magdalene was deficient in point of chastity, as is vulgarly ' understood. I rather imagine she was not. It is certain, 'she was a lady of distinction, and of a great and noble mind. 'Her gratitude for the miraculous cure performed upon her was so remarkable, that her story is related with the greatest 'honour. And she will ever stand fair in the records of fame. Your charity requires a zeal like hers. You are her dis'ciples. And the dedication of your institution to her memory is entirely cousistent with the honour due to her character. And in this light no name more proper could be given to it.' Any one may be sensible, that the justice done to Mary Magdalene in the former part of this paragraph, is very pleas

6

[ocr errors]

A. B.

ing to me. But I do not perceive, how the title, pleaded for, can be consistent with the honour due to her character. For it carries in it an implication, that she once laboured under the like bad habits with the women placed under the roof of the houses dedicated to her; which houses, with this title, will uphold the popular opinion against the best arguments. And Mary Magdalene, rather than any other, must still be the patroness of penitents, because she is supposed to have been for some while a great sinner. An understanding man, like the author of these thoughts, may now and then declare in conversation, and in writing, that Mary Magdalene was not deficient in point of chastity: but to little or no purpose. These houses, so named, will be new monuments erected, in a protestant country, to the dishonour of a virtuous woman, added to all others of the like kind, which there are already in popish countries; in which, especially some of them, ignorance and superstition prevail to a great degree. And may they never so prevail, and be so general among us!

A

LETTER

TO THE AUTHORS OF THE LIBRARY, &c.

GENTLEMEN,

I HOPE you will find room in your Magazine for some critical observations upon the Scriptures. I send you the following, which you are at liberty to make such use of as you please.

2 Cor. v. 14. "For the love of Christ constraineth us, because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead." I think it should be rendered, "then should all die."

That this is the sense, appears from the connection in the next verse: I therefore shall briefly paraphrase both the verses.

❝ one

"For the love of Christ constraineth us, we judging this, that if," or, forasmuch as, died for all:" then without all doubt, "all should die," to sin, and the world: "and that he died for all, that they which live, should not henceforth live unto themselves," seeking only their own gratification, but rather should live to him, to the glory, and according to the will and the commandments of him, "who died for them, and rose again.

VOL. V.

[ocr errors]

This interpretation is much confirmed by divers other texts, which may be reckoned parallel, particularly Rom. vi. 1, 11. xiv. 7, 8. 1 Pet. iv. 2.

99

66

Isaiah Ixiii. 1—6. "Who is this, that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah ?" The proper and primary meaning of this passage of scripture, seems to be to this purpose. The prophet in a vision, or ecstasy, foresees some great deliverance of the Jewish nation from their enemies, particularly the Edomites; and, being fully persuaded of the event, he addresseth the deliverer, as if seeing him coming from the defeat of the enemy. "Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah ?" the capital city of the Edomites: "this, that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength?" Approaching toward me, like a mighty and glorious conqueror in triumph? "I, that speak in righteousness. It is I, whom you have seen in vision, who speak the truth, and am concerned for true religion: mighty to save," who labour for the welfare of my people, and expose myself to the greatest dangers for their safety. "Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the wine-fat?" Tell me, then, says the prophet, whence this redness of blood upon thine apparel, so that thy garments look like those of one that treadeth in the wine-fat? The deliverer answers: "I have trodden the wine-press alone, and of the people there was none with me:" I have performed this difficult work almost alone, few of my own people joining with me, and without the concurring assistance of neighbouring nations, our allies around us. "For I will tread them," or, for I have trodden them "in my anger; and I will trample," or I have trampled "them in my fury; and their blood shall be," or has been sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain," or have stained" all my raiment. all my raiment. For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and the day of my redeemed," or, of redeeming my people, come. And I looked, and there was none to help." I looked round, and well considered the matter: but none of our neighbours were willing to help us, nor were many of my own people ready to join with me," and I wondered, that there was none to uphold;" this appeared to me very strange, and even astonishing: nevertheless I was not discouraged: "therefore my own arm brought salvation unto me, and my fury," or zeal for religion, and for the welfare of my people, "it upheld me," and carried me through all the dangers and difficulties of this arduous service. You see the reason therefore, and you need not wonder at it, that I am red in my apparel, and that my garments are like him that treadeth in the wine-fat.

66

" was

First published in the LIBRARY (a periodical Work printed in 1761 and 1762), for May 1761.

30

That appears to be the most proper and critical, or at least the primary sense of this text; however, by some, it is also applied to Christ, and the church. They say, the reason of mentioning Edom is, that it is usual for the prophets to denote the enemies of the church in general, by the name of some country, or people, which has been remarkable for its hatred of the Jewish nation; and that here the prophet seems to take a hint from some remarkable calamity, that had befallen the Edomites, to describe some more general judgment, that should be inflicted upon the enemies of God's church and people.

Be it so still this passage of scripture has no relation to the sufferings of Christ, but to some deliverance of God's people in ancient or later times, out of the hands of their unrighteous enemies and oppressors.

And we may perceive, that these words in ver. 5. "I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered, that there was none to uphold, therefore my own arm brought salvation unto me, and my fury, it upheld me;" do not point to Christ's transactions on this earth. These words may be allusively applied to that great salvation, which is the work of God and Christ. alone, but no otherwise: and allusions, even where no more is intended, are dangerous: for texts, often alleged in the way of allusion, and separate from the connection, are apt to gain a sense in our minds, which is not the true meaning of them.

Your readers, if they think fit, may compare this with the same paragraph of the prophet Isaiah, as versified in the Protestant Magazine for April, p. 40.

TO THE INGENIOUS AUTHOR OF THE

REMARKS

UPON I COR. xv. 32, IN THE LAST MAGAZINE, p. 315.

SIR,

"

You have touched upon a difficult text: permit me also to propose some observations upon it. You think it probable, that the scene of danger here referred to, is that mentioned Acts xix. 30, 31.' But I rather think, that the first epistle to the Corinthians was written and sent away, before the tumult caused by Demetrius. St. Luke there informs us, ver. 22. "So he sent into Macedonia two of them that ministred unto him, Timothy and Erastus. But he himself stayed in Asia for a season." Then at ver. 22. "And the same time there arose no small stir about that way," &c. Says Lightfoot, vol. I. p. 299. Between ver. 22 and 23, of this nineteenth "chapter of the Acts, falleth in the time of St. Paul's writing the first epistle to the Corinthians :' which I take to be very right. You have Dr. Ward with you, at p. 200, where he says: It is 'most reasonable, therefore, to understand the expression as metaphorical, and that he refers to 'the tumult raised by Demetrius.' But turn over the leaf, and look to p. 199, there you may see him saying, After the affair of Demetrius, he immediately left the city, and went into Macedonia.' This decides the point. The epistle was written before the tumult, not after it; and therefore cannot refer to it.

"

I understand the expression, "fighting with beasts," literally: I do not love to depart from the proper meaning of a word, unless there be a necessity for so doing.

Nevertheless I do not suppose that St. Paul ever fought with beasts. St. Luke is entirely silent about it; nor is it mentioned by himself in the catalogue of his dangers and sufferings, 2 Cor. xi. 23-33. Moreover,' as Dr. Ward well observes, had St. Paul been thus engaged, it is difficult to apprehend how he could have escaped, without a miracle.'

6

To proceed. I am of opinion that St. Paul refers not here to any particular event, or occurrence of his life: it is only a supposition made, an affecting case put by him, to enforce his arguments in behalf of a resurrection, and a life to come.

First published in the LIBRARY. for October 1781.

Let us observe the context. Ver. 19. "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most miserable." Ver. 20. "But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept." Ver. 30. " And why stand we in jeopardy every hour?" Ver. 31. "I protest by our rejoicing, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.

·

·

I exert myself to the utmost, and am continually exposed to the greatest dangers: all which I acquiesce in, and even am joyful; hoping for a resurrection, and to be for ever with Christ. • Without that expectation, all such laborious and hazardous services would be unreasonable, and 'unprofitable." Ver. 32. If, according to a cruel custom which obtains among men, I had, for the sake of the gospel, been condemned in this city to fight with beasts, and had been ⚫ miserably torn to pieces, and destroyed by them: would it have been of any advantage to me? None at all. All such fortitude and alacrity in serving the interests of religion, and with a view to promote the general good of men, would have been quite lost, and fruitless. "If the dead rise not," if there be no life after this, we might be disposed to adopt that profane saying, "Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die." But, my brethren, far be it that any of us • should embrace such sentiments, or act upon them, ver. 33, "be not deceived," &c.'

I allow of your pointing. My version is little different from yours, and agrees also with that of Dr. Gerdes, professor of divinity at Groningen, who has lately published a critical commentary upon this whole chapter. It is thus: Quod si secundum hominem etiam cum bestiis decertassem Ephesi, quid inde ad me lucri? Si mortui non resurgent, edamus & bibamus. Cras • enim moriemur.'

A.

AN INQUIRY INTO THE TRUTH OF THE

HISTORY OF THE SEVEN BROTHERS,

SAID TO HAVE SUFFERED MARTYRDOM IN THE TIME OF

ANTIOCHUS EPIPHANES, 2 Macc. vii."

I. THE truth of this history depends entirely upon the second book of the Maccabees. Dr. Prideaux has given a large and judicious account of both those books. Conn. year before Christ 166, p. 185, &c. The first,' he says, which is a very accurate and excellent history, and ' comes the nearest to the style and manner of the sacred historical writings of any extant, was written originally in the Chaldee language, of the Jerusalem dialect, which was the language spoken in Judea from the return of the Jews thither from the Babylonish captivity.' The second book of the Maccabees, he says, was written by an Egyptian Jew, probably of Alexandria. But he says, it does by no means equal the accurateness and excellence of the first.' And he observes, that it consists of several pieces compiled together, by what author is ⚫ uncertain. It begins with two epistles sent from the Jews of Jerusalem, to the Jews of Alexandria and Egypt. Both these epistles seem to be spurious, wherever the compiler of this • book picked them up.'

·

"

After these two epistles, which end at the eighteenth verse of the second chapter, the author proposes to write of things, as declared by Jason of Cyrene, in five books which he will assay to abridge in one volume.' 'But,' says Du Pin, the author of this abridgment does not make ⚫ an exact abridgment of Jason. Sometimes he copies, sometimes he abridges, and oftentimes he passes from one narration to another, and does not relate facts in their true order.'

II. The sufferings of these seven brothers, and likewise of Eleazar, related in the sixth chapter of this second book of Maccabees, and said to be "one of the principal scribes, and fourscore years old and ten, are entirely omitted in the first book of the Maccabees: though

* First published in the LIBRARY for February 1762.

468

An Inquiry into the Truth of the History of the Seven Brothers, &c.

the author of it there writes of the Jewish affairs, and their sufferings in the time of Antiochus. It appears to be probable, that he would not have omitted the sufferings of these persons, if he had been acquainted with them. But so far from relating them particularly, he does not give any the least hint of them.

III. There is not any notice taken of this Eleazar, or these seven brethren, or their mother, by Josephus, in any of his authentic writings. He had twice a fair occasion to mention them: first in his History of the Jewish War, written not many years after the destruction of Jerusalem, in the first book of which he relates the encroachments of Antiochus Epiphanes: and secondly in his Antiquities, written many years afterwards, where he again recounts the sufferings of the Jewish people under the same prince, Ant. L. xii. cap. v. But in neither of those works has he said any thing of Eleazar, or these seven brothers; whose story is so remarkable, that it could not have been omitted by him, if it had been matter of fact.

It is true, there is a work, sometimes ascribed to Josephus, entitled, Of the Empire of Reason, or a Discourse of the Maccabees.' But, as Cave says, it is denied to be his by many learned men. 6 Josephi tamen esse negant ex eruditis quam plurimi.' And the late Mr. Whiston, who translated into English all the genuine writings of Josephus, omitted this, and would not join it with the rest. And in an advertisement at the end of his version, he says, I have omitted what is in the other editions of Josephus: I mean the discourse about the Maccabees, that is, about the torments of the mother, and her seven children, under Antiochus Epiphanes. It is commended by Eusebius, and Jerom themselves, as an elegant performance, and as the genuine work of Josephus. It seems to me not to deserve that character. Nor can it, I think, with the least probability be ascribed to Josephus, unless as a declamation, when he ⚫ was a school-boy.' And he observes, that the history is taken from the second book of the Maccabees, which it evidently appears Josephus never made use of in his other writings.' So Mr. Whiston. To me it appears to be the work of some Christian.

6

"

IV. This account is defective in what we generally call internal characters of credibility.

1. The thing is in itself very extraordinary: that so many persons, of one and the same family, should be all at one and the same time called out to suffer, and be all steady and valiant. It is very improbable, and almost incredible.

[ocr errors]

6

2. The whole story has the appearance of a contrived fiction. First there is an account of Eleazar, who suffers at the age of fourscore years and ten, that he might leave a notable example to such as are young, to die willingly and courageously for the honourable and holy laws. Then follow the sufferings and death of these young men, who too are exactly seven, a. number much respected among the Jews.

3. The sufferers are not described so particularly as they ought to be, and generally are, in credible relations. The names of the seven brothers are all omitted. Nor is it said, what was their tribe, or family, or what was the usual place of their abode. Nor are we told, who was their father. In some modern accounts the fore-mentioned Eleazar may be said to be their father. But there is no ground for it in this narrative. Nor are we told the name of the mother of these brothers, though she is so often mentioned. Nor is it said, how she died. All that is said, is this: "Last of all, after the sons, the mother died." In the discourse of the Maccabees, ascribed to Josephus, it is said, "the mother, that no man might touch her body, threw herself upon the pile.” ` Και ίνα μη ψαύσειε τ8 σώματος αυτης εαυτην έρριψε κατα της πυρας. chap. 17. Upon which the note of Cambesis might be seen. This is one of those passages, which makes me think, that work to have been composed by a Christian. Josippon, or Josephus Ben Gorion, a Jewish writer of the ninth or tenth century, or later, says, that after she had offered up her prayer to God, her spirit departed from her, and she fell upon the heaps of her sons' dead bodies, and lay upon the earth. But these things are additional to the original account.. Postquam desiit ita orare, & effundere orationem coram Jehova, egressa est anima ejus, dum adhut loqueretur, & exiit spiritus ejus, & corruit super acervos corporum filiorum ejus & jacuit etiam cum eis projecta super terram, p. 115, Oxon. 1706.'

6

4. These seven brothers are here represented to have been examined, tortured, and slain, one after another, in the presence of the king, or Antiochus. Which is very improbable. For such examinations and executions are generally delegated to officers. And in the first book of the Maccabees, upon which we can depend, we are assured, that Antiochus had officers for this purpose in the several parts of Judea. So 1 Macc. i. 51. "In the self-same manner wrote he

« ПредишнаНапред »