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unto death, he shall alk, and
μαρτιαν μη προς θανατον, , he shall give him life for
αιτησει, και δωσει αυτω ζω
cure him that favour from the mercy of God. See note 3.-We may therefore believe that in this paffage, John speaks of persons and things, very different from those which the authors now mentioned had in their eye.
What these were will appear, if we attend to the following particulars.
Because it was necessary to the successful propagation of the gospel, that its profeffors should in the first age be remarkably holy, God fo ordered it, that the open miscarriages of individuals were often punished with visible temporal judgments. So Paul told the Corinthians, who had been guilty of great irregularities in the celebrati-n of the Lord's fupper. 1 Cor. xi. 30. For this cause many of you are
fick, and some are dead. These judgments being public, had no doubt a great influence in restraining the first Christians from fin. On the other hand, to encourage those to repent who by their fins had brought on themselves mortal diseases, there were in the first age persons, who being endowed with the gift of healing diseases miraculously, (1 Cor. xii. 9.) were moved by the Holy Ghost to heal the sick, who had ree pented of the fins which had brought on them the diseases under which they were labouring. We may therefore believe, that when John directed any one, who saw his brother finning a fin not unto death, to ask God to give him life, he did not mean any ordinary Christian, but any spiritual man wbo was endowed with the gift of healing diseases : And that the brother for whom the spiritual man was to ask life, was not every brother who had finncd, but the brother only who had been punished for his fin with some mortal disease, but who having repented of his sin, it was not a fin unto death: And that the life to be aíked for such a brother, was not eternal life, but a mi. raculous rccovery from the mortal disease under which he was labouring.
According to this view of matters, John, in the passage before us, is treating briefly of the subject concerning which James hath treated more at large, chap. v. 14: Is any one fick among you ?
Let him fend for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, having anointed him with oil in the name of the Lord: 15. And the prayer of faith will fave ihe fack person, and the Lord will raise him up, (x« Ef. iv. 212.) And so, although he hath committed fins, they shall be forgiven him. 16. Confess your faults one to another, and pray for one another that
be healed. The inwrought prayer of the righteous man availeth much. Now if John, in the passage before us, is treating of the subject which James hath handled in the above verses, The any one, who feeth his brother firining a fin not unto death, of whom John speaks, was any elder of the
church endowed with the gift of healing diseases miraculoufly; and the asking, prescribed by John, is what James calls the prayer of faith : See note 2,
and the life to be obtained by such asking, was a miracu. lous recovery of tlie fick finnner from the mortal disease under which
unto death, let him askSon, If any one endowed with spiriGOD, and he will grant tual gifts, is sensible that his brother to him life 3 for those hath committed a fin which is not to le
he was labouring ; called also, the raising him up, namely to health, as is plain from James v. 16.
2. Let him ask of God. In the original, it is He shall’ak. But the future of the indicative is often put in fcripture for the imperative.This asking James hath termed, the inwrought prayer of the righteous man, because the elder was inwardly moved by the holy Ghoft to pray
for the miraculous recovery of the fick person : Also he termed it, the prayer of faith, because the elder feeling himself moved by the holy Ghost to pray, prayed in the full assurance that the Lord would raise the sick person up to health. See note 3. - In this passage therefore, St. John directed the spiritual men, who had the gift of healing diseases miraculously, to exercise that gift, only in behalf of those who had fincerely repented of the fins which had brought on them the diseases under which they were labouring. For the spiritual men could know with certainty the truth of the fick sinner's repentance, either by the gift of discerning fpirits with which they were endowed, or if any fpiritual man had not that gift, he must have known it by feeling him. Felf inwardly moved to pray for the fick finner's recovery. The anointing of the fick with oil, though not mentioned by John, was fitly prescribed by James ; not however on account of any efficacy which it had, as a natural remedy, to procure health for the fick, but merely as an outward sign to the fick person himself, and to those who were present, that a miracle of healing was to be wrought. For the fame purpose the twelve, when sent forth by Christ to heal diseases miraculously, anointed the fick persons with oil whom they were to recover. For, although that rite is not mentioned by any of the evan. gelists who have given an account of their commission, Mark who hath described the fuceess with which they exec'ited their commillion, tells us, chap. vi. 13. They anointed with oil many that were fick, and healed them.
3. He will grant to him life.—The life which was to be asked for those who finned not unto death, and which God was to grant, could not be eternal life, because no where in scripture is eternal life promised to be given to any finner, at the afking of another. Besides, right reason teaches, that eternal life should not be granted to any finner merely because another asks it for him : nay that the prayers of the whole world united, will not procure eternal life for an impenitent finner.-On the other hand, if á finner truly repents of his fin, he will assuredly obtain eternal life through the intercellion of Christ, whether any of his fellow men ask it for him or not. Since then, one person's asking God to grant eternal life to another, hath no influence to pracure that favour, the life which was to be asked for the perion who had not finned unto death, and which God promised to grant, must have been temporal life only; consequently, John's direction, Let bin Ask God, and he will grant to him life, is equivalent to that of James, Let d of
them that fin not unto death. ην, τοις αμαρτανουσι μη There is a sin unto death: I do not fay that he Mali προς θανατον. Εςιν αμαρpray for it,
τια προς θανατον" ου περι εκεινης λεγω να
them pray over them, and the prayer of faith will save the fick, and the Lord will raise him up, and so, although he bath committed fins, they shall be forgiven him ; that is, although he hath committed fins which have occafioned him to be punished with a mortal disease, he shall be delivered from that punishment. In calling a miraculous recovery from a mortal disease which had been inflicted as the punishment of fins, the forgiving of fins, James hath followed his master, who called the re. covery of the fick of the palsy, the forgiving of his fins, Matt. ix. 2, 5. In like manner the Pfalmift represents the healing of all bis diseases, as the forgiving of all his iniquities.
4. For those who fin not unto death. Here the relative tous, is plural, notwithstanding the antecedent adeaçox, is fingular. But the number of the relative is changed, to sew that the promise was not restricted to any particular person who had not finned unto death, but extended to all of that description. See Ef. iv. 22.-For an account of the fin not unto death, See note 1. on ver. 16.
In this 16th verse the apostle, according to the Bible translation, directed any one who saw his brother finning a sin not unto death, to ask life for him from God, at the very time he was finning that fin; and assured him that God would at his request grant life to such a finner. But this is evidently a great impropriety; which however will be removed by translating the clause in the past time, agreeably to the im. port of the word apaçtavoto considered as the participle, not of the present but of the imperfect of the indicative, thus; If any one see his brother hath finned a fin not unto death, let him ask God, &c. According to this translation, thị prayer for life to the finner was to be made, not while he was finning, but after he had finned, and had repented.-I have no doubt that the translation ought to run in the past time. Yet I have not ventured to make the alteration in the new trans. lation.
It is now time to inform the unlearned reader, that on this 16th verse of the yth chapter of John's First Epiftle, taken in conjunction with the parallel paffage transcribed from the epiftle of James, note 1. the Papifts have built what they call the facrament of extreme un&ion, which the priests of their communion dispense to dying persons, by anointing them with confecrated oil, accompanied with a prayer for the pardon of their fins, and with an authoritative declaration importing that their fins are completely pardoned. But, to fhew that that șite is no facrament, and that it by no means produceth the ex. cellent effects attributed to it by the Fapista, I submit the following arguments to the intelligent reader's confideration. 1. If the anointing with oil prescribed by James, and the prayer
of the elder which accompanied that anointing, be a sacrament to which
who fin not unto death. 4 punished with bodily death, because he There is a sin unto death. hath repented, or is in a disposition I do not say concerning to repent, let him pray to God, and he it, that he should afk.“ will grant, at his request, recovery to
those who have not finned to death. There is a fin which will be punished with death because the finner is impenitent: I do not say concerning it, that the spiritual men should ask God to recover such a person by mis racle.
the graces of pardon and salvation are really annexed, it ought not to be confined to the fick and dying, but agreeably to the nature of a sacrament, all who profess to believe the gospel have a right to partake of it. Nevertheless, by the apostolic injunction, it is appointed only for the fick ; and by the practice of the Papifts, it is ministered only to such of the fick as are at the point of death. Wherefore, since those who are in health are precluded from this rite, and multitudes of them die without being in a condition to receive it, it cannot be a facrament instituted for conferring pardon and salvation on those who die in a fick bed, since thote who are cut off in health are, by the apostle's injunction, excluded from thefe great graces : But it must have been appointed for some such purpose as that which hath been already explained.
2. This pretended façramert being built on the passages of scripture mentioned ver. 16. note 1. it should be dispensed as directed in these passages ; and being so difpenfed, it should be followed with the effects there described ; that is to say, it should be dispensed only to the fick, and the fick immediately on receiving it ought to have their fins pardoned, without any regard to their character and temper of mind at the time. The reason is, to the forgiving of the sins of the fick, nothing is required in the above mentioned passages, but that they be anointed with oil in the name of the Lord, and that the elder
pray over them the prayer of faith ; that is, pray in the full assurance that their fins shall be forgiven them.-If the Papifts reply, that. to the forgiveness of the fick person's fins, his repentance is necessary, the answer is, That in so far as the pardon of fin dependeth on the repentance of the fick, the
prayer of the elder and his authoritative declaration of pardon, have no influence in procuring for the fick that grace. Perhaps we shall be told, that anointing and prayer being expressly required, they are equally necessary to the pardon of the fick finner as repentance, both being implied conditions. Be it fo. But in that case, no person, who hath the sacrament of extreme unction in his power and neglects it, can be saved. This, however, it is to be presumed, no charitable Papist will venture to affirm.
3. If the elder's anointing the fick with oil, and his praying over them the prayer of faith, be a facrament, the person to whom it is
57 All unrighteousness 17 Πασα αδικια αμαρis fin : and there is a fin
τια εςι. Και εςιν αμαρτια και pot unto death.
. 18 We know that who. 18 Οιδαμεν ότι πας
o foever is born of God fin
γεγεννημεν, εκ του Θεου, , neth not : but he that is begotten of God keepeth ουχ αμαρτάνει, αλλ' ο γεν
difpenfed, must not only receive the eternal pardon of all his fins, but he must also be immediately raised up to health by the Lord; for that grace is as expressly promised, James v. 15. to follow he anointing of the sick with oil and the praying over him, as the forgiveness of the fins which he hath committed. - To avoid this consequence, the Papilts affirm, that the raifing up of the fick to health is conditional, depending on its being expedient for the glory of God, and for the good of the fick person himself. But to this it is answered, as before, That to the raising up of the fick nothing is required but anointing and prayer. Granting, however, for argument's fake, that expediency as well as repentance, is tacitly implied as the condition on which the fick are to be raised up to health, the Papifts ought to shew how it hath come to pass, that, of the multitudes to whom their facrament of unction and prayer hath been dispensed in their dying moments, fa few have been raised up to health by the Lord. Hath this happened, because hitherto the Lord hath not seen it expedient to raise up many of them to health, not withitanding that grace is as expressly promised to follow the anointing of the fick, and the elder's prayer for their recovery, as the forgiveness of their fin3? Or, hath this happened, because of those, to whom their facrament of extreme unction hath beer dispensed, few have been sincere penitents ? fuppofe the Papi&s will affirm neither of these, as they would be a great dishonour to their church. And therefore, till they produce fome satisfactory reason for God's not raising up the fick, now as anciently, according to his promise, after they have been anointed and prayed for by the priest, we must believe that these rites are not a facrament to which the graces of pardon and salvation are annexed.
The foregoing three arguments demonftrate, that the anointing of the sick with oil and the praying for their recovery, were not appoint. ed as a permanent office in the church, which every prieit inay perform, and every profeffing Christian who is lick may demand, as the effectual means of procuring the plenary pardon of his fios. These rites were peculiar to the firit age, being appointed, not for procuring an eternal pardon of fins to the fick, but a miraculous recovery fome mortal disease which had been inficted on them as the temporal punishment of their fins. And no person could minifter these rites with efficacy, except those who had the gift of healing diseases miraculously. The directions therefore which the apostles have given con: cerning these rites, were not iutended for the initruction of the minis