Sectioin 2: Of Conformity, Use Made of the Name of Jesus No Proof
Of the name of Jesus, whatever use he may have made—made (as it was seen) without authority—can any use, made in contradiction to this his own confession, afford any the slightest ground for regarding his Gospel, whatever it be,—his Gospel, or any part of it,—as belonging to the religion of Jesus? If so, then are all impostors the persons they falsely pretend to be—all counterfeit productions of any kind, genuine ones.
While preaching to Gentiles at a distance from Jerusalem, from any use he could have the assurance to make of so revered a name, it is almost superfluous to observe, how much he had to gain, and how little to lose. In a case of this sort, how much soever there may be that is offensive in the demeanour of the pretended agent eulogizing, no part of it is ascribed to the pretended principal eulogized: and, in such his eulogy, the pretended agent is not hampered by any of those considerations, by which he would stand precluded from all prospect of advantage, had he the effrontery to lay it in equally strong colours on himself. Thus, in the case of Paul, from putting in the foreground where he did, the name of Jesus, there was this great advantage to gain: and, the pretended principal being never present to disavow him, the consequence was—that, so long as no accredited and credited agents, of that same principal, were at hand to contradict his pretensions,—the mere name of this principal would be no obstacle, to the preaching of doctrines, ever so decidedly at variance with his.
If, on the other hand,—in a company, in which he was preaching doctrines of his own, which were not Jesus's,—men should happen to be present, to whom, by reason of their personal acquaintance with Jesus, or with any immediate disciples of Jesus, these same doctrines of Paul's should be perceived and declared not to be Jesus's, here would be an inconvenience: and, on this account,—wherever, without using the name of Jesus, or any other name than his own, he could be sufficiently assured, of obtaining a degree of confidence sufficient for his purpose,—this course, supposing it successful, would, on several accounts, be more advantageous.
Here then, on each occasion, or at any rate on some occasions, would be an option for him to make: namely, either to preach in the name of Jesus, or else to set up for himself:—to set up for himself, and, on the strength of a pretended revelation from the Almighty, without the intervention of Jesus, preach in no other human name than his own.
From a passage, in the first of his two Epistles to his Corinthian disciples, it looks as if an experiment of this kind—an experiment for adding nominal independence to real—had actually been tried: but that, the success of it was not such as to be followed by continuance. For this suspicion—for it is but a suspicion,—any reader who thinks it worth his while may see the grounds in the subjoined note.82
82 In his letter to the Coriinthians, Paul says,
"Contentions," says he, "among you:" in this phrase may be seen the style of modern royalty. Towards a will so intimately connected with the divine as the royal, no such temper of mind, so intolerable as opposition, is ever to be supposed: were it on all occasions equally known—known to all, and alike interpreted by all, no division could have place: but, some put one interpretation upon it, some another: in some eyes, this course is regarded as best adapted to the giving effect to it; in others, that: hence that division, to which, on every occasion, it is the duty of all to put the speediest end. Now then as to Paul. This same assumed fatherly affection, under the name of elder-brotherly—this desire of seeing concord among brethren—what was it in plain truth? Answer, love of power. Would you have proof? Take in hand this same Epistle of his to his Corinthians, or, if at verse the tenth, it will be to this purpose early enough, and read on, till you come to chapter iv. verses 15, 16. "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you: but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind, and in the same judgment.—For it hath been declared unto me," and so forth, as above. Read on, and at length you will come to the essence of all this good advice,
At this time, it should seem that, on the occasion of this his courtship of the Jews of Corinth, not only was the name of Peter an object of his declared rivalry, but the name and person of his own sub-disciple Apollos, an object of his jealousy.
As to Apollos, if so it was, that, at one time, in the mind of our spiritual monarch, any such sentiment as jealousy, in regard to this sub-minister had place, it seems to have been afterwards, in some way or other, removed: for, in his Epistle to Titus, bearing date about seven years after, namely A.D. 64, the devotion of the subject seems to have been entire. Speaking to Titus,