Acts 15:20
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.

New Living Translation
Instead, we should write and tell them to abstain from eating food offered to idols, from sexual immorality, from eating the meat of strangled animals, and from consuming blood.

English Standard Version
but should write to them to abstain from the things polluted by idols, and from sexual immorality, and from what has been strangled, and from blood.

Berean Study Bible
Instead, we should write and tell them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals, and from blood.

Berean Literal Bible
but to write to them to abstain from the pollutions of idols, and sexual immorality, and that which is strangled, and from blood.

New American Standard Bible
but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood.

King James Bible
But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
but instead we should write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from eating anything that has been strangled, and from blood.

International Standard Version
Instead, we should write to them to keep away from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from anything strangled, and from blood. 21

NET Bible
but that we should write them a letter telling them to abstain from things defiled by idols and from sexual immorality and from what has been strangled and from blood.

New Heart English Bible
but that we write to them that they abstain from the pollution of idols, from sexual immorality, from what is strangled, and from blood.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
“But let it be sent to them that they separate from the defilement of sacrifices and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood.”

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Instead, we should write a letter telling them to keep away from things polluted by false gods, from sexual sins, from eating the meat of strangled animals, and from eating bloody meat.

New American Standard 1977
but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood.

Jubilee Bible 2000
but that we write unto them that they abstain from pollutions of idols and from fornication and from things strangled and from blood.

King James 2000 Bible
But that we write unto them, that they abstain from defilements of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.

American King James Version
But that we write to them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.

American Standard Version
but that we write unto them, that they abstain from the pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from what is strangled, and from blood.

Douay-Rheims Bible
But that we write unto them, that they refrain themselves from the pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.

Darby Bible Translation
but to write to them to abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from what is strangled, and from blood.

English Revised Version
but that we write unto them, that they abstain from the pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from what is strangled, and from blood.

Webster's Bible Translation
But that we write to them that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from lewdness, and from things strangled, and from blood.

Weymouth New Testament
Yet let us send them written instructions to abstain from things polluted by connexion with idolatry, from fornication, from meat killed by strangling, and from blood.

World English Bible
but that we write to them that they abstain from the pollution of idols, from sexual immorality, from what is strangled, and from blood.

Young's Literal Translation
but to write to them to abstain from the pollutions of the idols, and the whoredom, and the strangled thing; and the blood;
Study Bible
The Council at Jerusalem
19It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not cause trouble for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20Instead, we should write and tell them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals, and from blood. 21For Moses has been proclaimed in every city from ancient times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.”…
Cross References
Genesis 9:4
"Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.

Exodus 34:15
otherwise you might make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land and they would play the harlot with their gods and sacrifice to their gods, and someone might invite you to eat of his sacrifice,

Leviticus 3:17
'It is a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwellings: you shall not eat any fat or any blood.'"

Leviticus 7:26
'You are not to eat any blood, either of bird or animal, in any of your dwellings.

Leviticus 17:10
'And any man from the house of Israel, or from the aliens who sojourn among them, who eats any blood, I will set My face against that person who eats blood and will cut him off from among his people.

Leviticus 17:14
"For as for the life of all flesh, its blood is identified with its life. Therefore I said to the sons of Israel, 'You are not to eat the blood of any flesh, for the life of all flesh is its blood; whoever eats it shall be cut off.'

Leviticus 18:6
'None of you shall approach any blood relative of his to uncover nakedness; I am the LORD.

Leviticus 19:26
You shall not eat anything with the blood, nor practice divination or soothsaying.

Deuteronomy 12:16
"Only you shall not eat the blood; you are to pour it out on the ground like water.

Deuteronomy 12:23
"Only be sure not to eat the blood, for the blood is the life, and you shall not eat the life with the flesh.
Treasury of Scripture

But that we write to them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.

from pollutions.

Acts 15:29 That you abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and …

Genesis 35:2 Then Jacob said to his household, and to all that were with him, …

Exodus 20:3-5,23 You shall have no other gods before me…

Exodus 34:15,16 Lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they …

Numbers 25:2 And they called the people to the sacrifices of their gods: and the …

Psalm 106:37-39 Yes, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters to devils…

Ezekiel 20:30,31 Why say to the house of Israel, Thus said the Lord GOD; Are you polluted …

1 Corinthians 8:1,4-13 Now as touching things offered to idols, we know that we all have …

1 Corinthians 10:20-22,28 But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice …

Revelation 2:14,20 But I have a few things against you, because you have there them …

Revelation 9:20 And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet …

Revelation 10:2,8 And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot …

fornication.

1 Corinthians 5:11 But now I have written to you not to keep company, if any man that …

1 Corinthians 6:9,13,18 Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of …

1 Corinthians 7:2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, …

2 Corinthians 12:21 And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and …

Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, …

Ephesians 5:3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not …

Colossians 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are on the earth; fornication, …

1 Thessalonians 4:3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that you should …

Hebrews 12:16 Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for …

Hebrews 13:4 Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but fornicators …

1 Peter 4:3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have worked the will …

things.

Acts 21:25 As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded …

Genesis 9:4 But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall you not eat.

Leviticus 3:17 It shall be a perpetual statute for your generations throughout all …

Leviticus 7:23-27 Speak to the children of Israel, saying, You shall eat no manner …

Leviticus 17:10-14 And whatever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers …

Deuteronomy 12:16,23-25 Only you shall not eat the blood; you shall pour it on the earth as water…

Deuteronomy 14:21 You shall not eat of anything that dies of itself: you shall give …

Deuteronomy 15:23 Only you shall not eat the blood thereof; you shall pour it on the …

1 Samuel 14:32 And the people flew on the spoil, and took sheep, and oxen, and calves, …

Ezekiel 4:14 Then said I, Ah Lord GOD! behold, my soul has not been polluted…

Ezekiel 33:25 Why say to them, Thus said the Lord GOD; You eat with the blood, …

1 Timothy 4:4,5 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if …

(20) But that we write unto them.--The grounds on which the measure thus defined was proposed are not far to seek. (1) It was of the nature of a compromise. The Gentiles could not complain that the burden imposed on them was anything very grievous. The Pharisee section of the Church could not refuse admission to those who fulfilled these conditions, when they had admitted the proselytes of the gate on like conditions to their synagogues, and had so treated them as no longer unclean. (2) The rules on which stress was now laid found a place among the seven precepts traditionally ascribed to Noah, and based upon the commands recorded in Genesis 9:5. These were held to be binding upon all mankind; while the Law, as such, was binding on Israel only. These, therefore, had been thought sufficient for the proselytes of the gate before, and were urged now as sufficient for the Gentile converts by the teacher who represented the most rigid type of Judaism. (See, once more, the history of Ananias and Izates in the Note on Acts 9:10.) Special reasons attached, as will be seen, to each precept.

From pollutions of idols.--The Greek of the first noun is found only in the LXX. and the New Testament; and perhaps its primary idea is that of "wallowing" in blood and mire, and so incurring pollution. As distinguished from the acts that follow, it indicates any participation, publicly or privately, in idolatrous rites. One who acted on the rule would have to refrain from entering a temple, and to dislodge busts or statues of the gods from his house and gardens. The presence of such things, when they presented themselves on entering a house, was a great stumbling-block to devout Jews, and the Gentile convert who, left to himself, might have been disposed to keep them, though no longer as objects of worship, but as works of art, was required to renounce them. The statues of Zeus and Artemis and Hermes were to be to him henceforth as abominations. In the decree itself, however, we find "things sacrificed to idols" instead of the more general term, and we may accordingly deal here with that question also. So interpreted, the rule brings before us a new phase of the life of the early Christian converts. Under the religion of Greece and Rome, sacrifices were so common that it might fairly be taken for granted that the flesh at any festive meal had been so offered. But a small portion of the flesh was burnt upon the altar, and the rest was cooked for the household meal, or sent to the market for sale. Such meat was, in the eyes of the strict Jews, polluted, and the history of Daniel and his companions (Daniel 1:8) was regarded as a precedent to avoiding it. Partly on this ground, partly on that referred to in the next Note but one, the Jew never bought meat in the market, nor of other than a Jewish butcher. He travelled with his cophinus, or basket, on his back, and carried his provisions with him. So Juvenal (Sat. iii. 14) speaks of--

"Judis, quorum cophinus fnumque supellex."

["Basket, and wisp of straw to serve as pillow,--

That's the Jew's luggage."]

Here, therefore, was a new stumbling-block, and the Gentile was required to avoid this also. It involved many sacrifices, and what would seem privations. The convert had to refuse invitations to birthday, and marriage, and funeral feasts; or, if present, to refuse to eat at them. A man with a sensitive conscience would refuse to partake of what was set before him in a private house or offered for sale in the market, unless he had satisfied himself that it had not so been offered. It was natural that this restriction, which did not rest directly on a moral ground, should give rise to some resistance, and the controversy connected with it assumed many different phases. At Corinth men claimed the right to eat what they chose, and St. Paul conceded the right in the abstract, but urged abstinence on the ground of charity (1 Corinthians 8-10.). At Pergamos and Thyatira, somewhat later in the apostolic age (Revelation 2:14; Revelation 2:20), the lawfulness of eating things sacrificed to idols was openly maintained in contravention alike of the teaching of St. Paul and of the apostolic decree, and was joined with a like claim to be exempted from the law which forbade illicit sexual intercourse. At Corinth, it would seem from 1Corinthians 8:10, the assertion of freedom had led men so far as not only to eat of the flesh that had been sacrificed, but actually to sit down to a feast in the idol's temple. (Comp. Romans 2:22, as expressing the Jewish feeling.)

And from fornication.--We are surprised at first to find, what seems to us, a moral law placed in juxtaposition with two rules which, like those that follow, seem purely positive and ceremonial. We have to remember, however, (1) that the first command was moral also, and that we may fairly recognise something like a practical, though not a formal distinction, by thinking of the first two precepts as grouped together; (2) that the sin named, involving, as it did, the absence of any true sense of self-respecting purity or reverence for womanhood, was the wide-spread evil of the ancient world, against which Israel had from the first been called to bear its witness (Genesis 34:31; Leviticus 19:29; Deuteronomy 23:17; Proverbs 7:6-27). The increasing laxity of morals throughout the Roman empire, showing itself in the well-known line of Terence--

"Nihil peccati est adolescentulum scortari, "

had led men to think of it as natural and permissible, bringing with it no sense of wrong or shame (comp. Horace, Sat. i. 2, 119), and it might well be that the ethical standard of the Gentile converts was not all at once raised to a true ideal of purity. The old license may have seemed venial, and the disciples may have thought, as Christians have too often thought since, that it did not call for any deep repentance, or exclude them from fellowship with Christ. And yet it was clear that to the Jewish Christian, trained from his childhood to condemn the sin severely, this, too, would legitimately be a very grave stumbling-block in the admission of Gentile converts. How could he feel any assurance that they might not have come from the embraces of a harlot to the Feast of Charity or to the very Supper of the Lord? (Comp. 1Corinthians 6:15; Revelation 2:14.) Such a state of things required to be dealt with by a special enactment. The moral command had to be re-enacted, and brought into a new prominence. The Church had to take its first step in purifying the morals of mankind, not only by its general teaching, but by canons and rules of discipline. Stress has often been laid on the fact that in many cases, as in those of the Hetr?, or harlot-priestesses, of Aphrodite at Corinth and Paphos, prostitution was in closest alliance with idolatry, as a reason for the prohibition, and it is, of course, true that in such cases the sin assumed, in the eyes of Jews, an aggravated character. The man identified himself, by his sinful indulgence, with the coltus of the woman who was its avowed devotee. We can scarcely think, however, that the sin was forbidden, not on account of its own intrinsic evil, but only or chiefly, with a view to this ulterior and incidental consequence.

Things strangled.--Literally, of that which has been strangled. The prohibition rested on Genesis 9:4, and was connected with the symbolic meaning of the blood as representing life, and therefore consecrated to Jehovah. It was repeated in the Law (Leviticus 3:17; Leviticus 7:26; Deuteronomy 12:16; 1Samuel 14:33), and has been maintained with a wonderful tenacity. For this reason, long after sacrifices have ceased, the Jew will still, if possible, only eat what has been killed by a butcher of his own persuasion. Meat so killed, which may be eaten without defilement, is known technically as Kosher. Here the moral element falls entirely into the background, and the prohibition has simply the character of a concordat to avoid offence. St. Paul and St. Peter were alike persuaded that "there is nothing unclean of itself" (Acts 10:15; Romans 14:14). Practically, the effect of the rule would have been to compel Christians to buy their meat, poultry, &c., from a Jewish butcher or a Christian who followed the Jewish mode of killing, and in some places this must have entailed considerable inconvenience.

From blood.--As distinguished from the preceding rule, this forbade the separate use of blood, as with flour and vegetables, or in the black-puddings of modern cookery, as an article of food. Dishes so prepared were common in the cuisine both of Greeks and Romans, and here also, therefore, the restriction would have involved a frequent withdrawal from social life, or a conspicuous singularity. On the history of the observance, see Note on Acts 15:28.

Verse 20. - The pollutions for pollutions, A.V.; what is strangled for things strangled, A.V. The pollutions. In the decree itself (ver. 29) this is explained by εἰδωλοθύτων, things offered to idols, though some apply the "pollutions" to all the things here mentioned, not the idols only. Later St. Paul somewhat enlarged the liberty of Gentile converts in respect to meats offered to idols (see 1 Corinthians 8:4-13; 1 Corinthians 10:25-28). What is strangled, etc. The things forbidden are all practices not looked upon as sins by Gentiles, but now enjoined upon them as portions of the Law of Moses which were to be binding upon them, at least for a time, with a view to their living in communion and fellowship with their Jewish brethren. The necessity for some of the prohibitions would cease when the condition of the Church as regards Jews and Gentiles was altered; others were of eternal obligation. But that we write unto them,.... Or send an epistle to them, to this effect, concerning the following things:

that they abstain from pollutions of idols; that is, from eating things offered to idols; see Acts 15:29 for not idolatry, or the worshipping of idols itself, is here spoken of; for that was no indifferent thing; and besides, these converted Gentiles were turned from that, and there was no danger of their returning to it; but eating things sacrificed to idols was an indifferent thing; but yet inasmuch as it had a tendency to lead to idolatry, and gave offence to the Jewish believers in the churches, and was a stumbling block to weak minds, who by the example of stronger Christians, were led to eat them as sacrificed to an idol, and so their weak consciences were defiled, therefore it was very proper to abstain from them;

and from fornication; not spiritual fornication or idolatry, but fornication taken in a literal sense, for the carnal copulation of one single person with another, and which is commonly called simple fornication: the reason why this is put among, things indifferent is, not that it was so in itself, but because it was not thought to be criminal by the Gentiles, and was commonly used by them, and which must be offensive to the believing Jews, who were better acquainted with the will of God; this is omitted in the Ethiopic version:

and from things strangled; that is; from eating them, and design such as die of themselves, or are torn with beasts, or are not killed in a proper way, by letting out their blood; but their blood is stagnated or congealed in the veins: the Jews might not kill with a reaper's sickle, nor with a saw, nor with the teeth, or nail; because these "strangled" (a): and what was not slain as it should be, was reckoned all one as what dies of itself; and whoever ate of either of these was to be beaten (b); the law respecting these things was of the ceremonial kind, and peculiar to the Jews, and was not binding upon the Gentiles; for that which died of itself might be given to a stranger, and he might eat it, or it might be sold to an alien, Deuteronomy 14:21 this has been wanting in many copies, and it was not read by several of the ancient fathers:

and from blood: which is not to be understood of the blood of men and shedding of that, which is of a moral nature; but of the blood of beasts, and of eating of that. There were several laws about eating of blood, and which are different, and ought to be carefully distinguished. The first is in Genesis 9:4 "but flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood there of, shall you not eat"; which forbids the eating of flesh with the blood; but not the eating of flesh separately, nor the eating of blood separately, provided they were properly prepared and dressed, but the eating of them together without any preparation. As this was the first hint to man that we know of, that he might eat flesh, it was proper that the manner in which he should eat it, should be suggested to him; that he should not take the creature alive and eat it, or tear off any of its members and eat it whilst alive, or eat raw flesh; but should prepare it by roasting or boiling, or some way, in which it might become proper food: and it is the constant sense of the Jewish synagogue (c), that this law is to be understood of the member of a living creature, torn from it, and eaten whilst alive; six commands, the Jews say, were given to the first man Adam, the first five forbid idolatry, blasphemy, shedding of blood, uncleanness, and theft, or robbery, and the sixth required judgment against offenders; to these were added, for the sons of Noah, a seventh, which forbid the eating of the member of a living creature, as it is said, Genesis 9:4 (d). So that this law has nothing to do with eating of blood, simply considered, and no more forbids eating of it separately, than it does eating of flesh separately: in like manner is the law in Deuteronomy 12:23 to be understood, and is so interpreted by the Jewish writers (e): another law is in Leviticus 19:26 "ye shall not eat anything with the blood"; which according to our version, seems to be the same law with the former, but is not; for it is not said here, as before, "in", or "with", but "upon", "over", or "by" the blood. This is differently understood: some think the sense is, that no one should eat of the sacrifices, before the sprinkling of the blood upon the altar (f); or until it stands or is congealed in the basons (g); others, that it is a caution to judges, that they do not eat until they have finished judgment; for whoever judges or passes sentence after he has eat and drank, is as if he was guilty of blood (h): another observes (i), that next to this clause, it is said, "neither shall ye use enchantment"; meaning that they should not use enchantment by eating, in the way that murderers do, who eat bread over the slain, that the avengers of the slain may not take vengeance on them; this author smells something superstitious or diabolical in this matter; and indeed this is the case; the truth of the matter is, it refers to a practice among the Heathens, who fancied that blood was the food of the demons, to whom they sacrificed; and therefore when they sacrificed to them, they took the blood of the beast and put it into a vessel, and sat down by it, and round about it, and ate the flesh; imagining that whilst they ate the flesh, the demons eat the blood, and by this means friendship and familiarity were contracted between them; so that they hoped to receive some advantage from them, and be informed of things to come (k). Hence, this law is placed with others against enchantments and observing times, to which may be added, Ezekiel 33:25 "ye eat with the blood", or "over it", or "by" it; "and lift up your eyes to your idols": which is to be understood in the same light, and with these compare 1 Samuel 14:32. But besides these, there was a third law, which is frequently repeated, Leviticus 3:17 which absolutely forbids the eating of blood, as well as fat; the Jews except the blood of fishes, and locusts, and creeping things, and the blood of men, and the blood that is in eggs, and that which is squeezed out of flesh, or drops from it, which a man may eat and not be guilty of the breach of this law (l) the reason of this law was, because the blood, which is the life, was given in sacrifice for the life of men, to be an atonement for them; wherefore, to keep up a just reverence of the sacrifice, and to direct to the blood of the great sacrifice of the Messiah, blood was forbidden to be eaten, till that sacrifice was offered up; and then that blood itself was to be spiritually eaten by faith: and now if eating of blood in general was morally evil in itself, it would be a monstrous shocking thing in the Christian religion, that the blood of Christ is to be drank; though it be to be understood in a spiritual sense: the law against eating blood was very strictly enjoined the Jews, and severely punished; whoever ate of blood, but the quantity of an olive, if he ate it wilfully, was guilty of cutting off; if ignorantly, he was to bring a sin offering (m): James knew that the breach of this law would give great offence to the Jews, and therefore for the peace of the church he moves that the Gentiles might be wrote to, to abstain from blood; and which was agreed to and done: and this was attended to with much strictness by the primitive Christians, who seemed to have observed this advice in the form of a law, and thought it criminal to eat blood; but in process of time it was neglected; and in Austin's time abstinence from blood was derided, as a ridiculous notion; and it is at least now high time that this, and everything else of a ceremonial kind, was dropped by Christians; though where the peace of the brethren is in danger, this, and everything of an indifferent nature should be abstained from: Beza's ancient copy adds, "and whatsoever they would not have done to themselves, do not unto others"; and so two of Stephens's: the Ethiopic version is, "whatsoever they hate should be done to themselves, let them not do to their brethren".

(God forbids his people from eating the blood of any animal. Blood carries both infections and toxins that might circulate in the animal's body. Therefore, by eating an animal's blood, one exposes himself needlessly to potential toxins and infections. The harmful effects of eating blood can be illustrated by tribes in Africa who consume large amounts of blood in their pagan culture. These people have developed the chronic diseases seen in our elderly while still teenagers. Their life span is approximately 30 years. Rex D. Russel, M.D. p. 229, "Proceedings of the 1992 Twin-Cities Creation Conference". Editor's note.)

(a) Misn. Cholin, c. 1. sect. 2.((b) Maimon. Hilchot Maacolot Assurot, c. 4. sect. 1.((c) Targum Jon Jarchi, Aben Ezra & Abendanae not. in Sol. ben Melec in loc. (d) Maimon. Hilchot Melacim, c. 9. sect. 1.((e) Jarchi and Baal Hatturim in loc. T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 56. 2. & 59. 1. & Cholin, fol 102. 2. Tzeror Hammor, fol. 95, 4. (f) Jarchi & Aben Ezra in loc. (g) Targum Jon. in loc. (h) Zohar in Exod. fol. 50. 3. Vid. Maimon. Hilchot Sanhedrin, c. 13. sect. 4. (i) Baal Hatturim in Leviticus 19.26. (k) Maimon. Morch Nevochim, par. 3. c. 46. Kimchi in 1 Samuel 14.32. & in Ezekiel 33.25. (l) Misn. Ceritot, c. 5. sect. 1. Maimon. Maacolot Asurot, c. 6, sect. 1. Jarchi in Leviticus 17.10. Moses Kotsensis Mitzvot Tora, pr. pag. 137. (m) Maimon. Maacolot Asurot, c. 6. sect.7 20. But … that they abstain from pollutions of idols—that is, things polluted by having been offered in sacrifice to idols. The heathen were accustomed to give away or sell portions of such animals. From such food James would enjoin the Gentile converts to abstain, lest it should seem to the Jews that they were not entirely weaned from idolatry.

and from fornication—The characteristic sin of heathendom, unblushingly practiced by all ranks and classes, and the indulgence of which on the part of the Gentile converts would to Jews, whose Scriptures branded it as an abomination of the heathen, proclaim them to be yet joined to their old idols.

and from things strangled—which had the blood in them.

and from blood—in every form, as peremptorily forbidden to the Jews, and the eating of which, therefore, on the part of the Gentile converts, would shock their prejudices. See on [2023]Ac 15:28.15:7-21 We see from the words purifying their hearts by faith, and the address of St. Peter, that justification by faith, and sanctification by the Holy Ghost, cannot be separated; and that both are the gift of God. We have great cause to bless God that we have heard the gospel. May we have that faith which the great Searcher of hearts approves, and attests by the seal of the Holy Spirit. Then our hearts and consciences will be purified from the guilt of sin, and we shall be freed from the burdens some try to lay upon the disciples of Christ. Paul and Barnabas showed by plain matters of fact, that God owned the preaching of the pure gospel to the Gentiles without the law of Moses; therefore to press that law upon them, was to undo what God had done. The opinion of James was, that the Gentile converts ought not to be troubled about Jewish rites, but that they should abstain from meats offered to idols, so that they might show their hatred of idolatry. Also, that they should be cautioned against fornication, which was not abhorred by the Gentiles as it should be, and even formed a part of some of their rites. They were counselled to abstain from things strangled, and from eating blood; this was forbidden by the law of Moses, and also here, from reverence to the blood of the sacrifices, which being then still offered, it would needlessly grieve the Jewish converts, and further prejudice the unconverted Jews. But as the reason has long ceased, we are left free in this, as in the like matters. Let converts be warned to avoid all appearances of the evils which they formerly practised, or are likely to be tempted to; and caution them to use Christian liberty with moderation and prudence.
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