I know and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus
As for the apostle's own sense and judgment about the distinction of meats, it was this,
that there is nothing unclean of itself;
that every creature, as originally made by God, is good; that what is eatable, or fit for food, may be eaten, whatever the Mosaic laws, being now abrogated, say to the contrary; and that whatever physical or natural difference there may be between the creatures of God, one being naturally fit for food, and another not; yet there is no moral distinction between them, there is nothing in any of them that can morally defile a man by eating them; nor indeed is there now any ceremonial distinction between them, and so no ceremonial pollution by them. This was not a bare conjecture, nor a mere opinion, but a point of certain knowledge, a matter of faith, and of full assurance of faith; the apostle was thoroughly persuaded of the truth of it, and had not the least doubt nor difficulty in his mind about it; he was as fully assured of it, as he was of his salvation by Christ, and of his interest in the love of God, from which he could never be separated, and therefore expresses it in language equally as strong; and this he came to the knowledge and persuasion of, "by the Lord Jesus"; by his express words, ( Matthew 15:11 Matthew 15:17 Matthew 15:18 ) ; or by a revelation from him, in which way he had the whole Gospel: he might be informed of this matter in like manner as Peter was, by a vision from heaven, ( Acts 10:10 ) , or he knew this through the abrogation of the whole ceremonial law by Christ, who abolished the law of commandments contained in ordinances, and so these laws relating to the difference of meats among the rest; and he knew, that all the creatures in their original creation were good, and though cursed, for man's sake yet Christ had removed the curse, and sanctified them for the use of his people, who, under the Gospel dispensation, might make use of them at pleasure, without distinction: and the Jews themselves own, that what before was unclean, shall in the days of the Messiah be clean: so they explain ( Psalms 146:7 ) ; "the Lord looseth the prisoners", which they would render, "the Lord looseth that which was forbidden"; and give this as the sense F18
``every beast which was unclean in this world (the Jewish state), (awbl dytel htwa rhjm hb"h) , "God will cleanse it in the time to come" (in the times of the Messiah), when they shall be clean as at the first, to the sons of Noah.''So they observe, that the Hebrew word for a hog, (ryzx) , comes from (rzx) , which signifies to return; because, say they F19, hereafter God will cause it to return to the Israelites; and even now, as formerly, they allow of eating anything that is torn, or dies of itself, or hog's flesh to an army entering into a Gentile country, and subduing it, where they can find nothing else F20:
but to him that esteemeth anything to be unclean, to him it is
such a man that thinks the laws concerning clean and unclean meats are still in force, and binding upon him, ought to refrain from eating them; because he would act contrary to his conscience, and so violate and defile it; wherefore though the apostle was so fully satisfied in his own, mind, yet he would not have weak and scrupulous consciences do themselves any hurt through his faith; for if they ate doubtingly, and without faith, it was an evil. Capellus F21 mentions a rule laid down by the Jews, but does not direct where it is to be found, nor have I yet met with it, very agreeable to this of the apostle's, which runs thus:
``this is the grand general rule in the law, that every thing which thou dost not know, (rwoa Kyle rwoa wa rtwm awh) (Ma) , "whether it is lawful or unlawful, to thee it is unlawful", until thou hast asked a wise men concerning who may teach thee that it is lawful.''
F18 Bereshit Rabba in Maji Synops. Jud. Theolog. p. 224. R. Moses Hadarsan in Galatin. de Arcan. Cathol. ver. l. 11. c. 12. p. 699.
F19 Abarbinel. Rosh Amana, c. 13. fol. 18. 2.
F20 Maimon. Hilch. Melacim, c. 8. sect. 1.
F21 In loc.