But we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest
What was his opinion and judgment, concerning the Messiah, whether he was come or not, and whether Jesus of Nazareth was he; and concerning other principles relating to him, embraced by the Christians; and what he had to say for the clearing up, proving, and confirming his sentiments about these things:
for as concerning this sect;
or heresy, meaning the Christian religion: in saying so, they reproached it; for the Gospel, or Christian religion, is not an human device, the choice and option of man's free will, and what he pleases himself with, as an opinion and invention of his own, or of other men, as "heresy" signifies; but it is of God, and by revelation of Jesus Christ, and is a doctrine of the highest wisdom: nor does it deny or take away any fundamental article of true religion; either natural, as known by the Gentiles, or as revealed, with which the Jews were made acquainted, under the former dispensation; but establishes every such article, as the unity of the divine Being; the worship of the one only and true God of Israel, in a spiritual manner; the doctrine of the Messiah, his person, office, and grace; the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment; and therefore could not be chargeable with heresy: nor was it set up for any worldly gain, or popular applause, which are the things that authors and abettors of heresy have in view; nor was it designed to divide and separate persons from the true church of God, but to bring them to it, and unite them together in it; see ( Acts 24:14 ) .
We know that everywhere it is spoken against;
this they knew, both by letters they received, and by persons who came from different parts of the world; and which was fact, and was no other than what was foretold concerning Christ, that he should be a sign that should be spoken against, ( Luke 2:34 ) ; and which the apostle found true of the Gospel preached by him, both among Jews and Greeks; it being to the one a stumblingblock, and to the other foolishness, ( 1 Corinthians 1:23 ) , and especially it was contradicted and blasphemed everywhere by the Jews; these in all places opposed themselves to it, and spoke evil of it, and of its preachers and professors: Christ, the author, sum, and subject of the Christian religion, was spoken against in his person; his deity and divine sonship were denied, as they still are; and his offices, as prophet, priest, and King; yea, his actions, even his works of mercy to the bodies of men, by healing their diseases, his conversing with sinners for the good of their souls, the several miracles he wrought, and the whole series of his life and conversation, were blasphemed and evil spoken of: the doctrines of the Gospel in general were contradicted, as they now are by many, as absurd and irrational, and as tending to licentiousness; and in particular those which respect the Father of Christ, as being the Father of Christ, his everlasting love to the elect in him, and his distinguishing grace in the choice of them; and those which relate to Christ, as that he is truly God, and the Son of God, and to his sacrifice, satisfaction, and imputed righteousness; and also which concern the Spirit of God, as his deity and personality, and his operations on the souls of men; and such as relate to a future state, the resurrection of all the dead, and judgment to come: likewise the ordinances of the Christian religion, baptism and the Lord's supper, were despised and spoken against, and the professors of it treated as fools and wicked men; the reasons of all this are, because the Christian religion, and the doctrines of it, are not of men, are contrary to the lusts of men, and particularly to the pride of men; they subject them to reproach and persecution, and gather men out from among them.