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Horæ Paulinæ


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#21 Resource Manager

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 02:57 PM

No. VIII.

 

This number is supplemental to the former. I propose to point out in it two particulars in the conduct of the argument, perfectly adapted to the historical circumstances under which the epistle was written; which yet are free from all appearance of contrivance, and which it would not, I think, have entered into the mind of a sophist to contrive.

 

1. The Epistle to the Galatians relates to the same general question as the Epistle to the Romans. St. Paul had founded the church of Galatia: at Rome he had never been. Observe now a difference in his manner of treating of the same subject, corresponding with this difference in his situation. In the Epistle to the Galatians he puts the point in a great measure upon authority: “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel,” Gal. 1:6. “I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither re­ceived it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (ch. 1:11,12.) “I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.” (4:11.) “I desire to be present with you now, ... for I stand in doubt of you.” (4:20.) “Behold, I, Paul, say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.” (v. 2.) “This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you.” (v. 8.) This is the style in which he accosts the Galatians. In the epistle to the con­verts of Rome, where his authority was not established, nor his person known, he puts the same points entirely upon argument. The perusal of the epistle will prove this to the satisfaction of every reader; and, as the observation relates to the whole contents of the epistle, I forbear adducing separate extracts. I repeat, therefore, that we have pointed out a dis­tinction in the two epistles, suited to the relation in which the author stood to his different correspondents.

 

Another adaptation, and somewhat of the same kind, is the following:

 

2. The Jews, we know, were very numerous at Rome, and probably formed a principal part amongst the new converts; so much so, that the Christians seem to have been known at Rome rather as a denomination of Jews than as any thing else. In an epistle consequently to the Roman believers, the point to be endeavoured after by St. Paul, was to reconcile the Jewish converts to the opinion, that the Gentiles were admitted by God to a parity of religious situation with themselves, and that without their being bound by the law of Moses. The Gentile converts would probably accede to this opinion very readily. In this epistle, therefore, though directed to the Roman church in general, it is in truth a Jew writing to Jews. Accordingly you will take notice, that as often as his argument leads him to say any thing derogatory from the Jewish insti­tution, he constantly follows it by a softening clause. Having (2:28, 29) pronounced, not much perhaps to the satisfaction of the native Jews, that “he is not a Jew which is one out­wardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh;” he adds immediately, “What advantage then hath the Jew, or what profit is there of circumcision?—Much every way” Having in the third chapter, ver. 28, brought his argu­ment to this formal conclusion, “that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law,” he presently subjoins, ver. 31, “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid! Yea, we establish the law” In the seventh chapter, when in the sixth verse he had advanced the bold assertion, that “now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held;” in the very next verse he comes in with this healing question, “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid! Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law.” Having in the following words insinuated, or rather more than insinuated, the inefficacy of the Jewish law, (8:3,) “for what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh;” after a digression indeed, but that sort of a digression which he could never re­sist, a rapturous contemplation of his Christian hope, and which occupies the latter part of this chapter; we find him in the next, as if sensible that he had said something which would give offence, returning to his Jewish brethren in terms of the warmest affection and respect: “I say the truth in Christ Jesus, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ, for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; whose are the fathers; and of whom as conceming the flesh Christ came” When, in the thirty-first and thirty-second verses of this ninth chapter, he represented to the Jews the error of even the best of their nation, by telling them that “Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, had not attained to the law of righteousness, ... because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone,” he takes care to annex to this declaration these conciliating expressions: “Bre­thren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.” Lastly, having, ch. 10:20, 21, by the application of a passage in Isaiah, in­sinuated the most ungrateful of all propositions to a Jewish ear, the rejection of the Jewish nation as God’s peculiar people; he hastens, as it were, to qualify the intelligence of their fall by this interesting expostulation: “I say, then, hath God cast away his people, (that is, wholly and entirely)? God forbid! for I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people which he fore­knew;” and follows this thought, throughout the whole of the eleventh chapter, in a series of reflections calculated to soothe the Jewish converts, as well as to procure from their Gentile brethren respect to the Jewish institution. Now all this is perfectly natural. In a real St. Paul writing to real converts, it is what anxiety to bring them over to his persuasion would naturally produce; but there is an earnestness and a personality, if I may so call it, in the manner, which a cold forgery, I apprehend, would neither have conceived nor supported.



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Posted 05 May 2013 - 02:58 PM

CHAPTER III.

 

THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS.

 

No. I.

 

Before we proceed to compare this epistle with the history, or with any other epistle, we will employ one number in stating certain remarks applicable to our argument, which arise from a perusal of the epistle itself.

 

By an expression in the first verse of the seventh chapter, “Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me,” it appears, that this letter to the Corinthians was written by St. Paul in answer to one which he had received from them; and that the seventh, and some of the following chapters, are taken up in resolving certain doubts, and regulating certain points of order, concerning which the Corinthians had in their letter consulted him. This alone is a circumstance considerably in favour of the authenticity of the epistle; for it must have been a far-fetched contrivance in a forgery, first to have feigned the receipt of a letter from the church of Corinth, which letter does not appear; and then to have drawn up a fictitious answer to it, relative to a great variety of doubts and inquiries, purely economical and domestic; and which, though likely enough to have occurred to an infant society, in a situation, and under an institution so novel as that of a Christian church then was, it must have very much exercised the author’s invention, and could have answered no imaginable purpose of forgery, to in­troduce the mention of at all. Particulars of the kind we refer to are such as the following: the rule of duty and pru­dence relative to entering into marriage, as applicable to virgins, to widows; the case of husbands married to unconverted wives, of wives having unconverted husbands; that case where the unconverted party chooses to separate, where he chooses to continue the union; the effect which their conversion produced upon their prior state, of circumcision, of slavery; the eating of things offered to idols, as it was in itself, as others were affected by it; the joining in idolatrous sacrifices; the decorum to be observed in their religious assemblies, the order of speak­ing, the silence of women; the covering or uncovering of the head, as it became men, as it became women. These subjects, with their several subdivisions, are so particular, minute, and numerous, that though they be exactly agreeable to the cir­cumstances of the persons to whom the letter was written, nothing, I believe, but the existence and reality of those cir­cumstances could have suggested to the writer’s thoughts.

 

But this is not the only nor the principal observation upon the correspondence between the church of Corinth, and their apostle, which I wish to point out. It appears, I think, in this correspondence, that although the Corinthians had written to St, Paul, requesting his answer and his directions in the several points above enumerated, yet that they had not said one syllable about the enormities and disorders which had crept in amongst them, and in the blame of which they all shared; but that St. Paul’s information concerning the irre­gularities then prevailing at Corinth had come round to him from other quarters. The quarrels and disputes excited by their contentious adherence to their different teachers, and by their placing of them in competition with one another, were not mentioned in their letter, but communicated to St. Paul by more private intelligence: “It hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. “Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.” (1:11, 12.) The incestuous mar­riage “of a man with his father’s wife,” which St. Paul re­prehends with so much severity in the fifth chapter of our epistle, and which was not the crime of an individual only, but a crime in which the whole church, by tolerating and con­niving at it, had rendered themselves partakers, did not come to St. Paul’s knowledge by the letter, but by a rumour which had reached his ears: “It is reported (commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.” (v. 1,2.) Their going to law before the judicature of the country, rather than arbitrate and adjust their disputes among themselves, which St. Paul animadverts upon with his usual plainness, was not intimated to him in the letter, because he tells them his opinion of this conduct before he comes to the contents of the letter. Their litigiousness is cen­sured by St. Paul in the sixth chapter of his epistle, and it is only at the beginning of the seventh chapter that he pro­ceeds upon the articles which he found in their letter; and he proceeds upon them with this preface: “Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me,” (7:1,) which introduction he would not have used if he had been already discussing any of the subjects concerning which they had written. Their irregularities in celebrating the Lord’s Supper, and the utter perversion of the institution which ensued, were not in the letter, as is evident from the terms in which St Paul mentions the notice he had received of it: “Now in this that I declare unto you, I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.” Now that the Corinthians should, in their own letter, exhibit the fair side of their conduct to the apostle, and conceal from him the faults of their behaviour, was extremely natural, and extremely probable: but it was a distinction which would not, I think, have easily occurred to the author of a forgery; and much less likely is it, that it should have entered into his thoughts to make the distinction appear in the way in which it does appear, namely, not by the original letter, not by any express observation upon it in the answer, but distantly by marks perceivable in the manner, or in the order, in which St. Paul takes notice of their faults.



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Posted 05 May 2013 - 02:59 PM

No. II.
 
Our epistle purports to have been written after St. Paul had already been at Corinth: “I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom,” (2:1): and in many other places to the same effect. It purports also to have been written upon the eve of another visit to that church: “I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will,” (4:19,) and again, “I will come unto you, when I shall pass through Macedonia.” (16:5.) Now the history relates that St. Paul did in fact visit Corinth twice; once as recorded at length in the eighteenth, and a second time as mentioned briefly in the twentieth chapter of the Acts. The same history also informs us, (Acts 20:1,) that it was from Ephesus St. Paul proceeded upon his second journey into Greece. There­fore, as the epistle purports to have been written a short time preceding that journey; and as St. Paul, the history tells us, had resided more than two years at Ephesus, before he set out upon it, it follows that it must have been from Ephesus, to be consistent with the history, that the epistle was written; and every note of place in the epistle agrees with this supposition.   “If, after the manner of men, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not?” (15:32.)    I allow that the apostle might say this, wherever he was: but it was more natural and more to the purpose to say it, if he was at Ephesus at the time, and in the midst of those conflicts to which the expression relates, “The churches of Asia salute you.” (16:19.) Asia, through­out the Acts of the Apostles, and the Epistles of St. Paul, does not mean the whole of Asia Minor or Anatolia, nor even the whole of the proconsular Asia, but a district in the anterior part of that country, called Lydian Asia, divided from the rest, much as Portugal is from Spain, and of which district Ephesus was the capital. “Aquila and Priscilla salute you.” (16:19.) Aquila and Priscilla were at Ephesus during the period within which this epistle was written, Acts 18:18,26. “I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost.” (16:8.) This, I apprehend, is in terms almost asserting that he was at Ephesus at the time of writing the epistle. “A great and effectual door is opened unto me.” (16:9.) How well this declaration corresponded with the state of things at Ephesus, and the progress of the gospel in these parts, we learn from the reflection with which the historian concludes the account of certain transactions which passed there: “So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed,” Acts 19:20; as well as from the complaint of Demetrius, “that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath per­suaded and turned away much people.” (19:26.) “And there are many adversaries,” says the epistle, (16:9.) Look into the history of this period: “When divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the mul­titude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples.” The conformity, therefore, upon this head of comparison is circumstantial and perfect. If any one think that this is a conformity so obvious, that any forger of tolerable caution and sagacity would have taken care to preserve it,” I must desire such a one to read the epistle for himself; and, when he has done so, to declare whether he has discovered one mark of art or design; whether the notes of time and place appear to him to be inserted with any reference to each other, with any view of their being compared with each other, or for the purpose of establishing a visible agreement with the history, in respect of them.



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Posted 05 May 2013 - 03:00 PM

No. III.*

 

Chap. 4:17-19. “For this cause I have sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church.    Now some are puffed up, as though I would not come to you. But I will come unto you shortly, if the Lord will.”

 

With this I compare Acts 19:21, 22: “After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem; saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome. So he sent into Macedonia two of them that ministered unto him, Timotheus and Erastus,”

 

Though it be not said, it appears I think with sufficient certainty, I mean from the history, independently of the epistle, that Timothy was sent upon this occasion into Achaia, of which Corinth was the capital city, as well as into Macedonia: for the sending of Timothy and Erastus is, in the pas­sage where it is mentioned, plainly connected with St. Paul’s own journey: he sent them before him. As he therefore pur­posed to go into Achaia himself, it is highly probable that they were to go thither also. Nevertheless, they are said only to have been sent into Macedonia, because Macedonia was in truth the country to which they went immediately from Ephesus; being directed, as we suppose, to proceed after­wards from thence into Achaia. If this be so, the narrative agrees with the epistle; and the agreement is attended with very little appearance of design. One thing at least concern­ing it is certain: that if this passage of St. Paul’s history had been taken from his letter, it would have sent Timothy to Corinth by name, or expressly however into Achaia.

 

But there is another circumstance in these two passages much less obvious, in which an agreement holds without any room for suspicion that it was produced by design. We have observed that the sending of Timothy into the peninsula of Greece was connected in the narrative with St. Paul’s own journey thither; it is stated as the effect of the same resolution. Paul purposed to go into Macedonia; “so he sent into Macedonia two of them that ministered unto him, Timotheus and Erastus.” Now in the epistle also you remark that, when the apostle mentions his having sent Timothy unto them, in the very next sentence he speaks of his own visit: “for this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son,” etc. “Now some are puffed up, as though I would not come to you. But I will come unto you shortly, if the Lord will.” Timothy’s journey, we see, is mentioned in the history and in the epistle, in close connexion with St. Paul’s own.    Here is the same order of thought and intention; yet conveyed under such diversity of circumstance and expression, and the mention of them in the epistle so allied to the occasion which introduces it, namely, the insinuation of his adversaries that he would come to Corinth no more, that I am persuaded no attentive reader will believe that these passages were written in concert with one another, or will doubt but that the agreement is unsought and uncontrived.

 

But, in the Acts, Erastus accompanied Timothy in this journey, of whom no mention is made in the epistle. From what has been said in our observations upon the Epistle to the Romans, it appears probable that Erastus was a Corinthian. If so, though he accompanied Timothy to Corinth, he was only returning home, and Timothy was the messenger charged with St. Paul’s orders. At any rate, this discrepancy shows that the passages were not taken from one another.



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Posted 05 May 2013 - 03:02 PM

No. IV.*

 

Chap. 16:10,11.— “Now, if Timotheus come, see that he may be with you without fear: for he worketh the work of the Lord as I also do. Let no man therefore despise him; but conduct him forth in peace, that he may come unto me: for I look for him with the brethren.”

 

From the passage considered in the preceding number, it appears that Timothy was sent to Corinth, either with the epistle, or before it: “for this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus.” From the passage now quoted, we infer that Timothy was not sent with the epistle; for had he been the bearer of the letter, or accompanied it, would St Paul in that letter have said, “If Timothy come?” Nor is the sequel consistent with the supposition of his carrying the letter; for if Timothy were with the apostle when he wrote the letter, could he say, as he does, “I look for him with the brethren?” I conclude, therefore, that Timothy had left St. Paul to pro­ceed upon his journey before the letter was written. Further, the passage before us seems to imply that Timothy was not expected by St. Paul to arrive at Corinth till after they had received the letter. He gives them directions in the letter how to treat him when he should arrive: “If he come,” act towards him so and so. Lastly, the whole form of expression is most naturally applicable to the supposition of Timothy’s coming to Corinth, not directly from St Paul, but from some other quarter; and that his instructions had been, when he should reach Corinth, to return. Now, how stands this matter in the history? Turn to the nineteenth chapter and twenty-first verse of the Acts, and you will find that Timothy did not, when sent from Ephesus, where he left St. Paul, and where the present epistle was written, proceed by a straight course to Corinth, but that he went round through Mace­donia. This clears up everything; for, although Timothy was sent forth upon his journey before the letter was written, yet he might not reach Corinth till after the letter arrived there; and he would come to Corinth, when he did come, not directly from St. Paul at Ephesus, but from some part of Macedonia. Here, therefore, is a circumstantial and critical agreement, and unquestionably without design; for neither of the two passages in the epistle mentions Timothy’s journey into Macedonia at all, though nothing but a circuit of that kind can explain and reconcile the expressions which the writer uses.(e)

 

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(e) For some further observations on the subject of these two articles see Horæ Apostolicæ: cap. iv. No. II. and cap. IX. No. I., where the hypothesis of Hug and others on this journey is examined and disproved, and the view of Paley is confirmed, with a slight modification.—ED



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Posted 05 May 2013 - 03:03 PM

No. V.*

 

Chap. 1:12.— “Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.”

 

Also, 3:6.— “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.”

 

This expression, “I have planted, Apollos watered,” im­ports two things: first, that Paul had been at Corinth before Apollos; secondly, that Apollos had been at Corinth after Paul, but before the writing of this epistle. This im­plied account of the several events, and of the order in which they took place, corresponds exactly with the history. St Paul, after his first visit into Greece, returned from Corinth into Syria by the way of Ephesus; and, dropping his companions Aquila and Priscilla at Ephesus, he proceeded forwards to Jerusalem; from Jerusalem he descended to Antioch; and from thence made a progress through some of the upper or northern provinces of the Lesser Asia, Acts 18:19, 23; during which progress, and consequently in the interval between St. Paul’s first and second visit to Corinth, and consequently also before the writing of this epistle, which was at Ephesus, two years at least after the apostle’s return from his progress, we hear of Apollos, and we hear of him at Corinth. Whilst St. Paul was engaged, as hath been said, in Phrygia and Galatia, Apollos came down to Ephesus; and being, in St. Paul’s absence, instructed by Aquila and Priscilla, and having obtained letters of recommendation from the church at Ephesus, he passed over to Achaia; and when he was there, we read that he “helped them much which had believed through grace: for he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly,” Acts 18:27, 28. To have brought Apollos into Achaia, of which Corinth was the capital city, as well as the principal Christian church, and to have shown that he preached the gospel in that country, would have been sufficient for our purpose. But the history happens also to mention Corinth by name, as the place in which Apollos, after his arrival in Achaia, fixed his residence: for, proceeding with the account of St. Paul’s travels, it tells us, that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul, having passed through the upper coasts, came down to Ephesus. (19:1.) What is said, therefore, of Apollos in the epistle, coincides exactly, and especially in the point of chronology, with what is delivered concerning him in the history. The only question now is, whether the allusions were made with a regard to this coincidence. Now the oc­casions and purposes for which the name of Apollos is intro­duced in the Acts and in the epistles are so independent and so remote, that it is impossible to discover the smallest reference from one to the other. Apollos is mentioned in the Acts, in immediate connexion with the history of Aquila and Priscilla, and for the very singular circumstance of his “know­ing only the baptism of John.” In the epistle, where none of these circumstances are taken notice of, his name first occurs, for the purpose of reproving the contentious spirit of the Corinthians; and it occurs only in conjunction with that of some others: “Every one of you saith, I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas, and I of Christ.” The second passage in which Apollos appears, “I have planted, Apollos watered,” fixes, as we have observed, the order of time amongst three distinct events; but it fixes this, I will venture to pronounce, without the writer perceiving that he was doing any such thing. The sentence fixes this order in exact con­formity with the history; but it is itself introduced solely for the sake of the reflection which follows:— “Neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.” (f)

 

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(f) Professor Hug, who dates the Epistle to Titus during St. Paul’s first brief stay at Ephesus, contends that Apollos reached that city before St. Paul left it. Such a view, however, is a plain contradiction of the history, which places his arrival daring the circuit of St. Paul in Upper Asia, and tells us that Aquila and Priscilla were his instructors, clearly in St. Paul’s absence. The grammatical force of Acts 19:1, is just the opposite of what he affirms it to be, and distinctly places only the arrival of St. Paul at Ephesus, and not his whole previous circuit in Asia, after the voyage of Apollos to Corinth. Hence the argument of Paley is perfectly just and accurate. See Horæ Apostolicæ: cap. III. No. III. for some further remarks on the same text.—ED.



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Posted 05 May 2013 - 03:04 PM

No. VI.

 

Chap. 4:11, 12.— “Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling-place; and labour, working with our own hands.”

 

We are expressly told in the history, that at Corinth St. Paul laboured with his own hands: “He found Aquila and Priscilla; and, because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought; for by their occupation they were tent-makers.” But, in the text before us, he is made to say, that he laboured “even unto this present hour” that is, to the time of writing the epistle at Ephesus. Now in the narration of St. Paul’s transactions at Ephesus, delivered in the nine­teenth chapter of the Acts, nothing is said of his working with his own hands; but in the twentieth chapter we read that, upon his return from Greece, he sent for the. elders of the church of Ephesus to meet him at Miletus; and in the dis­course which he there addressed to them, amidst some other reflections which he calls to their remembrance, we find the following: “I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.” The reader will not forget to remark, that though St. Paul be now at Miletus, it is to the elders of the church of Ephesus he is speaking, when he says, “Ye yourselves know that these hands have ministered unto my necessities;” and that the whole discourse relates to his conduct during his last preceding residence at Ephesus. That manual labour, therefore, which he had exercised at Corinth, he continued at Ephesus; and not only so, but continued it during that par­ticular residence at Ephesus, near the conclusion of which this epistle was written; so that he might with the strictest truth say, at the time of writing the epistle, “Even unto this present hour we labour, working with our own hands.” The cor­respondency is sufficient. Then, as to the undesignedness of it: It is manifest, to my judgment, that if the history, in this article, had been taken from the epistle, this circumstance, if it appeared at all, would have appeared in its place, that is, in the direct account of St. Paul’s transactions at Ephesus. The correspondency would not have been effected, as it is, by a kind of reflected stroke, that is, by a reference in a subse­quent speech to what in the narrative was omitted. Nor is it likely, on the other hand, that a circumstance which is not extant in the history of St. Paul at Ephesus should have been made the subject of a factitious allusion, in an epistle purport­ing to be written by him from that place; not to mention that the allusion itself, especially as to time, is too oblique and general to answer any purpose of forgery whatever.



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Posted 05 May 2013 - 03:07 PM

No. VII.

 

Chap. 9:20.— “And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law.”

 

We have the disposition here described exemplified in two instances which the history records; one, Acts 16:3: “Him (Timothy) would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him, because of the Jews which were in those quarters; for they knew all that his father was a Greek.” This was before the writing of the epistle. The other, Acts 21:23, 26, and after the writing of the epistle: “Do there­fore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a vow on them: them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads; and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law.—Then Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them entered into the temple” Nor does this concurrence between the character and the instances look like the result of contrivance. St. Paul in the epistle describes, or is made to describe, his own accommodating conduct towards Jews and towards Gentiles, towards the weak and over-scrupulous, towards men, indeed, of every variety of character; “to them that are without law as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” This is the sequel of the text which stands at the head of the present number. Taking, therefore, the whole passage together, the apostle’s condescension to the Jews is mentioned only as a part of his general disposition towards all. It is not probable that this character should have been made up from the instances in the Acts, which relate solely to his dealings with the Jews. It is not probable that a sophist should take his hint from those instances, and then extend it so much beyond them: and it is still more incredible that the two instances in the Acts, cir­cumstantially related and interwoven with the history, should have been fabricated in order to suit the character which St. Paul gives of himself in the epistle.



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Posted 05 May 2013 - 03:08 PM

No. VIII.

 

Chap. 1:14-17.— “I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; lest any should say that I baptized in mine own name. And I baptized also the household of Stephanas; besides, I know not whether I baptized any other. For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel.”

 

It may be expected that those whom the apostle baptized with his own hands were converts distinguished from the rest by some circumstance, either of eminence or of connexion with him. Accordingly, of the three names here mentioned, Crispus, we find, from Acts 18:8, was a “chief ruler” of the Jewish synagogue at Corinth, who “believed on the Lord with all his house.” Gaius, it appears from Rom. 16:2-3, was St. Paul’s host at Corinth, and the host, he tells us, “of the whole church.” The household of Stephanas, we read in the sixteenth chapter of this epistle, “were the first fruits of Achaia.” Here, therefore, is the propriety we ex­pected; and it is a proof of reality not to be contemned; for their names appearing in the several places in which they occur, with a mark of distinction belonging to each, could hardly be the effect of chance, without any truth to direct it: and, on the other hand, to suppose that they were picked out from these passages, and brought together in the text before us, in order to display a conformity of names, is both im­probable in itself, and is rendered more so by the purpose for which they are introduced. They come in to assist St. Paul’s exculpation of himself, against the possible charge of having assumed the character of the founder of a separate religion, and with no other visible, or, as I think, imaginable design.*

 

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* Chap. 1:1. “Paul called to he an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth.” The only account we have of any person who bore the name of Sosthenes is found in the eighteenth chapter of the Acts. When the Jews at Corinth had brought Paul before Gallio, and Gallio had dismissed their complaint as unworthy of his interference, and had driven them from the judgment-seat, “then all the Greeks,” says the historian, “took Sosthenes, the chief ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment-seat.” The Sosthenes here spoken of was a Corinthian; and, if he was a Christian, and with St. Paul when he wrote this epistle, was likely enough to be joined with him in the salutation of the Corinthian church. But here occurs a difficulty. If Sosthenes was a Christian at the time of this uproar, why should the Greeks beat him? The assault upon the Christians was made by the Jews. It was the Jews who had brought Paul before the magistrate. If it had been the Jews also who had beaten Sosthenes, I should not have doubted but that he had been a favourer of St. Paul, and the same person who is joined with him in the epistle. Let us see therefore whether there be not some error in our present text. The Alexandrian manuscript gives πάντες alone, without οὶ Ἑλληνες, and it is followed in this reading by the Coptic version, by the Arabian version, published by Erpenius, by the Vulgate, and by Bede’s Latin version. The Greek manuscripts again, as well as Chrysostom, give οὶ  Ἰουδαι̂οι, in the place of οὶ  Ἑλληνες. A great plurality of manuscripts authorize the reading which is retained in our copies. In this variety it appears to me extremely probable that the historian originally wrote πάντες alone, and that οὶ ‘Ελληνες and οὶ Ἰουδαι̂οι have been respectively added as explanatory of what the word παvτες was supposed to mean. The sentence, without the addition of either name, would run very perspicuously thus, “κὰι ὰπήλασεν άυτοὺς άπό τοῦ βήματος ἐπιλαβόμενοι δε πάντες Εωσθένην τὸν ἀρχισυνάγωγον, ἔτυπτov ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ βήματος, and he drove them away from the judgment-seat; and they all,” namely, the crowd of Jews whom the judge had bid begone, “took Sosthenes, and beat him before the judgment seat.” It is certain that, as the whole body of the people were Greeks, the application of all to them was unusual and hard. If I were describing an insurrection at Paris, I might say all the Jews, all the Protestants, or all the English, acted so-and-so; but I should scarcely say all the French, when the whole mass of the community were of that description. As what is here offered is founded upon a various reading, and that in opposition to the greater part of the manuscripts that are extant, I have not given it a place in the text, (g)

 

(g) See Horæ Apostolicæ: cap. III. No. I. for a different view of the above passage, where Sosthenes is named, and one which turns it into a striking addition to the general argument —ED.



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Posted 05 May 2013 - 03:08 PM

No. IX.

 

Chap. 16:11.— “Now, if Timotheus come, let no man despise him.”—Why despise him? This charge is not given concerning any other messenger whom St. Paul sent; and, in the different epistles, many such messengers are men­tioned. Turn to 1 Timothy, chap. iv. 12, and you will find that Timothy was a young man, younger probably than those who were usually employed in the Christian mission; and that St. Paul, apprehending lest he should, on that account, be exposed to contempt, urges upon him the caution which is there inserted, “Let no man despise thy youth.”



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Posted 06 May 2013 - 02:29 AM

No. Χ.*

 

Chap. 16:1.— “Now, concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.”

 

The churches of Galatia and Phrygia were the last churches which St. Paul had visited before the writing of this epistle. He was now at Ephesus, and he came thither immediately from visiting these churches: “He went over all the country of Galatia and Phrygia in order, strengthening all the disciples.— And it came to pass that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts,” (namely, the above-named countries, called the upper coasts, as being the northern part of Asia Minor,) “came to Ephesus,” Acts 18:23; 19:1. These, therefore, probably were the last churches at which he left directions for their public conduct during his absence. Although two years intervened between his journey to Ephesus and his writing this epistle, yet it does not appear that during that time he visited any other church. That he had not been silent, when he was in Galatia, upon this subject of contri­bution for the poor, is further made out from a hint which he lets fall in his epistle to that church: “Only they (namely, the other apostles) would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.”(h)

 

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(h) See Horæ Apostolicæ: cap. III  No. VIII., for dome further remarks on this text. upper parts, it may be observed, denote the eastern, and not, as Paley has twice intimated, the northern parts of Asia.—Ed.

 



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Posted 06 May 2013 - 02:32 AM

No. XI.

 

Chap. 4:18.— “Now some are puffed up, as though I would not come unto you.”

 

Why should they suppose that he would not come? Turn to the first chapter of the second Epistle to the Corinthians, and you will find that he had already disappointed them: “I was minded to come unto you before, that ye might have a second benefit; and to pass by you into Macedonia, and to come again out of Macedonia unto you, and of you to be brought on my way toward Judæa. When I therefore was thus minded, did I use lightness? Or the things that I pur­pose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yea yea, and nay nay? But, as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay. “It appears from this quotation that he had not only intended, but that he had promised them a visit before; for, otherwise, why should he apologize for the change of his purpose, or express so much anxiety lest this change should be imputed to any culpable fickleness in his temper; and lest he should thereby seem to them as one whose word was not, in any sort, to be depended upon? Besides which, the terms made use of plainly refer to a promise, “Our word toward you was not yea and nay.” St. Paul, therefore, had signified an intention which he had not been able to execute; and this seeming breach of his word, and the delay of his visit, had, with some who were evil affected towards him, given birth to a suggestion that he would come no more to Corinth.



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Posted 06 May 2013 - 03:49 AM

No. XII.*

 

Chap. 5:7, 8.— “For even Christ our Passover is sacri­ficed for us: therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and “truth.”

 

Dr. Benson tells us, that from this passage, compared with chapter 16:8, it has been conjectured that this epistle was written about the time of the Jewish passover; and to me the conjecture appears to be very well founded. The passage to which Dr. Benson refers us is this: “I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost.” With this passage he ought to have joined another in the same context: “and it may be that I will abide, yea, and winter with you;” for from the two passages laid together, it follows that the epistle was written before Pentecost, yet after winter, which necessarily determines the date to the part of the year within which the passover falls. It was written before Pentecost, because he says, “I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost.” It was written after winter, because he tells them, “It may be that I may abide, yea, and winter with you.” The winter which the apostle purposed to pass at Corinth was undoubtedly the winter next ensuing to the date of the epistle; yet it was a winter subsequent to the ensuing Pentecost, because he did not intend to set forwards upon his journey till after that feast. The words, “let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth,” look very like words suggested by the season; at least they have, upon that sup­position, a force and significancy which do not belong to them upon any other; and it is not a little remarkable, that the hints casually dropped in the epistle, concerning particular parts of the year, should coincide with this supposition,(i)

 

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(i) See Horæ Apostolicæ: cap. III. No. VI. Mr. Greswell infers, from the passage here discussed, that the letter was written before the passover had arrived. It may be shown, I think, by arguments which I have there used, that it was written after the passover, and only a few weeks before Pentecost. For another coincidence, derived from 1 Cor. 16:6, see No. 9: in the same chapter.—ED.


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Posted 06 May 2013 - 03:50 AM

CHAPTER IV.

 

THE SECOND EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS.

 

No. I.

 

I will not say that it is impossible, having seen the first Epistle to the Corinthians, to construct a second with osten­sible allusions to the first; or that it is impossible that both should be fabricated, so as to carry on an order and continua­tion of story, by successive references to the same events. But I say that this, in either case, must be the effect of craft and design. Whereas, whoever examines the allusions to the former epistle which he finds in this, whilst he will acknow­ledge them to be such as would rise spontaneously to the hand of the writer, from the very subject of the correspond­ence, and the situation of the corresponding parties, supposing these to be real, will see no particle of reason to suspect, either that the clauses containing these allusions were insertions for the purpose, or that the several transactions of the Co­rinthian church were feigned, in order to form a train of nar­rative, or to support the appearance of connexion between the two epistles.

 

1. In the first epistle, St. Paul announces his intention of passing through Macedonia, in his way to Corinth: “I will come to you when I shall pass through Macedonia.” In the second epistle, we find him arrived in Macedonia, and about to pursue his journey to Corinth. But observe the manner in which this is made to appear: “I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath pro­voked very many. Yet have I sent the brethren, lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this behalf; that, as I said, ye may be ready; lest haply if they of Macedonia come with me, and find you unprepared, we (that we say not, ye) be ashamed in this same confident boasting.” (Chap. 9:2-4.) St. Paul’s being in Macedonia at the time of writing the epistle is, in this passage, inferred only from his saying that he had boasted to the Macedonians of the alacrity of his Achaian converts; and the fear which he expresses lest, if any of the Macedonian Christians should come with him unto Achaia, they should find his boasting unwarranted by the event.    The business of the contribution is the sole cause of mentioning Macedonia at all. Will it be insinuated that this passage was framed merely to state that St. Paul was now in Macedonia; and, by that statement, to produce an apparent agreement with the purpose of visiting Macedonia, notified in the first epistle? Or will it be thought probable that, if a sophist had meant to place St. Paul in Macedonia, for the sake of giving countenance to his forgery, he would have done it in so oblique a manner as through the medium of a contri­bution? The same thing may be observed of another text in the epistle, in which the name of Macedonia occurs: “Fur­thermore, when I came to Troas to preach the gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord, I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus, my brother; but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia.” I mean, that it may be observed of this passage also, that there is a reason for mentioning Macedonia, entirely distinct from the purpose of showing St. Paul to be there. Indeed, if the pas­sage before us show that point at all, it shows it so obscurely that Grotius, though he did not doubt that Paul was now in Macedonia, refers this text to a different journey. Is this the hand of a forger, meditating to establish a false conformity? The text, however, in which it is most strongly implied that St. Paul wrote the present epistle from Macedonia, is found in the fourth, fifth, and sixth verses of the seventh chapter: “I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation. For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears. Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus.” Yet even here, I think, no one will contend that St. Paul’s coming to Macedonia, or being in Macedonia, was the principal thing intended to be told: or that the telling of it, indeed, was any part of the intention with which the text was written; or that the mention even of the name of Macedonia was not purely incidental, in the descrip­tion of those tumultuous sorrows with which the writer’s mind had been lately agitated, and from which he was relieved by the coming of Titus. The first five verses of the eighth chapter, which commend the liberality of the Macedonian churches, do not, in my opinion, by themselves, prove St. Paul to have been at Macedonia at the time of writing the epistle.



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Posted 06 May 2013 - 03:50 AM

2. In the first epistle, St Paul denounces a severe censure against an incestuous marriage, which had taken place amongst the Corinthian converts, with the connivance, not to say with the approbation, of the church; and enjoins the church to purge itself of this scandal, by expelling the offender from its society: “It is reported commonly that there is for­nication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named amongst the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concern­ing him that hath done this deed, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, to deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” (Chap. 5:1-5.) In the second epistle, we find this sentence executed, and the offender to be so affected with the punishment, that St. Paul now intercedes for his restoration: “Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. So that, contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such an one should be swallowed up with over­much sorrow. Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him,” 2 Cor. 2:6-8. Is this whole business feigned, for the sake of carrying on a con­tinuation of story through the two epistles? The church also, no less than the offender, was brought by St. Paul’s reproof to a deep sense of the impropriety of their conduct. Their penitence, and their respect to his authority, were, as might be expected, exceeding grateful to St. Paul: “We were com­forted not by Titus’s coming only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me; so that I rejoiced the more. For, though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I per­ceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season. Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.” (Chap. 7:7-9.) That this passage is to be referred to the incestuous marriage is proved by the twelfth verse of the same chapter: “though I wrote unto you, I did it not for his cause that had done the wrong, nor for his cause that suffered wrong, but that our care for you, in the sight of God, might appear unto you.” There were, it is true, vari­ous topics of blame noticed in the first epistle; but there were none, except this of the incestuous marriage, which could be called a transaction between private parties, or of which it could be said that one particular person had “done the wrong,” and another particular person “had suffered it.” Could all this be without foundation? or could it be put in the Second Epistle merely to furnish an obscure sequel to what had been said about an incestuous marriage in the first? 



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Posted 06 May 2013 - 03:52 AM

3. In the sixteenth chapter of the first epistle, a collection for the saints is recommended to be set forwards at Corinth: “Now concerning the collection for the saints as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.” (Chap. 16:1.) In the ninth chapter of the second epistle, such a collection is spoken of, as in readiness to be received:— “As touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you: for I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many.” (Chap. 9:1, 2.) This is such a continuation of the transaction as might be expected; or possibly it will be said, as might easily be counterfeited: but there is a circumstance of nicety in the agreement between the two epistles, which, I am convinced, the author of a forgery would not have hit upon, or which, if he had hit upon it, he would have set forth with more clear­ness. The second epistle speaks of the Corinthians as having begun this eleemosynary business a year before: “This is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago.” (Chap. 8:10.) “I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago.” (Chap. 9:2.) From these texts it is evident, that something had been done in the business a year before. It appears, however, from other texts in the epistle, that the contribution was not yet collected or paid; for brethren were sent from St. Paul to Corinth, “to make up their bounty.” (Chap. 9:5.) They are urged to “perform the doing of it.” (Chap. 8:11.) And every man was exhorted to give as he purposed in his heart. (Chap. 9:7.) The contribu­tion, therefore, as represented in our present epistle, was in readiness, yet not received from the contributors; was begun, was forward long before, yet not hitherto collected. Now this representation agrees with one, and only with one, supposition, namely, that every man had laid by in store, had already provided the fund, from which he was afterwards to contribute —the very case which the first epistle authorizes us to sup­pose to have existed; for in that epistle St. Paul had charged the Corinthians, “Upon the first day of the week, let every one of you lay by in store as God hath prospered him,”* (1 Cor. 16:2.)

 

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* The following observations will satisfy us concerning the purity of our apostle’s conduct in the suspicious business of a pecuniary contribution:—

 

1.  He disclaims the having received any inspired authority for the directions which he is giving: “I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.” (2 Cor. 8:8.) Who, that had a sinister purpose to answer by the recommending of subscriptions, would thus distinguish, and thus lower the credit of his own recommendation? (k)

2.  Although he asserts the general right of Christian ministers to a maintenance from their ministry, yet he protests against the making use of this right in his own person: “Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel. But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying,” that is, my professions of dis-interestedness, “void.” (1 Cor. 9:14,13.)

3.  He repeatedly proposes that there should be associates with himself in the management of the public bounty; not colleagues of his own appointment, but persons elected for that purpose by the contributors themselves: “And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem. And if it be meet that I go also, they shall go with me.” (1 Cor. 16:3, 4.) And in the second epistle, what is here proposed we find actually done, and done for the very purpose of guarding his character against any imputation that might be brought upon it, in the discharge of a pecuniary trust: “And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches; and not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us with this grace, (gift,) which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind: avoiding this, that no man should blame us in this abundance which is administered by us: pro¬viding for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men; that is, not resting in the consciousness of our own integrity, but, in such a subject, careful also to approve our integrity to the public judgment. (2 Cor. 8:18-21.)

 

(k) This remark seems to rest on an evident misinterpretation. The meaning of St. Paul is not to disclaim a Divine warrant for the advice he offers, but to state emphatically that it is advice, and not a command, and that he would have the offering to be free and spontaneous. The delicacy of thought and feeling in the passage is greatly obscured, if we lose sight of the true meaning of the expression. Some duties are plain and absolute, and these he enforces with apostolic authority; others are indirect, and have no value, unless as the free utterance of Christian love. In this case the apostle, under the teaching of the same Spirit, disclaims the exercise of authority, and simply pleads with them as a Christian brother.—ED.



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Posted 06 May 2013 - 03:54 AM

No. II.*

 

In comparing the second epistle to the Corinthians with the Acts of the Apostles, we are soon brought to observe, not only that there exists no vestige either of the epistle having been taken from the history, or the history from the epistle; but also that there appears in the contents of the epistle, positive evidences that neither was borrowed from the other· Titus, who bears a conspicuous part in the epistle, is not mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles at all. St. Paul’s sufferings enumerated, chap. 11:24, “Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one, thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day have I been in the deep,” cannot be made out from his history as delivered in the Acts; nor would this account have been given by a writer, who either drew his knowledge of St. Paul from that history, or who was careful to preserve a conformity with it. The account in the epistle of St. Paul’s escape from Damascus, though agreeing in the main fact with the account of the same transaction in the Acts, is related with such difference of circumstance, as renders it utterly im­probable that one should be derived from the other. The two accounts, placed by the side of each other, stand as follows:—

 

2 Cor. 11:32, 33.    In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me: and through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands.

 

Acts 9:23-25. And after many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him: but their laying in wait was known of Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to kill him. Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket.

 

Now if we be satisfied in general concerning these two an­cient writings, that the one was not known to the writer of the other, or not consulted by him; then the accordances which may be pointed out between them will admit of no solution so probable, as the attributing of them to truth and reality, as to their common foundation.(l)

 

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(l) See Horæ Apostolicæ: cap. IV. No. IV., for some further remarks on the congruity of these two passages.—ED.

 



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Posted 06 May 2013 - 03:55 AM

No. III.

 

The opening of this epistle exhibits a connexion with the history, which alone would satisfy my mind that the epistle was written by St. Paul, and by St. Paul in the situation in which the history places him. Let it be remembered that in the nineteenth chapter of the Acts, St. Paul is represented as driven away from Ephesus, or as leaving however Ephesus, in consequence of an uproar in that city, excited by some in­terested adversaries of the new religion. The account of the tumult is as follows: “When they heard these sayings,” namely, Demetrius’s complaint of the danger to be apprehended from St. Paul’s ministry to the established worship of the Ephesian goddess, “they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians. And the whole city was filled with confusion: and having caught Gaius and Aris tarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul’s companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre. And when Paul would have entered in unto the people, the disciples suffered him not. And certain of the chief of Asia, which were his friends, sent unto him, desiring him that he would not ad­venture himself into the theatre. Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly was confused; and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together. And they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. And Alexander beckoned with his hand, and would have made his defence unto the people. But when they knew that he was a Jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.—And after the uproar was ceased, Paul called unto him the disciples, and embraced them, and departed for to go into Macedonia.” When he was arrived in Macedonia, he wrote the second Epistle to the Corinthians, which is now before us; and he begins his epistle in this wise: “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble by the comfort, where­with we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation. For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: but we had the sen­tence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in our­selves, but in God which raiseth the dead: who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us.” Nothing could be more expres­sive of the circumstances in which the history describes St. Paul to have been, at the time when the epistle purports to be written; or rather, nothing could be more expressive of the sensations arising from these circumstances, than this pas­sage. It is the calm recollection of a mind emerged from the confusion of instant danger. It is that devotion and solemnity of thought, which follows a recent deliverance. There is just enough of particularity in the passage to show that it is to be referred to the tumult at Ephesus: “We would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia.” And there is nothing more; no mention of Demetrius, of the seizure of St. Paul’s friends, of the interference of the town-clerk, of the occasion or nature of the danger which St. Paul had escaped, or even of the city where it happened; in a word, no recital from which a suspicion could be conceived, either that the author of the epistle had made use of the narra­tive in the Acts; or, on the other hand, that he had sketched the outline, which the narrative in the Acts only filled up. That the forger of an epistle, under the name of St. Paul, should borrow circumstances from a history of St. Paul then extant; or, that the author of a history of St. Paul should gather materials from letters bearing St. Paul’s name, may be credited; but I cannot believe that any forger whatever should fell upon an expedient so refined as to exhibit sentiments adapted to a situation, and to leave his readers to seek out that situation from the history; still less that the author of a history should go about to frame facts and circumstances, fitted to supply the sentiments which he found in the letter. It may be said, perhaps, that it does not appear from the history that any danger threatened St. Paul’s life in the uproar at Ephesus, so imminent as that from which in the epistle he represents himself to have been delivered. This matter, it is true, is not stated by the historian in form; but the personal danger of the apostle, we cannot doubt, must have been ex­treme, when the “whole city was filled with confusion;” when the populace had “seized his companions;” when, in the dis­traction of his mind, he insisted upon “coming forth amongst them;” when the Christians who were about him would not suffer him; when “his friends, certain of the chief of Asia, sent unto him, desiring him that he would not adventure himself into the theatre;” when, lastly, he was obliged to quit immediately the place and the country, “and when the tumult was ceased to depart into Macedonia.”    All which particulars are found in the narration, and justify St. Paul’s own account, “that he was pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that he despaired even of life; that he had the sentence of death in himself;” that is, that he looked upon himself as a man condemned to die.



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Posted 06 May 2013 - 03:56 AM

No. IV.

 

It has already been remarked, that St. Paul’s original inten­tion was to have visited Corinth on his way to Macedonia; “I was minded to come unto you before... .and to pass by you into Macedonia,” 2 Cor. 1:15, 16. It has also been remarked that he changed his intention, and ultimately resolved upon going through Macedonia first. Now upon this head there exists a circumstance of correspondency between our epistle and the history, which is not very obvious to the reader’s observation; but which, when observed, will be found, I think, close and exact. Which circumstance is this: that though the change of St. Paul’s intention be expressly mentioned only in the second epistle, yet it appears, both from the history and from this second epistle, that the change had taken place before the writing of the first epistle; that it appears how­ever from neither, otherwise than by an inference, unnoticed perhaps by almost every one who does not sit down pro­fessedly to the examination.

 

First, then, how does this point appear from the history? In the nineteenth chapter of the Acts, and the twenty-first verse, we are told, that “Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem. —So he sent into Macedonia two of them that ministered unto him, Timotheus and Erastus; but he himself stayed in Asia for a season.” A short time after this, and evidently in pur­suance of the same intention, we find (chap. 20:1, 2) that “Paul departed from Ephesus for to go into Macedonia: and that, when he had gone over those parts he came into Greece.” The resolution therefore of passing first through Macedonia, and from thence into Greece, was formed by St. Paul, previously to the sending away of Timothy. The order in which the two countries are mentioned shows the direction of his intended route, “when he had passed through Mace­donia and Achaia.” Timothy and Erastus, who were to pre­cede him in his progress, were sent by him from Ephesus into Macedonia. He himself a short time afterwards, and, as hath been observed, evidently in continuation and pursuance of the same design, “departed for to go into Macedonia.” If he had ever, therefore, entertained a different plan of his journey, which is not hinted in the history, he must have changed that plan before this time. But, from the seventeenth verse of the fourth chapter of the first Epistle to the Corinthians, we dis­cover, that Timothy had been sent away from Ephesus before that epistle was written: “For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son.” The change there­fore of St. Paul’s resolution, which was prior to the sending away of Timothy, was necessarily prior to the writing of the first Epistle to the Corinthians.(m)

 

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(m) Mr. Greswell supposes that the journey of Timothy mentioned in Acts, and the one alluded to in the former epistle, were distinct. It is, however, very clear that they were the same. See Horæ Apostolicæ: ch. III. No. IV., where the reasons are examined, and the accuracy of Paley’s view confirmed,—ED.



#40 Resource Manager

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 03:57 AM

Thus stands the order of dates, as collected from the history, compared with the first epistle. Now let us inquire, secondly, how this matter is represented in the epistle before us. In the sixteenth verse of the first chapter of this epistle, St. Paul speaks of the intention which he had once entertained of visiting Achaia in his way to Macedon: “In this confidence I was minded to come unto you before, that ye might have a second benefit: and to pass by you into Macedonia.” After protesting, in the seventeenth verse, against any evil construc­tion that might be put upon his laying aside of this intention, in the twenty-third verse he discloses the cause of it: “More­over I call God for a record upon my soul, that to spare you I came not as yet unto Corinth.” And then he proceeds as follows: “But I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness. For if I make you sorry, who is he then that maketh me glad, but the same which is made sorry by me? And I wrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all. For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you. But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me: but in part, that I may not overcharge you all. Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many.” In this quotation, let the reader first direct his atten­tion to the clause marked by Italics, “and I wrote this same unto you,” and let him consider, whether, from the context, and from the structure of the whole passage, it be not evident that this writing was after St Paul had “determined with himself that he would not come again to them with heaviness?” whether, indeed, it was not in consequence of this determina­tion, or at least with this determination upon his mind? And, in the next place, let him consider, whether the sentence, “I determined this with myself that I would not come again to you in heaviness,” do not plainly refer to that postponing of his visit, to which he had alluded in the verse but one before, when he said, “I call God for a record upon my soul, that to spare you, I came not as yet unto Corinth:” and whether this be not the visit of which he speaks in the sixteenth verse, wherein he informs the Corinthians, “that he had been minded to pass by them into Macedonia,” but that, for reasons which argued no levity or fickleness in his disposition, he had been compelled to change his purpose. If this be so, then it follows that the writing here mentioned was posterior to the change of his intention. The only question, therefore, that remains, will be, whether this writing relate to the letter which we now have under the title of the first Epistle to the Corinthians, or to some other letter not extant? And upon this question I think Mr. Locke’s observation decisive; namely, that the second clause marked in the quotation by Italics, “I wrote unto you with many tears,” and the first clause so marked, “I wrote this same unto you,” belong to one writing, whatever that was; and that the second clause goes on to advert to a circumstance which is found in our present first epistle to the Corinthians; namely, the case and punishment of the in­cestuous person. Upon the whole, then, we see that it is capable of being inferred from St. Paul’s own words, in the long extract which we have quoted, that the first epistle to the Corinthians was written after St. Paul had determined to postpone his journey to Corinth; in other words, that the change of his purpose with respect to the course of his journey, though expressly mentioned only in the second epistle, had taken place before the writing of the first; the point which we made out to be implied in the history, by the order of the events there recorded, and the allusions to those events in the first epistle. Now this is a species of congruity of all others the most to be relied upon. It is not an agreement between two accounts of the same transaction, or between different statements of the same fact, for the fact is not stated; nothing that can be called an account is given; but it is the junction of two conclusions, deduced from independent sources, and deducible only by investigation and comparison.

 

This point, namely, the change of the route, being prior to the writing of the first epistle, also falls in with, and accounts for, the manner in which he speaks in that epistle of his journey. His first intention had been, as he declares, to “pass by them into Macedonia:” that intention having been pre­viously given up, he writes, in his first epistle,” that he would not see them now by the way,” that is, as he must have done upon his first plan; but “that he trusted to tarry awhile with them, and possibly to abide, yea and winter with them.” 1 Cor. 16:5, 6. It also accounts for a singularity in the text referred to, which must strike every reader: “I will come to you when I pass through Macedonia; for I do pass through Macedonia.” The supplemental sentence, “for I do pass through Macedonia,” imports that there had been some previous communication upon the subject of the journey; and also that there had been some vacillation and indecisiveness in the apostle’s plan: both which we now perceive to have been the case. The sentence is as much as to say, “This is what I at last resolve upon.” The expression “ὃταν Μακε-δovίav διέλθω,” is ambiguous; it may denote either “when I pass,” or “when I shall have passed, through Macedonia:” the considerations offered above fix it to the latter sense,(n) Lastly, the point we have endeavoured to make out confirms, or rather, indeed, is necessary to the support of a conjecture, which forms the subject of a number in our observations upon the first epistle, that the insinuation of certain of the church of Corinth, that he would come no more amongst them, was founded on some previous disappointment of their expectations.

 

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(n) This remark is, I conceive, incorrect. The force of the subjunctive aorist is distinctly given only by the second version, “when I shall have passed through Macedonia;” and this is the meaning which the scope of history plainly requires. —ED.






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