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Horæ Paulinæ


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Posted 16 July 2013 - 02:05 AM

No. V.

 

Our epistle purports to have been written near the conclusion of St. Paul’s imprisonment at Rome, and after a residence in that city of considerable duration. These circumstances are made out by different intimations, and the intimations upon the subject preserve among themselves a just consistency, and a consistency certainly unmeditated. First, the apostle had already been a prisoner at Rome so long, as that the reputation of his bonds, and of his constancy under them, had contributed to advance the success of the gospel: “But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; so that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; and many of the brethren in the Lord waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.” Secondly, the account given of Epaphroditus imports, that St. Paul, when he wrote the epistle, had been in Rome a considerable time: “He longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick.” Epaphroditus was with St. Paul at Rome. He had been sick. The Philippians had heard of his sickness, and he again had received an account how much they had been affected by the intelligence. The passing and repassing of these advices must necessarily have occupied a long portion of time, and must have all taken place during St. Paul’s residence at Rome.  Thirdly, after a residence at Rome thus proved to have been of considerable duration, he now regards decision of his fate as nigh at hand. He con­templates either alternative, that of his deliverance. ch. 2:23, “Him, therefore, (Timothy,) I hope to send presently, so soon as I shall see how it will go with me; but I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly:” that of his condemna­tion, ver. 17, “Yea, and if I be offered* upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.” This consistency is material, if the consideration of it be confined to the epistle. It is further material, as it agrees, with respect to the duration of St. Paul’s first imprisonment at Rome, with the account delivered in the Acts, which, having brought the apostle to Rome, closes the history by telling us  “that he dwelt there two whole years in his own hired house.”

 

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* ἀλλὰ εἰ καὶ σπένδομαι ἐπὶ τῇ θυσίᾳ τῆς πίστεως ὑμῶν, if my blood be poured out as a  libation upon the  sacrifice of your faith.

 



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Posted 16 July 2013 - 02:06 AM

No. VI.

 

Chap. 1:23. “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better.”

 

With this compare 2 Cor. 5:8: “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”

 

The sameness of sentiment in these two quotations is obvious. I rely, however, not so much upon that, as upon the similitude in the train of thought which in each epistle leads up to this sentiment, and upon the suitableness of that train of thought to the circumstances under which the epistles purport to have been written. This, I conceive, bespeaks the production of the same mind, and of a mind operating upon real circumstances. The sentiment is in both places preceded by the contemplation of imminent personal danger. To the Philippians he writes, in the twentieth verse of this chapter, “According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.” To the Corinthians, “Troubled on every side, yet not distressed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus.” This train of reflection is continued to the place from whence the words which we compare are taken.

 

The two epistles, though written at different times, from dif­ferent places, and to different churches, were both written under circumstances which would naturally recall to the author’s mind the precarious condition of his life, and the perils which constantly awaited him. When the Epistle to the Philippians was written, the author was a prisoner at Rome, expecting his trial. When the second Epistle to the Corinthians was written, he had lately escaped a danger in which he had given himself over for lost. The epistle opens with a recollection of this subject, and the impression accom­panied the writer’s thoughts throughout.

 

I know that nothing is easier than to transplant into a forged epistle a sentiment or expression which is found in a true one; or, supposing both epistles to be forged by the same hand, to insert the same sentiment or expression in both; but the difficulty is to introduce it in just and close connexion with a train of thought going before, and with a train of thought apparently generated by the circumstances under which the epistle is written. In two epistles, purporting to be written on different occasions, and in different periods of the author’s history, this propriety would not easily be managed.



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Posted 16 July 2013 - 02:06 AM

No. VII.

 

Chap. 1:29, 30; 2:1, 2. “For unto you is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me. If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies; fulfil, ye my joy, that ye be like minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.”

 

With this compare Acts 16:22: “And the multitude (at Philippi) rose up against them (Paul and Silas); and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.”

 

The passage in the epistle is very remarkable. I know not an example in any writing of a juster pathos, or which more truly represents the workings of a warm and affectionate mind, than what is exhibited in the quotation before us*. The apostle reminds the Philippians of their being joined with himself in the endurance of persecution for the sake of Christ. He conjures them by the ties of their common profession and their common sufferings, to "fulfil his joy;” to complete, by the unity of their faith, and by their mutual love, that joy with which the instances he had received of their zeal and attachment had inspired his breast. Now if this was the real effusion of St. Paul’s mind, of which it bears the strongest internal character, then we have in the words "the same conflict which ye saw in me,” an authentic confirmation of so much of the apostle’s history in the Acts, as relates to his transactions at Philippi; and, through that, of the intelligence and general fidelity of the historian.

 

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* The original is very spirited: Εἴ τις οὖν παράκλησις ἐν Χριστῷ, εἴ τι παραμύθιον ἀγάπης, εἴ τις κοινωνία πνεύματος, εἴ τις σπλάγχνα καὶ οἰκτιρμοί, πληρώσατέ μου τὴν χαρὰν.



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Posted 16 July 2013 - 02:07 AM

CHAPTER VIII.

 

THE EPISTLE TO THE COLOSSIANS.

 

No. I.

 

There is a circumstance of conformity between St. Paul’s history and his letters, especially those which were written during his first imprisonment at Rome, and more especially the epistles to the Colossians and Ephesians, which being too close to be accounted for from accident, yet too indirect and latent to be imputed to design, cannot easily be resolved into any other original than truth: which circumstance is this, that St. Paul in these epistles attributes his imprisonment, not to his preaching of Christianity, but to his asserting the right of the Gentiles to be admitted into it without conforming themselves to the Jewish law. This was the doctrine to which he considered himself as a martyr. Thus, in the epistle before us, chap. 1:24. (I Paul) "who now rejoice in my suf­ferings for you”— “for you,” that is, for those whom he had never seen; for a few verses afterwards he adds, “I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh.” His suffering therefore for them was, in their general capacity of Gentile Christians, agreeably to what he explicitly declares in his Epistle to the Ephesians, 3:1: “For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles.” Again in the epistle now under consideration, 4:3: “Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds.” What that “mystery of Christ” was, the Epistle to the Ephesians distinctly informs us: “Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ, which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto the holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit, that the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel.” This, therefore, was the confession for which he declares himself to be in bonds. Now let us inquire how the occasion of St. Paul’s imprisonment is represented in the history. The apostle had not long returned to Jerusalem from his second visit into Greece, when an uproar was excited in that city by the clamour of certain Asiatic Jews, who, “having seen Paul in the temple, stirred up all the people, and laid hands on him.” The charge advanced against him was, that "he taught all men everywhere against the people, and the law, and this place; and, further brought Greeks also into the temple, and hath polluted this holy place.” The former part of the charge seems to point at the doctrine, which he maintained, of the admission of the Gentiles, under the new-dispensation, to an indiscriminate participation of God’s favour with the Jews. But what follows makes the matter clear. When, by the interference of the chief captain, Paul had been rescued out of the hands of the populace, and was per­mitted to address the multitude who had followed him to the stairs of the castle, he delivered a brief account of his birth, of the early course of his life, of his miraculous conversion; and is proceeding in this narrative, until he comes to describe a vision which was presented to him, as he was praying in the temple; and which bid him depart out of Jerusalem; “for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles” Acts 22:21. “They gave him audience,” says the historian, “unto this word, and then lifted up their voices, and said, Away with such a fellow from the earth!” Nothing can show more strongly than this account does, what was the offence which drew down upon St. Paul the vengeance of his countrymen. His mission to the Gentiles, and his open avowal of that mission, was the intolerable part of the apostle’s crime. But although the real motive of the prosecution appears to have been the apostle’s conduct towards the Gentiles; yet when his accusers came before a Roman magistrate, a charge was to be framed of a more legal form. The profanation of the temple was the article they chose to rely upon. This, therefore, became the immediate subject of Tertullus’s oration before Felix, and of Paul’s defence. But that he all along considered his ministry amongst the Gentiles as the actual source of the enmity that had been exercised against him, and in particular, as the cause of the insurrection in which his person had been seized, is apparent from the conclusion of his discourse before Agrippa; “I have appeared unto thee,” says he, describing what passed upon his journey to Damascus, “for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; delivering thee from the people and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision; but showed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judæa, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance. For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me.” The seizing, therefore, of St. Paul’s person, from which he was never discharged till his final liberation at Borne, and of which, therefore, his imprisonment at Borne was the continuation and effect, was not in consequence of any general persecution set on foot against Christianity; nor did it befall him simply as professing or teaching Christ’s religion, which James and the elders at Jerusalem did as well as he (and yet, for anything that appears, remained at that time unmolested); but it was distinctly and specifically brought upon him by his activity in preaching to the Gentiles, and by his placing them upon a level with the once favoured and still self-flattered posterity of Abraham. How well St. Paul’s letters, purporting to be written during this imprisonment agree with this account of its cause and origin we have already seen.



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Posted 16 July 2013 - 02:08 AM

No. II.*

 

Chap. 4:10. “Aristarchus my fellow prisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister’s son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;) and Jesus, which is called Justus, who are of the circum­cision.”

 

We find Aristarchus as a companion of our apostle in the nineteenth chapter of the Acts and the twenty-ninth verse: “And the whole city (of Ephesus) was filled with confusion: and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul’s companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre.” And we find him upon his journey with St. Paul to Rome, in the twenty-seventh chapter and the second verse: “And when it was determined that we should sail into Italy, they delivered Paul and certain other prisoners unto one named Julius, a centurion of Augustus’s band. And entering into a ship of Adramyttium, we launched, meaning to sail by the coasts of Asia; one Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, being with us.” But might not the author of the epistle have consulted the history; and, observing that the historian had brought Aristarchus along with Paul to Rome, might he not for that reason, and without any other founda­tion, have put down his name amongst the salutations of an epistle purporting to be written by the apostle from that place? I allow so much of possibility to this objection, that I should not have proposed this in the number of coincidences clearly undesigned, had Aristarchus stood alone. The observation that strikes me in reading the passage is, that together with Aristarchus, whose journey to Rome we trace in the history, are joined Marcus and Justus, of whose coming to Rome the history says nothing. Aristarchus alone appears in the history and Aristarchus alone would have appeared in the epistle, if the author had regulated himself by that conformity. Or if you take it the other way; if you suppose the history to have been made out of the epistle, why the journey of Aristarchus to Rome should be recorded, and not that of Marcus and Justus, if the groundwork of the narrative was the appearance of Aristarchus’s name in the epistle, seems to be unaccountable.

 

“Marcus, sister’s son to Barnabas.” Does not this hint account for Barnabas’s adherence to Mark in the contest that arose with our apostle concerning him?   “And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do. And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark and sailed unto Cyprus.” The history, which records the dispute, has not preserved the circumstance of Mark’s relationship to Barnabas. It is nowhere noticed but in the text before us. As far, therefore, as it applies, the application is certainly undesigned.

 

Sister’s son to Barnabas.” This woman, the mother of Mark, and the sister of Barnabas, was, as might be expected, a person of some eminence amongst the Christians of Jeru­salem. It so happens that we hear of her in the history. When Peter was delivered from prison, “he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying,” Acts 12:12. There is somewhat of coincidence in this—somewhat bespeak­ing real transactions amongst real persons.(x)

 

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(x) In Horæ Apostolicæ: cap. VI. No. III. and Book ii. No. ii. are some further remarks on this passage, which illustrate the general argument.—Ed.

 



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Posted 16 July 2013 - 02:10 AM

No. III.

 

The following coincidence, though it bear the appearance of great nicety and refinement, ought not, perhaps, to be deemed imaginary. In the salutations with which this, like most of St. Paul’s epistles, concludes, we have “Aristarchus and Marcus, and Jesus, which is called Justus, who are of the cir­cumcision,” 4:10, 11. Then follow also, “Epaphras, Luke the beloved physician, and Demas.” Now, as this descrip­tion, “who are of the circumcision,” is added after the first three names, it is inferred, not without great appearance of probability, that the rest, amongst whom is Luke, were not of the circumcision. Now can we discover any expression in the Acts of the Apostles which ascertains whether the author of the book was a Jew or not? If we can discover that he was not a Jew, we fix a circumstance in his character which coincides with what is here, indirectly indeed, but not very uncertainly, intimated concerning Luke: and we so far confirm both the testimony of the primitive church, that the Acts of the Apostles was written by St. Luke, and the general reality of the persons and circumstances brought together in this epistle. The text in the Acts, which has been construed to show that the writer was not a Jew, is the nineteenth verse of the first chapter, where, in describing the field which had been purchased with the reward of Judas’s iniquity, it is said, “that it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood.” These words are by most commentators taken to be the words and observa­tion of the historian, and not a part of St. Peter’s speech, in the midst of which they are found. If this be admitted, then it is argued that the expression, “in their proper tongue,” would not have been used by a Jew, but is suitable to the pen of a Gentile writing concerning Jews.* The reader will judge of the probability of this conclusion, and we urge the coincidence no further than the probability extends. The coin­cidence, if it be one, is so remote from all possibility of design, that nothing need be added to satisfy the reader upon that part of the argument.(y)

 

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* Vide Benson’s Dissertation, vol. i. p. 318 of his Works, ed. 1756.

 

(y) That St. Luke was a Gentile proselyte, and not a Jew, may be fairly inferred from the passage at the head of this article. But the other premise is more ques­tionable, how far the words in Acts 1:19 can prove that the writer was not a Jew by birth. What it really proves is that either St. Peter himself, or the historian, had a dialect not the same with the Jews of Jerusalem. But this was true, in the strict sense, even of the Galilean Jews (Mat. 26:73), of whom Peter was one, and stall more clearly of the Jews of the dispersion, of whom so many dialects are enume­rated in the very next chapter. Perhaps a clearer proof that the writer was a Greek or Gentile may be drawn from the use of the word, Barbarian, in the last chapter; but the evidence of the fact in the narrative is hardly enough to constitute a real coincidence.—Ed.

 



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Posted 16 July 2013 - 02:10 AM

No. IV.

 

Chap. 4:9. “With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you”

 

Observe how it may be made out that Onesimus was a Colossian. Turn to the Epistle to Philemon, and you will find that Onesimus was the servant or slave of Philemon. The question, therefore, will be, to what city Philemon belonged? In the epistle addressed to him this is not declared. It appears only that he was of the same place, whatever that place was, with an eminent Christian named Archippus. “Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellow-labourer; and to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to the church in thy house.” Now turn back to the Epistle to the Colossians, and you will find Archippus saluted by name amongst the Christians of that church. “Say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it” (4:17.) The necessary result is, that Onesimus also was of the same city, agreeably to what is said of him, “he is one of you.” And this result is either the effect of truth, which produces consistency without the writer’s thought or care, or of a contexture of forgeries confirming and falling in with one another by a species of fortuity of which I know no example. The supposition of design, I think, is excluded, not only because the purpose to which the design must have been directed, namely, the verification of the passage in our epistle, in which it is said concerning Onesimus, “he is one of you,” is a purpose, which would be lost upon ninety-nine readers out of a hundred; but because the means made use of are too cir­cuitous to have been the subject of affectation and contrivance. Would a forger, who had this purpose in view, have left his readers to hunt it out, by going forward and backward from one epistle to another, in order to connect Onesimus with Philemon, Philemon with Archippus, and Archippus with Colosse? all which he must do before he arrives at his discovery, that it was truly said of Onesimus, “he is one of you.”



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Posted 16 July 2013 - 02:11 AM

CHAPTER IX.

 

THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE THESSALONIANS.

 

No. I.

 

It is known to every reader of Scripture that the first Epistle to the Thessalonians speaks of the coming of Christ in terms which indicate an expectation of his speedy appearance: “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds—But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief,” ch. 4:15, 16, 17; 5:4.

 

Whatever other construction these texts may bear, the idea they leave upon the mind of an ordinary reader, is that of the author of the epistle looking for the day of judgment to take place in his own time, or near to it. Now the use which I make of this circumstance is, to deduce from it a proof that the epistle itself was not the production of a subsequent age. Would an impostor have given this expectation to St. Paul, after experience had proved it to be erroneous? or would he have put into the apostle’s mouth, or, which is the same thing, into writings purporting to come from his hand, expres­sions, if not necessarily conveying, at least easily interpreted to convey, an opinion which was then known to be founded in mistake? I state this as an argument to show that the epistle was contemporary with St. Paul, which is little less than to show that it actually proceeded from his pen. For I question whether any ancient forgeries were executed in the lifetime of the person whose name they bear; nor was the primitive situation of the church likely to give birth to such an attempt.



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Posted 16 July 2013 - 02:11 AM

Νο. II.

 

Our epistle concludes with a direction that it should be publicly read in the church to which it was addressed: “I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren.” The existence of this clause in the body of the epistle is an evidence of its authenticity; because to pro­duce a letter purporting to have been publicly read in the church of Thessalonica, when no such letter in truth had been read or heard of in that church, would be to produce an im­posture destructive of itself. At least, it seems unlikely that the author of an imposture would voluntarily and even offi­ciously, afford a handle to so plain an objection. Either the epistle was publicly read in the church of Thessalonica during St. Paul’s life-time, or it was not. If it was, no publication could be more authentic, no species of notoriety more un­questionable, no method of preserving the integrity of the copy more secure. If it was not, the clause we produce would remain a standing condemnation of the forgery, and one would suppose, an invincible impediment to its success.

 

If we connect this article with the preceding, we shall perceive that they combine into one strong proof of the genuineness of the epistle. The preceding article carries up the date of the epistle to the time of St. Paul; the present article fixes the publication of it to the church of Thessalo­nica. Either therefore the church of Thessalonica was imposed upon by a false epistle, which in St. Paul’s life-time they received and read publicly as his, carrying on a commu­nication with him all the while, and the epistle referring to the continuance of that communication; or other Christian churches, in the same life-time of the apostle, received an epistle purporting to have been publicly read in the church of Thessalonica, which nevertheless had not been heard of in that church; or lastly, the conclusion remains, that the epistle now in our hands is genuine.



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Posted 16 July 2013 - 02:12 AM

No. III.

 

Between our epistle and the history the accordancy in many points is circumstantial and complete. The history relates that, after Paul and Silas had been beaten with many stripes at Philippi, shut up in the inner prison, and their feet made fast in the stocks, as soon as they were discharged from their confinement they departed from thence, and, when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, came to Thes­salonica, where Paul opened and alleged that Jesus was the Christ; Acts 16; 17. The epistle written in the name of Paul and Silvanus (Silas), and of Timotheus, who also appears to have been along with them at Philippi, (vide Phil. No. IV.) speaks to the church of Thessalonica thus: “Even after that we had suffered before, and were shame­fully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much con­tention,” ch. 2:2.

 

The history relates, that after they had been some time at Thessalonica, “the Jews which believed not.....set all the city in an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason where Paul and Silas were, and sought to bring them out to the people,” Acts 17:5. The epistle declares, “when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know” ch. 3:4.

 

The history brings Paul and Silas and Timothy together at Corinth, soon after the preaching of the gospel at Thessalonica:— "And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, (to Corinth,) Paul was pressed in spirit,” Acts 18:5. The epistle is written in the name of these three per­sons, who consequently must have been together at the time, and speaks throughout of their ministry at Thessalonica as a recent transaction: “We, brethren, being taken from you for a short time; in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire,” ch. 2:17.

 

The harmony is indubitable; but the points of history in which it consists are so expressly set forth in the narrative, and so directly referred to in the epistle, that it becomes necessary for us to show that the facts in one writing were not copied from the other. Now amidst some minuter dis­crepancies, which will be noticed below, there is one circumstance which mixes itself with all the allusions in the epistle, but does not appear in the history anywhere; and that is of a visit which St. Paul had intended to pay to the Thessa­lonians during the time of his residing at Corinth: “Where­fore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us,” ch. 2:18. “Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith. Now God him­self and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you,” ch. 3:10, 11. Concerning a design which was not executed, although the person himself, who was conscious of his own purpose, should make mention in his letters, nothing is more probable than that his historian should be silent, if not ignorant. The author of the epistle could not, however, have learned this circumstance from the history, for it is not there to be met with; nor, if the historian had drawn his materials from the epistle, is it likely that he would have passed over a circumstance which is amongst the most obvious and prominent of the facts to be collected from that source of information.



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Posted 16 July 2013 - 02:12 AM

No. IV.

 

Chap. 3:1, 6, 7. “Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone; and sent Timotheus, our bother, and minister of God, and our fellow-labourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith. But now when Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, .... we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith.”

 

The history relates, that when Paul came out of Mace­donia to Athens, Silas and Timothy stayed behind at Berea. “The brethren sent away Paul to go as it were to the sea; but Silas and Timotheus abode there still. And they that conducted Paul brought him unto Athens,” Acts 17:14, 15. The history further relates, that after Paul had tarried some time at Athens, and had proceeded from thence to Corinth, whilst he was exercising his ministry in that city, Silas and Timothy came to him from Macedonia, Acts 18:5. But to reconcile the history with the clause in the epistle, which makes St. Paul say, “I thought it good to be left at Athens alone, and to send Timothy unto you,” it is necessary to suppose that Timothy had come up with St. Paul at Athens—a circumstance which the history does not mention. I remark therefore, that, although the history does not expressly notice this arrival, yet it contains intimations which render it extremely probable that the fact took place. First, as soon as Paul had reached Athens, he sent a message back to Silas and Timothy, “for to come to him with all speed,” 17:15. Secondly, his stay at Athens was on purpose that they might join him there. “Now whilst Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him,” Acts 17:16. Thirdly, his departure from Athens does not appear to have been in any sort hastened or abrupt. It is said, “after these things,”—namely, his disputation with the Jews, his conferences with the philosophers, his dis­course at Areopagus, and the gaining of some converts— “he departed from Athens, and came to Corinth.” It is not hinted that he quitted Athens before the time that he had intended to leave it; it is not suggested that he was driven from thence, as he was from many cities, by tumults or per­secutions, or because his life was no longer safe. Observe then the particulars which the history does notice—that Paul had ordered Timothy to follow him without delay, that he waited at Athens on purpose that Timothy might come up with him, that he stayed there as long as his own choice led him to continue. Laying these circumstances which the his­tory does disclose together, it is highly probable that Timothy came to the apostle at Athens: a fact which the epistle, we have seen, virtually asserts, when it makes Paul send Timothy back from Athens to Thessalonica. The sending back of Timothy into Macedonia accounts also for his not coming to Corinth till after Paul had been fixed in that city for some considerable time. Paul had found out Aquila and Priscilla, abode with them and wrought, being of the same craft; and reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath day, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks, Acts 18:1-5. All this passed at Corinth before Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Acts 18:5. If this was the first time of their coming up with him after their separation at Berea, there is nothing to account for a delay so contrary to what appears from the history itself to have been St. Paul’s plan and expectation. This is a conformity of a peculiar species. The epistle discloses a fact which is not preserved in the history; but which makes what is said in the history more significant, probable, and consistent. The history bears marks of an omission; the epistle by reference furnishes a circumstance which supplies that omission.



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Posted 16 July 2013 - 02:13 AM

No. V.

 

Chap. 2:14. “For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judæa are in Christ Jesus; for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews.”

 

To a reader of the Acts of the Apostles, it might seem at first sight, that the persecutions which the preachers and con­verts of Christianity underwent, were suffered at the hands of their old adversaries the Jews. But if we attend carefully to the accounts there delivered, we shall observe that, though the opposition made to the gospel usually originated from the enmity of the Jews, yet, in almost all places, the Jews went about to accomplish their purpose, by stirring up the Gentile inhabitants against their converted countrymen. Out of Judæa they had not power to do much mischief in any other way. This was the case at Thessalonica in particular: “The Jews which believed not, moved with envy, set all the city in an uproar,” Acts 17:5. It was the same a short time afterwards at Berea; “When the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people,” Acts 17:13. And before this, our apostle had met with a like species of persecution, in his progress through the Lesser Asia: in every city “the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds evil-affected against the brethren,” Acts 14:2. The epistle therefore represents the case accurately as the history states it. It was the Jews always who set on foot the persecutions against the apostles and their followers. He speaks truly therefore of them, when he says in the epistle, they “both failed the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us;—forbidding us to speak unto the Gentiles,” ch. 2:15,16. But out of Judæa it was at the hands of the Gentiles, it was “of their own countrymen,” that the injuries they underwent were imme­diately sustained: “Ye have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews.”



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Posted 16 July 2013 - 02:13 AM

No. VI.

 

The apparent discrepancies between our epistle and the history, though of magnitude sufficient to repel the imputa­tion of confederacy or transcription, (in which view they form a part of our argument,) are neither numerous nor very difficult to reconcile.

 

One of these may be observed in the ninth and tenth verses of the second chapter: “For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travel: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God. Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and umblamably we behaved ourselves among you that believe.” A person who reads this passage is naturally led by it to suppose that the writer had dwelt at Thessalonica for some considerable time; yet of St. Paul’s ministry in that city the history gives no other account than the following: that “he came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews:” that, “as his manner was,” he “went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the Scriptures:” that “some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas.” The history then proceeds to tell us that the Jews which believed not set the city in an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, where Paul and his com­panions lodged; that the consequence of this outrage was, that “the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea,” Acts 17:1-10. From the mention of his preaching three sabbath days in the Jewish synagogue, and from the want of any further specification of his ministry, it has usually been taken for granted that Paul did not con­tinue at Thessalonica more than three weeks. This, however, is inferred without necessity. It appears to have been St. Paul’s practice, in almost every place that he came to, upon his first arrival, to repair to the synagogue. He thought himself bound to propose the gospel to the Jews first, agree­ably to what he declared at Antioch in Pisidia; “it was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you,” Acts 13:46. If the Jews rejected his ministry, he quitted the synagogue, and betook himself to a Gentile audience. At Corinth, upon his first coming there, he rea­soned in the synagogue every sabbath; “but when the Jews opposed themselves, and blasphemed,” he departed thence, expressly telling them, “From henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles;” and he remained in that city “a year and six months,” Acts 18:6-11. At Ephesus, in like manner, for the space of three months he went into the synagogue; but “when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way, he departed from them and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus. And this continued by the space of two years,” Acts 19:9, 10. Upon inspecting the history, I see nothing in it which negatives the supposition that St. Paul pursued the same plan at Thessalonica which he adopted in other places; and that, though he resorted to the synagogue only three sabbath days, yet he remained in the city, and in the exercise of his ministry among the Gentile citizens, much longer; and until the success of his preaching had provoked the Jews to excite the tumult and insurrection by which he was driven away.

 

Another seeming discrepancy is found in the ninth verse of the first chapter of the epistle: “For they themselves show of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.” This text contains an assertion that, by means of St. Paul’s ministry at Thessalonica, many idolatrous Gentiles had been brought over to Christianity. Yet the history, in describing the effects of that ministry, only says, that, “some of them (the Jews) believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few,” ch. 17:4. The devout Greeks were those who already worshipped the one true God; and therefore could not be said, by embracing Christianity, “to be turned to God from idols.”

 

This is the difficulty. The answer may be assisted by the following observations: The Alexandrine and Cambridge manuscripts read (for τῶν σεβομένων Ἑλλήνων πολύ πλῆθος) τῶν σεβομένων κι Ἑλλήνων πολύ πλῆθος in which reading they are also confirmed by the Vulgate Latin. And this reading is, in my opinion, strongly supported by the considera­tions, first, that όi σεβoμένοι alone, that is, without λλνες, is used in this sense in the same chapter—Paul being come to Athens, διελέγετο ἐν τῇ συναγωγῇ τοῖς Ἰουδαίοις κι τοῖς σεβομένοις: secondly, that σεβόμενοι and λλνες no­where come together. The expression is redundant. The όi σεβoμένοι must be λλνες. Thirdly, that the καὶ is much more likely to have been left out, incuriâ manûs, than to have been put in. Or, after all, if we be not allowed to change the present reading, which is undoubtedly retained by a great plurality of copies, may not the passage in the history be considered as describing only the effects of St. Paul’s dis­courses during the three sabbath days in which he preached in the synagogue? and may it not be true, as we have remarked above, that his application to the Gentiles at large, and his success amongst them, was posterior to this?



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Posted 16 July 2013 - 02:14 AM

CHAPTER X.

 

THE SECOND EPISTLE TO THE THESSALONIANS.

 

No. I.*

 

It may seem odd to allege obscurity itself as an argument, or to draw a proof in favour of a writing from that which is naturally considered as the principal defect in its composition. The present epistle, however, furnishes a passage, hitherto unexplained, and probably inexplicable by us, the existence of which, under the darkness and difficulties that attend it, can be accounted for only by the supposition of the epistle being genuine; and upon that supposition is accounted for with great ease. The passage which I allude to is found in the second chapter; “That day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when ι was yet with you, ι told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way; and then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.” It were superfluous to prove, because it is in vain to deny, that this passage is involved in great obscurity, more especially the clauses distinguished by italics. Now the observation I have to offer is founded upon this, that the passage expressly refers to a conversation which the author had previously holden with the Thessalonians upon the same subject: “Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth.” If such conversation actually passed, if, whilst "he was yet with them, he told them those things,” then it follows that the epistle is au­thentic. And of the reality of this conversation it appears to be a proof, that what is said in the epistle might be under­stood by those who had been present at such conversation, and yet be incapable of being explained by any other. No man writes unintelligibly on purpose. But it may easily happen, that a part of a letter which relates to a subject, upon which the parties had conversed together before, which refers to what had been before said, which is in truth a portion or continuation of a former discourse, may be utterly without meaning to a stranger who should pick up the letter upon the road, and yet be perfectly clear to the person to whom it is directed, and with whom the previous communication had passed. And if, in a letter which thus accidentally fell into my hands, I found a passage expressly referring to a former conversation, and difficult to be explained without knowing that conversation, I should consider this very difficulty as a proof that the conversation had actually passed, and conse­quently that the letter contained the real correspondence of real persons.(z)

 

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(z) The obscurity on which Paley here insists is certainly so far real as to justify his reasoning; but when he calls it “a passage hitherto unexplained, and probably inexplicable by us,” he goes far beyond the limit of truth. Mr. Biley, in his Sup­plement, has adduced copious evidence of an almost universal concurrence in the explication of the letting power among the early writers of the church. If we compare other prophecies, we are equally led to the same conclusion, that the letting power was the imperial dominion of pagan Rome. A minute reference to the history confirms this view. The letter was written from Corinth, not long after Aquila and Priscilla had arrived from Rome, in consequence of the decree of Claudius against the Jews. It was the Jews who, under the show of religion, were the main persecutors of the faith: and they themselves were now, in some sort, under the ban of the empire. The inspired apostle saw, doubtless, in this event, a key to the future course of Providence in the church of God; and that false religion and self-righteous delusions within the church, when once the ex­ternal pressure of the imperial power was removed, would shoot up into portentous vigour, and issue in the predicted apostasy of the latter days.—ED.

 

 



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Posted 16 July 2013 - 02:15 AM

No. II.

 

Chap. 3:8. “Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.”

 

In a letter, purporting to have been written to another of the Macedonian churches, we find the following declaration:

 

“Now, ye Philippians, know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church com­municated with me, as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only?

 

The conformity between these two passages is strong and plain. They confine the transaction to the same period. The Epistle to the Philippians refers to what passed "in the be-ginning of the gospel,” that is to say, during the first preaching of the gospel on that side of the Ægean sea. The Epistle to the Thessalonians speaks of the apostle’s conduct in that city upon "his first entrance in unto them,” which the history informs us was in the course of his first visit to the peninsula of Greece.

 

As St. Paul tells the Philippians, “that no church com­municated with him, as concerning giving and receiving, but they only,” he could not, consistently with the truth of this declaration, have received anything from the neighbouring church of Thessalonica. What thus appeal’s by general im­plication in an epistle to another church, when he writes to the Thessalonians themselves, is noticed expressly and particularly; “neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you.”

 

The texts here cited further also exhibit a mark of con­formity with what St. Paul is made to say of himself in the Acts of the Apostles. The apostle not only reminds the Thessalonians that he had not been chargeable to any of them, but he states likewise the motive which dictated this reserve: “not because we have not power, but to make our­selves an ensample unto you to follow us,” ch. 3:9. This conduct, and what is much more precise, the end which he had in view by it, was the very same as that which the history attributes to St. Paul in a discourse which it represents him to have addressed to the elders of the church of Ephesus: “Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have showed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak” Acts 20:34. The sentiment in the epistle and in the speech is in both parts of it so much alike, and yet the words which convey it show so little of imitation or even of resemblance, that the agreement cannot well be explained, without supposing the speech and the letter to have really proceeded from the same person.



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Posted 16 July 2013 - 02:16 AM

No. III.

 

Our reader remembers the passage in the first Epistle to the Thessalonians, in which St. Paul spoke of the coming of Christ: “This we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven, .... and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord.—But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief,” 1 Thess. 4:15-17; 5:4. It should seem that the Thessalonians, or some however amongst them, had from this passage conceived an opinion (and that not very unna­turally) that the coming of Christ was to take place instantly, τι ενέστηκεν;* and that this persuasion had produced, as it well might, much agitation in the church. The apostle there­fore now writes, amongst other purposes, to quiet this alarm, and to rectify the misconstruction that had been put upon his words:— “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.” If the allusion which we contend for be admitted, namely, if it be admitted that the passage in the second epistle relates to the passage in the first, it amounts to a considerable proof of the genuineness of both epistles. I have no conception, because I know no example, of such a device in a forgery, as first to frame an ambiguous passage in a letter, then to represent the persons to whom the letter is addressed as mistaking the meaning of the passage, and lastly, to write a second letter in order to correct this mistake.

 

I have said that this argument arises out of the text, if the allusion be admitted; for I am not ignorant that many exposi­tors understand the passage in the second epistle as referring to some forged letters, which had been produced in St. Paul’s name, and in which the apostle had been made to say that the coming of Christ was then at hand. In defence, how­ever, of the explanation which we propose, the reader is desired to observe,

 

1. The strong fact, that there exists a passage in the first epistle, to which that in the second is capable of being re­ferred, that is, which accounts for the error the writer is solici­tous to remove. Had no other epistle than the second been extant, and had it under these circumstances come to be con­sidered, whether the text before us related to a forged epistle or to some misconstruction of a true one, many conjectures and many probabilities might have been admitted in the inquiry, which can have little weight when an epistle is pro­duced, containing the very sort of passage we were seeking, that is, a passage liable to the misinterpretation which the apostle protests against.

 

2. That the clause which introduces the passages in the second epistle bears a particular affinity to what is found in the passage cited from the first epistle. The clause is this: “We beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him.” Now in the first epistle the description of the coming of Christ is accom­panied with the mention of this very circumstance of his saints being collected round him; “The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air,” 1 Thess. 4:16,17. This I suppose to be the “gathering together unto him,” intended in the second epistle; and that the author, when he used these words, retained in his thoughts what he had written on the subject before.

 

3. The second epistle is written in the joint name of Paul, Silvanus, and Timotheus, and it cautions the Thessalonians against being misled "by letter as from us” (ὡς διʼ ἡμῶν). Do not these words, διʼ ἡμῶν, appropriate the reference to some writing which bore the name of these three teachers? Now this circumstance, which is a very close one, belongs to the epistle at present in our hands; for the epistle which we call the first Epistle to the Thessalonians contains these names in its superscription.

 

4.  The words in the original, as far as they are material to be stated, are these: εἰς τὸ μὴ ταχέως σαλευθῆναι ὑμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ νοὸς, μήτε θροεῖσθαι, μήτε διὰ πνεύματος, μήτε διὰ λόγου. μήτε διʼ ἐπιστολῆς, ὡς διʼ ἡμῶν, ὡς ὅτι ἐνέστηκεν ἡ ἡμέρα τοῦ Xριστοῦ. Under the weight of the preceding observations, may not the words μήτε διὰ λόγου, μήτε διʼ ἐπιστολῆς, ὡς διʼ ἡμῶν, be construed to signify quasi nos quid tah aut dixerimus out scripserimus,** intimating that their words had been mis­taken, and that they had in truth said or written no such thing?

 

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τι νέστηκεν, nempe hoc anno, (namely, in this year,) says Grotius; νέστηκεν hic dicitur de re præsenti, ut Rom. 8:38. 1 Cor. 3:22; Gal. 1:4; Heb. 9:9; (it is here used in reference to something present, as).

 

** Should a contrary interpretation be preferred, I do not think that it implies the conclusion that a false epistle had then been published in the apostle’s name. It will completely satisfy the allusion in the text to allow, that some one or other at Thessalonica had pretended to have been told by St. Paul and his companions, or to have seen a letter from them, in which they had said, that the day of Christ was at hand. In like manner as, Acts 15:1, 24, it is recorded, that some had pre­tended to have received instructions from the church of Jerusalem, which had been received, “to whom they gave no such commandment.” And thus Dr. Benson interpreted the passage μήτε θροεῖσθαι, μήτε διὰ πνεύματος, μήτε διὰ λόγου, μήτε διʼ ἐπιστολῆς, ὡς διʼ ἡμῶν, “nor be dismayed by any revelation, or discourse, or epistle, which any one shall pretend to have heard or received from us.”

 



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Posted 16 July 2013 - 02:18 AM

CHAPTER XI.*

 

THE FIRST EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY.

 

From the third verse of the first chapter, “As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus when I went into Macedonia,” it is evident that this epistle was written soon after St. Paul had gone to Macedonia from Ephesus. Dr. Benson fixes its date to the time of St. Paul’s journey recorded in the beginning of the twentieth chapter of the Acts: “And after the uproar (excited by Demetrius at Ephesus) was ceased, Paul called unto him the disciples, and embraced them, and departed for to go into Macedonia.” And in this opinion Dr. Benson is followed by Michaelis, as he was preceded by the greater part of the commentators who have considered the question. There is however one objection to the hypothesis, which these learned men appear to me to have overlooked; and it is no other than this, that the superscription of the second Epistle to the Corinthians seems to prove, that at the time St. Paul is sup­posed by them to have written this Epistle to Timothy, Timothy in truth was with St. Paul in Macedonia. Paul, as it is related in the Acts, left Ephesus “for to go into Mace­donia.” When he had got into Macedonia he wrote his second Epistle to the Corinthians. Concerning this point there exists little variety of opinion. It is plainly indicated by the contents of the epistle. It is also strongly implied that the epistle was written soon after the apostle’s arrival in Ma­cedonia; for he begins his letter by a train of reflection, referring to his persecutions in Asia as to recent transactions, as to dangers from which he had lately been delivered. But in the salutation with which the epistle opens, Timothy was joined with St. Paul, and consequently could not at that time be "left behind at Ephesus.” And as to the only solution of the difficulty which can be thought of, namely, that Timothy, though he was left behind at Ephesus upon St. Paul’s depar­ture from Asia, yet might follow him so soon after as to come up with the apostle in Macedonia, before he wrote his epistle to the Corinthians; that supposition is inconsistent with the terms and tenor of the epistle throughout: for the writer speaks uniformly of his intention to return to Timothy at Ephesus, and not of his expecting Timothy to come to him in Macedonia: “These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: but if I tarry long that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God,” ch. 3:14, 15. “Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine,” ch. 4:13.

 

Since, therefore, the leaving of Timothy behind at Ephesus, when Paul went into Macedonia, suits not with any journey into Macedonia recorded in the Acts, I concur with bishop Pearson in placing the date of this epistle, and the journey referred to in it, at a period subsequent to St, Paul’s first imprisonment at Horne, and consequently subsequent to the era up to which the Acts of the Apostles brings his history The only difficulty which attends our opinion is, that St. Paul must, according to us, have come to Ephesus after his libera tion at Rome, contrary, as it should seem, to what he foretold to the Ephesian elders, “that they should see his face no more.” And it is to save the infallibility of this prediction, and for no other reason of weight, that an earlier date is assigned to this epistle. The prediction itself, however, when considered in connexion with the circumstances under which it was delivered, does not seem to demand so much anxiety. The words in question are found in the twenty-fifth verse of the twentieth chapter of the Acts: “And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more.” In the twenty-second and twenty-third verses of the same chapter, that is, two verses before, the apostle makes this declaration: “And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befell me there: save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying, that bonds and afflic­tions abide me.” This “witnessing of the Holy Ghost” was undoubtedly prophetic and supernatural. But it went no further than to foretell that bonds and afflictions awaited him. And I can very well conceive, that this might be all which was communicated to the apostle by extraordinary revelation, and that the rest was the conclusion of his own mind, the desponding inference which he drew from strong and repeated intimations of approaching danger. And the expression “I know,” which St. Paul here uses, does not perhaps, when applied to future events affecting himself, convey an assertion so positive and absolute as we may at first sight apprehend. In the first chapter of the Epistle to the Philippians and the twenty-fifth verse, “I know,” says he, “that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith.” Notwithstanding this strong declaration, in the second chapter and twenty-third and twenty-fourth verses of this same epistle. and speaking also of the very same event, he is content to use a language of some doubt and uncertainty: “Him therefore I hope to send presently, so soon as I shall see how it will go with me. But I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly.” And a few verses preceding these, he not only seems to doubt of his safety, but almost to despair; to contemplate the possibility at least of his condemnation and martyrdom: “Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.”(aa)

 

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(aa) Mr. Greswell, Mr. Biley, and Canon Tate agree with Paley in the date of this epistle. On the other hand, Dr. Burton and the author of the Literary History maintain the opinion of Benson, Hug, and Michaelis, who place it between the two epistles to Corinth. This hypothesis admits cf several minor varieties, but will be found, however modified, to be clogged with insuperable and decisive ob­jections. As generally held, it supposes that Timothy reached Corinth, and returned to Ephesus, before Paul’s departure. Hug further supposes that Timothy was the bearer of the first epistle; which is an evident mistake. Mr. Tate has urged a decisive objection against every form of it, in which Timothy is supposed to have reached Ephesus by way of Corinth, before Paul set out for Macedonia. The writer of the Literary History removes this objection by a second hypothesis, that Timothy returned from Macedonia. But this only creates fresh difficulties; for, on this view, Timothy is twice sent with a specific instruction, and twice in succession reverses and disobeys it. He is sent into Macedonia, that he may also visit Corinth, and returns direct to Ephesus, without executing his charge. He is left at Ephesus, that he may tarry till the apostle returns, and in a few weeks he deserts his post, and rejoins the apostle in Macedonia. Other reasons against this form of the hypothesis, still more decisive, will be found in the second part of this volume, under the second Epistle to the Corinthians and the first Epistle to Timothy. Some modifications of Paley’s view will there be proposed, with the reasons on which they rest.—ED.

 



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Posted 16 July 2013 - 02:20 AM

No. I*

 

But can we show that St. Paul visited Ephesus after his liberation at Rome? or rather, can we collect any hints from his other letters which make it probable that he did? If we can, then we have a coincidence; if we cannot, we have only an unauthorized supposition, to which the exigency of the case compels us to resort. Now, for this purpose, let us examine the Epistle to the Philippians and the Epistle to Philemon. These two epistles purport to be written whilst St. Paul was yet a prisoner at Rome. To the Philippians he writes as follows: “I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly.” To Philemon, who was a Colossian, he gives this direction: “But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you.” An inspection of the map will show us that Colosse was a city of the Lesser Asia, lying eastward, and at no great distance from Ephesus. Philippi was on the other, that is, the western side of the Ægean sea. If the apostle executed his purpose; if, in pursuance of the intention expressed in his letter to Philemon, he came to Colosse soon after he was set at liberty at Rome, it is very improbable that he would omit to visit Ephesus, which lay so near to it, and where he had spent three years of his ministry. As he was also under a promise to the church of Philippi to see them “shortly;” if he passed from Colosse to Philippi, or from Philippi to Colosse, he could hardly avoid taking Ephesus in his way.(bb)

 

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(bb) See Horæ Apostolicæ: cap. ix. No. II., where reasons are given for an important modification of this hypothesis, respecting a later visit to Ephesus. See also Biley’s Suppl. p. 120.—Ed.

 



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Posted 16 July 2013 - 02:21 AM

No. II.

 

Chap. 5:9. “Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old.”

 

This accords with the account delivered in the sixth chapter of the Acts: “And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily administration” It appears that, from the first formation of the Christian church, provision was made out of the public funds of the society for the indigent widows who belonged to it. The history, we have seen, distinctly records the existence of such an institution at Jerusalem, a few years after our Lord’s ascension; and is led to the mention of it very incidentally, namely, by a dispute of which it was the occasion, and which produced important consequences to the Christian community. The epistle, without being suspected of borrowing from the history, refers, briefly indeed, but decisively to a similar establishment, subsisting some years afterwards at Ephesus. This agreement indicates that both writings were founded upon real circumstances.

 

But, in this article, the material thing to be noticed is the mode of expression: “Let not a widow be taken into the number.”—No previous account or explanation is given, to which these words, “into the number,” can refer; but the direction comes concisely and unpreparedly: “Let not a widow be taken into the number.” Now this is the way in which a man writes who is conscious that he is writing to persons already acquainted with the subject of his letter; and who, he knows, will readily apprehend and apply what he says by virtue of their being so acquainted: but it is not the way in which a man writes upon any other occasion; and least of all, in which a man would draw up a feigned letter, or intro­duce a supposititious fact.”*

 

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* It is not altogether unconnected with our general purpose to remark, in the passage before us, the selection and reserve which St. Paul recommends to the governors of the church of Ephesus in the bestowing relief upon the poor, because it refutes a calumny which has been insinuated, that the liberality of the first Christians was an artifice to catch converts; or one of the temptations, however, by which the idle and mendicant were drawn into this society: “Let not widow be taken into the number under three score years old, having been the wife of one man, well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints’ feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work. But the younger widows refuse.” (5:9, 10, 11.) And, in another place, “If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the church be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed.” And to the same effect, or rather more to our present purpose, the apostle writes in the second Epistle to the Thessalonians: “Even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat,” that is, at the public expense. “For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.” Could a designing or dissolute poor take advantage of bounty regulated with so much caution; or could the mind which dictated those sober and prudent direc­tions be influenced in his recommendations of public charity by any other than properest motives of beneficence?

 



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Posted 16 July 2013 - 02:21 AM

No. III.

 

Chap. 3:2, 3. “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; one that ruleth well his own house.”

 

“No striker:” That is the article which I single out from the collection as evincing the antiquity at least, if not the genuineness, of the epistle; because it is an article which no man would have made the subject of caution who lived in an advanced era of the church. It agreed with the infancy of the society, and with no other state of it. After the government of the church had acquired the dignified form which it soon and naturally assumed, this injunction could have no place. Would a person who lived under a hierarchy, such as the Christian hierarchy became when it had settled into a regular establishment, have thought it necessary to prescribe concern­ing the qualification of a bishop, “that he should be no striker?” And this injunction would be equally alien from the imagina­tion of the writer, whether he wrote in his own character, or personated that of an apostle.






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