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Horæ Apostolicæ


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Posted 26 January 2013 - 02:05 AM

PaleyBirks.jpg

 

HORÆ APOSTOLICÆ,

BY THE

REV. T. R. BIRKS, A.M.,
LATE FELLOW OF TRINITY COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE

LONDON:
THE RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY
_______

MD CCC L.

_______


From a Single Volume Containing:

 

HORÆ PAULINÆ by WILLIAM PALEY, D.D.

Page Numbers: i to viii and 1 to 186

 

and

 

HORÆ APOSTOLICÆ by REV. T. R. BIRKS, A.M.

Page Numbers: 187 to 412

____


File Download Link
 

Horae Apostolicae


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Posted 26 January 2013 - 01:15 PM

HORÆ APOSTOLICÆ

INTRODUCTION

BOOK I.

THE INTERNAL EVIDENCE OF ST. PAUL'S EPISTLES.

 

I.      THE TWO EPISTLES TO THE THESSALONIANS

II.     THE EPISTLE TO THE GALATIANS

III.    THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS

IV.   THE SECOND EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS

V.    THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS

VI.   THE EPISTLES TO ASIA FROM ROME

VII.  THE EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPPIANS

VIII. THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS

IX.   THE FIRST EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY

X.    THE EPISTLE TO TITUS

XI.   THE SECOND EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY



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Posted 26 January 2013 - 01:18 PM

BOOK II.

THE INTERNAL EVIDENCE OF THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES.

Introduction, etc

BOOK III.

THE APPLICATION TO THE GOSPEL HISTORY.

Introduction

 

I.     The Testimony of St. Paul's Epistles

II.    The Testimony of the Book of Acts

III.   The Internal Coincidences of the Four Gospels

 

Conclusion

Chronology of the Book of Acts and of St. Paul's Epistles



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Posted 18 July 2013 - 04:55 AM

HORÆ APOSTOLICÆ

 

OR,

 

THE INTERNAL EVIDENCE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT.

____________

 

INTRODUCTION.

 

The external evidence, which proves the genuineness of nearly all the books of the New Testament, is far superior to that which attests almost every other work of the same antiquity. A chain of witnesses is continued from the first century down to the present day; while the publicity of the writings, the high importance attached to them, and their wide diffusion, have no parallel in the works of heathen literature. When the Son of God had come down from heaven, assumed our nature, and made atonement by his death for the sins of the world, it was fitting that the records of so stupendous a fact, the title-deeds of eternal life to those who believe, should have their authenticity confirmed by ample evidence. Ac­cordingly, no other books, transmitted through so many ages, can offer such full proofs of their genuineness, as the writings of the New Testament.

 

But the faith of the Christian does not rest simply on this external testimony, however full and conclusive it may be. The word of God contains its own evidence. It exhibits, to the thoughtful and candid inquirer, internal proof that it reveals to us a genuine history, and that this history is the record of a Divine revelation.

 

In the Horæ Paulinæ, Dr. Paley has clearly explained the nature of that argument, to establish the genuineness of two or more separate works, which results from the undesigned coincidences between them, and has then applied it to the Book of Acts and St. Paul’s Epistles,    The work is perhaps the most valuable of his writings, at once for the acuteness of observation which it displays, and the remarkable felicity of its reasoning. No one can read it, unless enslaved by some invincible prejudice, and not feel convinced that the letters are genuine, and the history, so far as it runs parallel with them, a true and faithful narrative.

 

It seems desirable that the same mode of reasoning should be extended still further, and applied, as far as the case will allow, to the whole of the New Testament. No argument is perhaps better adapted to convince gainsayers, or to establish the faith of plain and unlearned Christians. It is true that the Catholic Epistles, and even the book of Revelation, do not lend themselves easily to its application; since they proceed from four different writers, and are brief in extent, or nearly devoid of local and personal allusions. Even the four Gospels themselves present some difficulty if the argument is to retain a simple and popular form. Their resemblances and dif­ferences are so peculiar, and have been accounted for so variously, as to complicate and embarrass every argument, which rests on examples of undesigned agreement. It is certain that St. John would have seen the earlier gospels, and highly probable, at least, that St. Mark and St. Luke had seen that of St Matthew. And hence it plainly becomes a delicate question, how far any particular coincidence can be shown to be, in the full sense of the word, unintentional and undesigned. In the present supplementary work, this branch of the subject is therefore confined, of necessity, within narrow limits; since its complete investigation would demand a distinct treatise, and the prosecution of some deep and difficult inquiries.



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Posted 18 July 2013 - 04:56 AM

The argument, however, is by no means exhausted, within the limits thus assigned. The book of Acts, and the Epistles of St. Paul, yield a variety of additional evidence, besides those coincidences which the Horæ Paulinæ has developed with such ability. The genuineness and veracity of these books, thus doubly confirmed, supplies a clear and simple proof of several main particulars in the gospel history; while other coincidences in the Gospels themselves, even independent of those which would require a more profound investigation to complete this branch of the argument, and must carry a full conviction of their veracity and historical reality to any thoughtful mind.

 

The work of Paley conducts the argument to this point, that the authenticity of St. Paul’s thirteen letters is fully es­tablished, subject only to a doubt, in one instance, as to the right address; while the fidelity of the historian, at least in one main portion of the narrative, is also thoroughly proved. The present work, designed to complete his line of argument, will consist of three parts. The First Book will relate directly to St. Paul’s epistles, including the Epistle to the Hebrews, and will trace those further coincidences of the letters with each other, or with the history, which may have been overlooked in the Horæ Paulinæ. Several questions which Paley has left undecided, will also receive a further discussion so as to increase the whole amount of internal evidence. It will be endeavoured, also, to fix the true place of those epistles which have been variously assigned by more recent authors. The Second Book will relate to the book of Acts. Its aim will be to establish the truth of the narrative through its whole extent, from the coincidence of one part with another, and of the whole with the letters. The Third Book will apply the argument to the four Gospels, in three distinct chapters. Of these the first will exhibit the testimony of the epistles, and the second, that of the book of Acts, to many leading facts recorded in the gospel history; while the third will present some of those internal coincidences, in the four Gospels them­selves, compared with each other and the rest of the New Testament, which admit of being extricated from the contro­versies of harmonists, and exhibited in a clear and popular form. The full exhibition of their mutual harmony and historical evidence demands, from its importance, a distinct and more complete inquiry.

 

May He who is the Giver of all wisdom, prosper this humble attempt to illustrate the truth of his word, and to unfold some of its more hidden treasures! May He graciously cause it to minister to the conviction of doubting inquirers, the instruction of simple-hearted believers, the increase of Scriptural light in patient students of the inspired oracles, and the glory of that Divine Saviour, whose holy example, atoning sacrifice, and triumphant resurrection, are there so clearly revealed!



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Posted 18 July 2013 - 04:56 AM

BOOK I.

 

THE INTERNAL EVIDENCE OF ST. PAUL’S EPISTLES.

 

The numerous coincidences, developed in the Horæ Paulinæ, are enough to place the authenticity of St. Paul’s letters on a basis of evidence, quite impregnable. Yet since there are others which Paley has overlooked, and several points affect­ing the consistency of one with another, and of all with the history, which he has not determined; it is well to fill up and complete this first branch of the general inquiry, before the argument is applied to the rest of the New Testament

 

In tracing this additional evidence, the order of time will be followed, so far as possible, and will lend some help towards a clear apprehension of the whole argument. The two Epistles to the Thessalonians will therefore claim the first place. Since they are short and intimately connected, they will be joined in one chapter. The Horæ contains six articles on the first, and three on the second letter. It is desirable that these should be read, immediately before the following chapter, and so in the other letters, in order to see the collective force of the whole argument.



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Posted 18 July 2013 - 04:57 AM

CHAPTER I.

 

THE TWO EPISTLES TO THE THESSALONIANS.

 

No. I.

 

1 Thess. 2:18. “Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I, Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.”

 

These two letters are both of them written in the joint names of Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, after St. Paul had been at Athens, and when Timothy had lately rejoined him a second time. Here we have a direct agreement with the history, which states that they preached the gospel together at Thessalonica, and met afterwards at Corinth. In the present verse, however, the apostle isolates himself from his two companions, and speaks simply in his own name. It is thus implied that Silvanus and Timothy had either stayed with the Thessalonians, or revisited them, when Paul was hindered from so doing.

 

Let us now compare the history, (Acts 17:10, 14, 16; 18:5). It states that Silas and Timothy stayed at Berea, when Paul left for Athens, and that they had a charge to come to him with speed. It adds that Paul waited for them at Athens, and that they rejoined him, some time later, at Corinth. The letter adds another fact, which relieves the seeming contradiction between the charge given them at part­ing, and their long delay; that Timothy did really arrive at Athens, and was sent again to Thessalonica. Silas, it is plain, either stayed in Macedonia, or returned to it also.

 

It thus appears, from this indirect comparison, that Timothy did revisit Thessalonica, and that Silvanus either revisited it, or remained in the neighbourhood, during the very interval to which the above statement refers. The words, therefore, could apply only to St. Paul himself, and not to his com­panions. Yet how evidently undesigned is this coincidence. It is marked in the briefest manner possible by the insertion of three words (ἐγ μεν Παλος) without further comment or explanation. The correction is quite incidental, while the mind of the writer clearly rests on his main subject, his own deep yearning of love towards the young converts of Thessa­lonica.

 

But we may trace a coincidence, still more minute. The letter implies that there were two occasions, when his desire to revisit them was peculiarly strong, and special hindrances stood in the way; and that both of these were previous to the mission of Timothy from Athens.

 

The history supplies a probable key to this remark also. It was Jews from Thessalonica by whom Paul was driven from Berea, when the brethren conducted him to the sea. In the certainty that these bitter adversaries would return to their own city, and renew their persecution of his young converts, he must have felt a strong desire at that time to revisit them and confirm their faith. Again, when Timothy reached him at Athens, and reported the continuance of those persecutions, the desire would revive with increased intensity. Still, however, there were powerful motives, which prevented his return. On this second disappointment, however, he ”could no longer forbear,” but sent Timothy back to them once again. We have thus a natural explication of the statement, that ”once and again” he had specially sought to revisit them, and found it impossible.



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Posted 18 July 2013 - 04:57 AM

No. II.

 

1 Thess. 2:2. “But 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.”

 

1 Thessalonians 3:4. “For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer persecution; even as it came to pass, and ye know.”

 

There is here a direct allusion to the persecutions at Philippi and Thessalonica, recorded in the history. It is the peculiar nature of this reference which furnishes a mark of reality. No details are offered, but the Thessalonians are simply referred to their own previous knowledge of the cir­cumstances. The facts, assumed to be notorious, are made the ground of a double appeal; in the first case, to confirm the sincerity, and in the other, to prove the foresight and honesty of the apostle, who warned them of these troubles before they came. This is exactly what would be likely to occur in a real letter, while a forgery would have probably overlooked the actual knowledge of the Thessalonians, and given us a detailed repetition of the history.



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Posted 18 July 2013 - 04:58 AM

No. III.

 

1 Thessalonians 2:15, 16. “Who both killed the Lord Jesus Christ, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men; forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway.”

 

No one can fail to remark a tone of peculiar earnestness and holy indignation, in this catalogue, which Paul gives, of the sins of the Jews. The fact of their constant opposition to the spread of the gospel among the Gentiles, runs through the whole history, and might therefore have been possibly em­bodied, even in a forged letter. But the tone of the passage, without asserting, seems to imply, a peculiarly vivid sense of their guilt on the mind of the apostle at this time.

 

Let us now compare the history. The letter was written soon after Timothy reached the apostle at Corinth. What was the state of things in that city?

 

“And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Mace­donia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ. And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from hence­forth I will go unto the Gentiles.”

 

What commentary on the words in the letter, where the sins of the Jews are exposed, could be more satisfactory and complete? Yet the coincidence is indirect, between the probable intensity of the apostle’s feelings at such a time, and the almost passionate earnestness of his denunciation.



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Posted 18 July 2013 - 04:58 AM

No. IV.

 

1 Thess. 3:6, 7. “But now when Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, and that ye have good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us, as we also to see you: therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you, in all our affliction and distress by your faith.”

 

With these words let us compare the same passage, Acts 18:5, observing that the best editions read, instead of "Paul was pressed in the spirit (πνένκατι)” “Paul was pressed by their report (τῷ λόγῳ).” The time in both places is the same, soon after the return of Timothy to Corinth. In both the apostle is described as powerfully affected by the message he received. Yet there is a diversity which proves that they are no copies. Silas and Timothy are both men­tioned in the narrative, but only Timothy in the letter. The joy of St. Paul is mentioned in the one, in the other his feelings of sorrow. One dwells on his inward emotion towards the Macedonian converts, the other on his outward conduct to the Jews of Corinth. This is the indirect and beautiful harmony of a real letter with a genuine history. For the report of Timothy must have awakened both joy and sorrow —joy for the constancy of the Thessalonian converts, and sorrow for the impenitence and persevering hostility of the Macedonian Jews. In writing to those converts, it was natural that St. Paul should dwell chiefly on the joy which the report of Timothy had awakened, from their stedfastness under suffering; but the historian, just as naturally, dwells on the immediate result of his sorrow, in a more earnest testimony than ever to the Jews at Corinth. “Paul was pressed by their report, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ.”



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Posted 18 July 2013 - 04:58 AM

No. V.

 

1 Thessalonians 4:11. “And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you.”

 

2 Thessalonians 3:10-12,14. “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly (τάκτως) 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.—And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.”

 

In both letters we have the same thing affirmed, that St Paul, before he left Thessalonica, had given the converts a strict charge to work with their own hands. Yet there is a marked difference between the two passages. In the first letter, he repeats his command in general terms, and rather implies than asserts their partial neglect of it When he urges the duty of brotherly love, he also praises them for fulfilling it already. “And indeed ye do it, . . . but we beseech you to abound more and more.” When he proceeds to enforce industry, though he refrains from direct censure, there is no similar commendation. In the next chapter, amidst several general instructions, he implies more clearly that some were neglecting this duty, by the brief caution, “warn the disorderly.” In the second epistle the tone is different. The same command is repeated once more, with an authority that resembles sternness. The disobedience of some among them is distinctly affirmed. The duty of in­dustry is enforced at length, and instructions are given how to treat any one who should persevere in this fault. “Note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.”

 

How can this difference be explained? Simply by the facts themselves. At the time of the first letter, he had just learned their state from Timothy; and though signs of the evil had appeared, amidst such causes of joy for their fidelity under persecution, he contents himself with a general and indirect admonition. Since then, messengers who carried the first letter had brought later intelligence. The evil had increased, and even his own letter seems to have been one occasion of its growth; since they had been "shaken in mind, and troubled" by a false impression that the day of Christ was close at hand. Hence the greater urgency of the ex­hortation in the second letter.

 

This incidental agreement, in the fact of St. Paul’s admo­nition while at Thessalonica, and this diversity and contrast of tone between the second and third repetition of the command, form a clear token that the letters are authentic, and founded in each instance on the actual wants of the Thessalonian church.

 

It is worth observing, that while St. Paul gave these earnest admonitions, the history proves that he enforced them by a bright example. “Because he was of the same craft” with Aquila and Priscilla, “he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tent-makers,” Acts 18:3.



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Posted 18 July 2013 - 04:59 AM

CHAPTER II.

 

THE EPISTLE TO THE GALATIANS.

 

There is no epistle, on the date of which there has been so great a diversity of opinion, as on this Epistle to the Galatians. Some have placed it as early as St. Paul’s residence at Antioch, before his journey with Silas; while Theodoret and the Subscription place it after his imprisonment, during his stay at Rome. Michaelis supposes it to be written from Thessalonica on his first visit, with whom Canon Tate agrees; Dr. Benson and Lardner a little later, during his stay at Corinth; Capellus, Witsius, Bishop Pearson, and Dr. Burton, during his abode at Ephesus; others after leaving Ephesus, in Macedonia; and others again on his return from Corinth. It is desirable, then, to delay this inquiry, till those coinci­dences have been considered, which are less open to dispute. The book of Acts records two visits of Paul to Galatia, 16:6, 18:23. The former was on his route from Antioch, before he entered Europe; and the latter, after his return to Jerusalem and Antioch, before his abode of two years at Ephesus. The object of the latter visit was to confirm and strengthen the disciples. It is certain that the letter was written after the former visit; but whether before or after the, second, is a controverted question, which will be examined at the close of the chapter. A question still more vital to the present argument, is the reference of the journey, Gal. 2:1; whether it was the visit to the council, in Acts 15:, or some earlier or later visit to Jerusalem.



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Posted 18 July 2013 - 04:59 AM

No. I.

 

Gal. 1:18. “Then after three years I went up to Jeru­salem to see Peter; and abode with him fifteen days.”

 

Paley has remarked the seeming incongruity between this statement and the passage in Acts 9:28, and the indirect manner in which they are reconciled by the statement in Acts 22:17, 21, where St. Paul himself explains the short­ness of his visit. In this comparison it is assumed, however, that the same visit is referred to in the letter and in the public apology. Mr. Biley, in his valuable Supplement, has ques­tioned their identity, and endeavoured to show that St. Paul refers there to his second visit, Acts 11., which was also of short duration.    Dr. Lardner adopts the same view.

 

Now this very doubt is enough to show that, in either case, the reference was spontaneous, and not for an artificial purpose. But a closer view of the text will establish Paley’s opinion, and leave the coincidence he has pointed out, which is very curious and indirect, its entire weight in the proof of authenticity.

 

After mentioning the recovery of his sight, the apostle con­tinues his narrative in these words: “And it came to pass, that when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance; and saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony con­cerning me. And I said, Lord, they know that I im­prisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee: and when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him. And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.”

 

There are several things in this statement which prove that the apostle refers to his first visit. It was then only that he "returned back" (ὑποστοέψαντι) from that absence, which he has described just before; and the journey to Damascus, and the return from Damascus, are here in evident contrast.

 

The other return was from quite a different place. It was not properly a return at all, but a journey, from which he returned to Antioch, his actual abode. (Acts 12:25.)

 

Again, the apostle is explaining why he did not labour at home among his own countrymen, but at a distance among the Gentiles. It was the most natural and simple answer, that he had desired so to do, as soon as the Lord had appeared to him, and had been charged by a vision to depart. But this would be no apology for his first long absence, if the account refers to the second visit. The emphasis of his defence will then be lost.

 

Again, the vision must have been at some visit, when the apostle was bearing an actual testimony to the Jews, with some clear proofs of their rejection of the message. But this applies only to the first visit, when “he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians, but they went about to slay him.” Nothing similar appears on the second visit. Its express object was not to preach the gospel, but to convey a contribution, and the apostles seem to have confined themselves to this immediate duty. When James was martyred, and Peter was in prison with the prospect of death, it was not a likely hour for one still more hated to begin a public testimony, and no hint of it occurs.

 

Lastly, the appeal of St. Paul to the notoriety of his former conduct as a persecutor, and to its probable effect on the minds of the Jews, in giving power to his message, would be far more natural and striking after an interval of three, than of six or seven years. On all accounts, therefore, the view of Paley is just, and the coincidence which he has founded upon it is beautiful and impressive.



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Posted 18 July 2013 - 05:00 AM

No. II.

 

Gal. 1:19. “But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother.”

 

There is here a minute feature of historical consistency, which Paley has not noticed. The apostle James is named three times in the letter, but only here with this distinctive title. The history supplies a full key. For this visit is evidently the same as in Acts 9:26-30, while the one in the next chapter was much later, at or near the time of the council, Acts 15: Hence the first was before the death of James the son of Zebedee, and the other long after it.    A distinctive addition to the name was thus as natural in the one case, as it would be superfluous and even suspicious in the other.

 

The same distinction is observed in the book of Acts. In the earlier part, each has his own title, the brother of John, or the son of Alpheus. But after the elder James was martyred, the other is three times called James simply, without any addition. This minute propriety is too delicate and refined to be easily accounted for, except by the fact that Luke and Paul were contemporary with the events they record.

 

There is another coincidence in the present verse, and it reconciles the previous statement with the history. St. Paul has told us that he went up to see St. Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. The historian tells us, that Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles. Now, the statements, if completed here, would be opposite; but when we learn that he met with a second apostle, though it were one only, they are reconciled; since the plural term requires more than one apostle to have been present, but cannot with certainty imply a still greater number. It is true, that the history represents most or all of the apostles to have been at Jerusalem, about the time of Saul’s conversion, when Peter and John were sent down to Samaria; but the letter teaches us, what we do not learn from the history, that there was an interval of at least three years; and in the next verses it exhibits Peter on a kind of circuit in Judæa. There is thus nothing improbable in the absence of the other ten apostles during those fifteen days. Indeed, the circuit of Peter just afterwards, and the mention of James as the only other apostle present, seems to imply that his designation to a special charge over the mother church had now taken place, and that the others had begun to leave Jerusalem, agreeably with our Lord’s own instructions, not long after the martyrdom of Stephen, and the persecution which followed.



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Posted 18 July 2013 - 05:00 AM

No. III

 

Gal. 1:21-24. “Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia: and was (continued) unknown by face to the churches of Judæa which were in Christ: but they had heard only, (kept hearing, ἀκούοντες ἦσαν) That he which persecuted us in times past, now preacheth the faith which once he de­stroyed.    And they glorified God in me.”

 

In No. II. 4, on this epistle, Paley observes, that "there is a difficulty in this passage, which is removed by the supposi­tion of a land journey from Cæsarea to Tarsus. The passage has little significance, and the connexion is inexplicable unless St. Paul went through Judæa (though, probably, by a hasty journey) at the time when he came into Syria and Cilicia.” He would then "come into those regions in the very order in which he mentions them in the epistle.”

 

These remarks are certainly groundless. The apostle clearly does not refer exclusively or mainly to the few days of his journey, but to his stated residence for many years. Syria is named before Cilicia, perhaps because Antioch was a more important place than Tarsus, and his stay there was so much longer. On the other hand, it is quite evident from the book of Acts that he went by sea. The brethren conducted him to Cæsarea because it was the main sea-port, and that he might escape as quickly as possible from the malice of the Jews. He would therefore, no doubt, embark at once for Tarsus. The connexion in the above passage is clearer than on the hypothesis of a land journey; since his voyage would help to explain the fact that he was personally unknown to the great body of the Jewish Christians. It is probable that a more careful notice of the tenses in the original would have preserved Paley and others from this unnatural and useless conjecture.

 

But the passage has a more serious difficulty:—why the apostle should pass by in total silence his visit described in Acts 11. For although some have fancied this to be the same with Gal. 2:1, it is quite clear that their view is untenable. Every feature of the two visits, in the motive and the results, is entirely different. How, then, could he pass over this visit, without being guilty of a partial collusion, since it seems to interfere with his course of reasoning?

 

If now we examine the account of that visit closely, the difficulty will be removed. It was for a limited and special object, to convey the alms of the church from Antioch to Jerusalem. It concurred with a severe persecution, when James was martyred, and Peter kept in prison, and even after his deliverance obliged to conceal himself by retirement. The words of Acts 12:17 seem to imply that James, the Lord’s brother, was the only apostle then in Jerusalem. We are told that "Barnabas and Saul returned when they had fulfilled their ministry,” which could occupy them only a few days. The public assemblies of the believers at Jerusalem would be sus­pended while this persecution continued; most of them dis­persed, perhaps, throughout Judæa. Very few of them could, therefore, see the apostle face to face, and no public question could be raised which would affect his authority. It was, therefore, quite natural that he should pass over this visit, since his object was not to give a full biography, but simply enough of detail to prove his separate commission.



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Posted 18 July 2013 - 05:01 AM

No. IV.

 

Gal. 2:1-9. “Then, after fourteen years, I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also. And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, and privately to them of reputation, lest by any means I should run or had run in vain. But not even Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised. Now it was because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, and to bring us into bondage: to whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you. But from those who seemed to be somewhat (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me, God accepteth no man’s person); for they who seemed to be somewhat, in conference added nothing unto me. But con­trariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision unto Peter (for he that wrought mightily in Peter unto the apostleship of the circumcision, the same wrought mightily in me also towards the Gentiles): And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the heathen, and they to the circumcision.”

 

The corrections of the received version, in this passage, are either self-evident, or will be discussed in the course of the article.

 

This journey is usually held to be the same as in Acts 15:, when Paul and Barnabas went up to the council at Jerusalem, Three other views, however, have been maintained; that it was the visit in Acts 11., as Mr. Browne in the Ordo Sæclorum; the visit in Acts 18:, as in Greswell’s Dissertations; and a private visit, not mentioned in Acts, a little before the council, to which view Paley himself inclines, adopted also by Canon Tate in his Continuous History of St. Paul.

 

The most usual view, that the visit is the same as in Acts 15: is confirmed by several features of strong resemblance. On the other hand, the apparent discrepancies are so consi­derable, as to have disposed Paley and several others to an opposite opinion, that the visit in the letter was distinct, and somewhat earlier. This hesitation makes it clear, at the least, that the two accounts were not purposely fitted to each other. Now if, without straining either narrative, the discrepancies can be removed, and new points of agreement detected which are below the surface, the passage will become a most power­ful evidence that the history is faithful, and the letter genuine.

 

1. The points of direct agreement are important. The time, at a rough estimate, would seem nearly to correspond. Fourteen years is an adequate, but not an excessive allowance for the interval from Acts 9:21, to 15:1-4. In each case, Paul and Barnabas journey together, with one or more com­panions. The occasion of the journey in Acts is the discord produced by the arrival of Judaizing teachers at Antioch. In the epistle, it is because of false brethren unawares brought in, who come in privily to spy out the liberty of the Gentile converts. In each case, Paul and Barnabas confer with Peter and James, and the result is a direct and public testimony to their faithfulness. In each narrative, James and Peter are foremost in the conference on the part of the church at Jeru­salem. The renewed mission of Paul and Barnabas to the Gentiles is implied in the one, and openly expressed in the other. With so many features common to both, it is difficult to believe that the visits are not the same.

 

2. The first apparent difference is in the companions of the journey. In the Acts “certain other brethren” attend Paul and Barnabas, while only Titus is named in the letter. But there is here no real contrast. There is a plain reason in the letter why Titus is named, and one which applies to him exclusively; but nothing forbids us to suppose that there were several others also.    It is one mark of the history not being derived from the letters, that Titus is never once named in its whole course.

 

3. The epistle states, that Paul went up by revelation; in the Acts, he is said to have been sent by the church at An­tioch. Paley, who slights the former difficulty, and with much reason, views this as one of great weight. Yet surely it is soon removed. We are told, in Acts, that before the journey was resolved upon, there had been much disputation. What would be more natural than a revelation to St. Paul, suggesting this journey, and then a deliberate assent of the church, on the proposal being made? Or, again, if the first proposal came from others, what more natural than for St. Paul to resist a plan, which might seem to compromise his authority; until he was taught by a distinct revelation that it was the will of God, and that the result would be to confirm the peace of the church, and sustain the purity of the gospel?



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Posted 18 July 2013 - 05:01 AM

4. Another difficulty is found in the words, “but privately to them of reputation.” How could he communicate privately what was the professed object of a public message? Here a reference to the text, or even to the margin, removes the diffi­culty, and suggests a better version: “and severally to them of reputation.” The apostle first declares, “I communicated to them,” namely, to the churches of Judæa, the gospel which he preached, and then adds a further statement, that he also explained it individually, and in private conversation, to the main pillars of the church, or the three leading apostles; so that they might come to the public discussion with an accu­rate knowledge of the facts, and previous meditation on the great question at issue.

 

On this view, which results naturally from the very force of the words, the supposed contradiction becomes a proof that the visit was the same, and reveals an undesigned coincidence. For when was it so likely that the apostle would use this diligence in explaining his doctrine and his practice, as on the eve of that eventful council, when a right decision was so vital to the welfare of the whole church? Nay, more, on reading the history, it is clear that Peter and James were pre­pared to second St. Paul with the full weight of their authority, and even probable that they had agreed how to encounter most effectually the strong tide of Jewish prejudice. After much discussion by those of lower rank in the church, Peter utters a few pointed and decisive words, in which he refers to his own part in the call of Cornelius, and reasons from the gift of the Holy Ghost then bestowed. The multitude being now stilled, give an attentive audience to Paul and Barnabas, while they report the wonders and signs God has wrought by them among the Gentiles. When their narrative has had its full effect, James arises, and joins the statement of Peter with those of the prophets, so as to be the basis of a final decision, in which, however, he tempers the great principle of Gentile liberty by a wise and limited respect to the habits and preju­dices of the Jews. If they had concerted how and when to speak, so as. to surmount the difficulty from the number of less enlightened elders, they could not have adopted a more suitable plan. And hence the statement of the letter is really a key which explains the details of the history.

 

5. The main difficulty still remains. If the visits were the same, why is St. Paul entirely silent respecting the council and the decree?

 

Now, first, since the letter was plainly much later than the council, the silence equally needs explanation, if the visits were different. The remarks of Paley, to account for it on the hypothesis of two journeys, apply with almost equal force, if the journeys were the same.

 

The full solution of this difficulty is probably rather dif­ferent. It is almost certain that the Galatian churches would receive copies of the decree, along with the preaching of the apostle, and before he parted from them. And hence it must be highly probable that the false teachers, whose views it opposed, would give a garbled statement respecting the council itself, so as to evade the force of the decree, and under­mine St Paul’s authority. They alleged, it is plain, that he was no apostle, but a teacher of inferior rank, and hence that he had submitted his doctrine to the judgment of those who were apostles indeed. They would probably remark, that the decree gave him no such title, that the liberty it gave was a special indulgence to the weakness of the Syrian and Cilician believers; but that St. Paul himself on some occasions preached and practised circumcision, and that the usage of the twelve and of the Jewish churches was the only true standard of Christian perfection; though local indulgence might be granted to the weakness of Gentile converts, of low attain­ments in the faith.

 

By this probable supposition every statement in the epistle is fully explained. St. Paul, in the first place, proves the independent source of his authority, from a direct revelation of Christ; and its independent exercise, for three years, before he had seen one of the apostles, and for fourteen, in almost entire separation from the churches of Judæa. He then places his visit at the time of the council in its true light, since it had been misrepresented by the false teachers. It was not until fourteen years after he had begun to exercise the office of an apostle. It was from no sense of inferiority to the other apostles, nor in dependence upon their decision, but in obe­dience to an immediate and Divine revelation. He had private as well as public intercourse with the chief apostles, and his doctrine and practice had their full approval. It was admit­ted, not only in theory but in practice, as was proved evi­dently by the case of Titus, his companion. The reason for the visit was no doubt in the apostle’s own mind, but simply the entrance of false brethren, and that they might be deprived of every pretence for their corruption of the gospel. Instead of borrowing from the other apostles, the most eminent among them, when he conferred with them, added nothing to his message. They even recognised in him a commission to the Gentiles, similar in authority and dignity with their own to the circumcision, and their only admonition, to remember the poor, had been anticipated in his own practice.

 

On this view of the argument, all is fully reconciled. The statement of St. Paul, in which he rectifies the garbled account of the false teachers, becomes naturally a supplement to the direct narrative, since its object is to detail those circum­stances of the visit, which were not of the same notoriety with the decree itself. The harmony of the two passages, when thus explained, and the complete solution of difficulties, so formidable at first sight, becomes a strong evidence for the genuineness of the letter, and the truth of the history.



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Posted 18 July 2013 - 05:01 AM

No. V.

 

Gal. 2:10. “Only they would that we should remember the poor, the same which I also was forward to do.”

 

In the direct narrative of the council, no allusion to this subject appears. Indeed the history, by its silence, would almost seem to contradict the statement of the letter. After the council, we read of a journey through Syria and Cilicia, through Lycaonia, through Galatia and Phrygia, of St. Paul’s entrance into Europe, with details of his labours at Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens, and Corinth, and still no trace of this forwardness, and no syllable relating to the poor in Judæa. We have then his call at Ephesus, his circuit by Jerusalem and Antioch, his second visit to Galatia and Phrygia, and his long abode at Ephesus; then a journey through Macedonia to Corinth, and again from Corinth, by Philippi and Troas, to Miletus and Jerusalem, and not one word on this subject. At length, in the third defence of the apostle, before Felix, one short sentence appears incidentally, and turns the contrast into a plain coincidence. “Now after many years I came to bring alms to my nation, and offerings.” This brief notice is all that we find in the history. It is enough to explain the truth of the statement in the letter, but far too brief and transient, to be ascribed to the design of producing a conformity. But the other epistles amply supply the rest. We have only to read Rom. 15; 1 Cor. 16:, and 2 Cor. 8; 9, to see the truth of St. Paul’s assertion, that he was forward to remember the poor saints at Jerusalem, abundantly confirmed.



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Posted 18 July 2013 - 05:02 AM

No. VI.

 

Gal. 3:2, 5. “This only would I learn of you, Re­ceived ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? .... He therefore that ministered to you the Spirit, and wrought miracles among you, did he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?”

 

It is here implied (though the expression is so brief and general that its meaning might easily be overlooked) that the Galatians had received the miraculous gifts of the Spirit, that St. Paul was the person by whom they had received them, and that he had wrought direct miracles among them. There can be no real doubt that the passage should be rendered, as above, by the imperfect tense, and not the present, and that St. Paul alludes to the time of his visit, when these gifts had been imparted, and these miraculous powers exercised.

 

Now this may be called an indirect coincidence, for the history passes over that visit in three words, without the least allusion to the fact of such miracles, or the impartation of such gifts. Yet the next chapter after his second visit mentions both of these things at Ephesus, the bestowment of the gifts, and miracles, and mentions them in such a manner as evidently implies their occurrence in the other scenes of his labours. The history does not assert the fact in Galatia, but assumes it as usual, in the narrative of events at Ephesus. The letter does not pause to assert it, but reasons from it as previously known.



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Posted 18 July 2013 - 05:02 AM

No. VII.

 

Gal. 1:6. “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel.”

 

These words introduce us to a very controverted and diffi­cult subject, the date of the letter. A decision on this point is not essential to the previous coincidences; but still, if attainable, it must be a further help to our apprehension of the apostle’s argument, and deepen the impression of au­thenticity.

 

The first visit to Galatia is mentioned Acts 16:6, after Paul and Silas had left Antioch, and before their visit to Europe. The second was between two and three years later, after the return of Paul from Corinth to Jerusalem and Antioch, and before his stay at Ephesus for nearly three years. Macknight would place the epistle before the first of these visits, assuming that Galatia was evangelized by Paul and Barnabas on their former circuit. The only pretext for this opinion is in Acts 14:6, where they are said to have preached in Lystra and Derbe, and the region round about. These towns, however, lie further from Galatia than Iconium, and hence their position excludes the idea that any part of Galatia was then evangelized. Hence the letter was certainly later than the visit in Acts 16:, when those churches were really founded.

 

It is harder to decide whether it was before or after the second visit in Acts 18: Michaelis, Benson, Lardner, Tate, place it before, and Paley seems to favour this view. Tertullian and Epiphanius adopt it among earlier writers. On the other hand, Capellus, Witsius, Wall, Lightfoot, Grotius, Pearson, Dr. Mill, Professor Hug, and more recently Dr. Burton, Mr. Greswell and Mr. Biley, all place it after the second visit, whether at Ephesus, in Macedonia, at Corinth or Troas, or even as Lightfoot, Theodoret, and the Subscription during the residence at Rome. Michaelis and Tate, who refer it to the interval of the two visits, date it from Thessalonica, but Benson and Lardner somewhat later, from Corinth.    We shall find, if I mistake not, that this last opinion is the only one which is really tenable.

 

And first, the above passage naturally implies that their declension had followed quickly after their first calling, and that no intermediate visit had occurred; for in this case it seems hardly possible that the apostle should not allude to it, and speak of his having confirmed them in the faith, as well as called them. Any time before his second visit would be short enough to explain the expression, or even a longer interval; but if a second visit had occurred, the chief aggravation of their sin would be in the circumstance, to which no allusion is made, that, even after repeated instructions, they were turning aside from the faith.

 

Another passage (4:18.) is perhaps a still stronger argument for this view. “But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you.” If they had persevered in the faith during three years of his first absence, and only turned aside after his second visit, the point of this appeal is lost. They could not then be truly charged with adhering to the truth only when he was present. But if their decline had begun immediately after he left them to preach the gospel in Europe, and the letter was written before his return to them, the reproof will be strictly applicable to their real conduct. For his first absence was longer than both his visits, and they would have obeyed longer in his absence than in has presence, unless their departure from the faith began during the interval, and the reproof was addressed to them at that time. This argument seems to me almost decisive of the whole question.

 

The chief ground of the opposite view, as maintained by Dr. Benson, Professor Hug, Dr. Burton, Mr. Greswell, and Mr. Biley, is taken from the passage Gal. 4:13, “Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first.” (τὸ πρότερον). They argue that this com­parative implies two visits, and that the earlier of these is specified in contrast with the second.

 

This interpretation, though Professor Hug, Dr. Burton, and Mr. Greswell, all speak of it as clear and plain, has no real solidity whatever. It is true that the word implies a com­parison of two different points of time, but it is equally true that one of these may be the time present and not that of a second visit.    The other passages where it occurs are these; John 6:62, “What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?” 7:51, “Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him?” 2 Cor. 1:15, “In this confi­dence I was minded to come unto you before, that ye might have a second benefit.” 1 Tim. 1:13, “Who was before a blasphemer.” Heb. 4:6, “They to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief.” 7:27, “Who needeth not to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s.” 10:32, “Call to remembrance the former days.” In all these places, the comparison is with the present time, except in 2 Cor. 1:15, and even there the meaning is ambi­guous. St. Paul may, perhaps, mean that his purpose was to have paid his visit earlier, in order to have time for a second one, in which case this passage would agree with all the others. It is clear, at the least, that the word τὸ πρότερον can never prove a second visit, but may imply simply that the visit alluded to was some time before he wrote, and thus be paraphrased,” at that former time when I was with you.”






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