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had relation only to the professors of Christianity, who should be guilty of such vices. The whole may be thus paraphrased: “ I wrote to you above in my letter, that you should separate from those who were fornicators, and that you should purge them out as old leaven; but fearing lest you should misapprehend my meaning, by inferring that I have directed you to avoid all intercourse with the heathen around you, who are addicted to these shameful vices, which would make it necessary that
go out of the world, I now inform you, that my meaning is, that you do not associate familiarly with any who make a profession of Christianity, and yet continue in these evil practices.”
In confirmation of this interpretation, we can adduce the old Syriac version, which having been made soon after the days of the Apostles, is good testimony in relation to this matter of fact. In this venerable version, the meaning of the 11th verse is thus given: “ This is what I have written unto you," or "The meaning of what I have written unto you.'
Dr Whitby understands this passage in a way different from any that has been mentioned; the reader is referred to his commentary on the place.
And we have before mentioned the ingenious conjecture of Dr Lightfoot, to which there is no objection, except that it is totally unsupported by evidence.
It deserves to be mentioned here, that there is now extant a Letter from Paul to the Corinthians, distinct from those Epistles of his which we have in the Canon; and also an Epistle from the church of Corinth to Paul. These Epistles are in the Armenian language, but have been translated into Latin.
The Epistle ascribed to Paul is very short, and undoubtedly spurious. It contains no prohibitions relative to keeping company with fornicators. It was never cited by any of the early writers; nor, indeed, heard of, until within a century past. It contains some unsound opinions concerning the speedy appearance of Christ, which Paul, in some of his Epistles, took pains to contradict.
The manner of salutation is very different from that of Paul; and this Apostle is made to declare, that he had received what he taught them from the former Apostles, which is contrary to his repeated solemn asseveration, in several of his Epistles.
In regard to the Epistle under the name of the Church of Corinth, it does not properly fall under our consideration; for
See Jones on the Canon, vol. i, pp. 139, 140, and Note C.
though it were genuine, it would have no claim to a place in the Canon.
The curious reader will find a literal translation of both these Epistles, in Jones's New Method of settling the Canon.
The only other passage in the New Testament which has been thought to refer to an Epistle of Paul, not now extant, is that in Col. iv, 16, “ And when this Epistle is read among you, cause also that it be read in the church of the Laodiceans, and that ye likewise read the Epistle from Laodicea."
Now, there is clear evidence, that so early as the beginning of the second century, there existed an Epistle under this title; but it was not received by the church, but was in the hands of Marcion, who was a famous forger and corrupter of Sacred books. He was contemporary with Polycarp, and therefore very near to the times of the Apostles, but he was stigmatise as an enemy of the truth; for he had the audacity to form a Gospel according to his own mind, which went by his name; and also an Apostolicon, which contained only ten of Paul's Epistles; and these altered and accommodated to his own notions. These, according to Epiphanius, were, “The Epistle to the Galatians, the two to the Corinthians, to the Romans, the two to the Thessalonians, to the Colossians, to Philemon, and to the Philippians. And,” says he, “he takes in some part of that which is called the Epistle to the Laodiceans, and this he styles the eleventh of those received by Marcion."
Tertullian, however, gives a very different account of this matter. He asserts, “ That Marcion and his followers called that the Epistle to the Laodiceans, which was the Epistle to the Ephesians; which Epistle,” says he, “ we are assured, by the testimony of the church, was sent to the Ephesians, and not to the Laodiceans; though Marcion has taken upon him, falsely, to prefix that title to it, pretending therein to have made some notable discovery.” And again, “ I shall say nothing now of that other Epistle, which we have inscribed to the Ephesians, but the heretics entitle it to the Laodiceans."
This opinion, which by Tertullian is ascribed to Marcion, respecting the true title of the Epistle to the Ephesians, has been adopted, and ingeniously defended, by several distinguished moderns, as Grotius, Hammond, Whitby, and Paley. They rely principally on internal evidence; for unless Marcion be accepted as a witness, I do not recollect that any of the early writers can be quoted in favour of that opinion; but in the course of this work, we have put down the express testi
• Vol. i, p. 14.
EXPLANATION OF COLOSSIANS, IV, 16. 165 mony of some of the most respectable and learned of the Fathers on the other side; and all those passages in the Epistle which seem inconsistent with its being addressed to the Ephesians, and neighbouring churches of Asia, can easily be explained. See Lardner and Macknight.
But there is also an Epistle to the Laodiceans, now extant, against which nothing can be said, except that almost every thing contained in it is taken out of Paul's other Epistles, so that if it should be received, we add nothing in reality to the Canon; and if it should be rejected, we lose nothing. The reader may find a translation of this Epistle inserted in the Notes at the end of the volume.
But what evidence is there that Paul ever wrote an Epistle to the Laodiceans? The text on which this opinion has been founded, in ancient and modern times, correctly interpreted, has no such import. The words in the original are, xai al éx Λαοδικείας ίνα και υμείς αναγνώτε, αnd that ye likewise read the Epistle from Laodicea.* These words have been differently understood; for by them some understand, that an Epistle had been written by Paul to the Laodiceans, which he desired might be read in the church at Colosse. Chrysostom seems to have understood them thus; and the Romish writers, almost universally, have adopted this opinion.
“ Therefore,” says Bellarmine, “it is certain that Paul's Epistle to the Laodiceans is now lost.” And their opinion is favoured by the Latin Vulgate, where we read, Eamque Laodicensium; that which is of the Laodiceans: but even these words admit of another construction.
Many learned Protestants, also, have embraced the same interpretation; while others suppose that Paul here refers to the Epistle to the Ephesians, which they think he sent to the Laodiceans, and that the present inscription is spurious.
But that neither of these opinions is correct, may be rendered very probable. In regard to the latter, we have already said as much as is necessary; and that Paul could not intend, by the language used in the passage under consideration, an Epistle written by himself, will appear by the following arguments:
1. Paul could not, with any propriety of speech, have called an Epistle written by himself, and sent to the Laodiceans, an Epistle from Laodicea. He certainly would have said, sigos Acoòixesav, or some such thing. Who ever heard of an Epistle addressed to any individual, or to any society, denominated an Epistle from them?* * Cél. iv, 16.
+ Note D.
2. If the Epistle referred to in this passage had been one written by Paul, it would have been most natural for him to call it his Epistle, and this would havé rendered his meaning incapable of misconstruction.
3. All those best qualified to judge of the fact, and who were well acquainted with Paul's history and writings, never mention any such Epistle; neither Clement, Hermas, nor the Syriac Interpreter, knew any thing of such an Épistle of Paul; and no one seems to have had knowledge of any such writing, except Marcion, who probably forged it to answer his own purposes. But whether Marcion did acknowledge an Epistle different from all that we have in the Canon, rests on the authority of Epiphanius, who wrote a criticism on the Apostolicon of Marcion; but, as we have seen, Tertullian tells us a different story. It is of little importance to decide which of these testimonies is most credible; for Marcion's authority, at best, is worthless, on such a subject.
But it may be asked, to what Epistle then does Paul refer? To this inquiry, various answers have been given, and perhaps nothing determinate can now be said. Theophylact was of opinion, that Paul's First Epistle to Timothy was here intended. But this is not probable. Dr Lightfoot conjectures, that it was the First Epistle of John, which he supposes was written from Laodicea.' Others have thought that it was the Epistle of Paul to Philemon. But it seems safest, in such a éase, where testimony is deficient, to follow the literal sense of the words, and to believe that it was an Epistle written by the Laodiceans, probably to himself, which he had sent to the Colossians, together with his own Epistle, for their perusal.
That the Epistle which is now extant, is not the same as that which formerly existed, at least as early as the fourth century, is evident from the quotations from the ancient Epistle, by Epiphanius; for no such words as he cites are in the Epistle now extant. But candour requires that it be mentioned, that they are contained in the Epistle to the Ephesians. Let this weigh as much as it is worth, in favour of the opinion, that the Apostle, in the passage
under consideration, refers to the Epistle to the Ephesians. This opinion, however, is perfectly consistent with our position, that no Canonical book of the New Testament has been lost.
This proposition, we hope, will now appear to the reader sufficiently established.
RULES FOR DETERMINING WHAT BOOKS ARE APOCRYPAAL-SOME ACCOUNT
OF THE APOCRYPHAL BOOKS WHICH HAVE BEEN LOST ALL OF THEM
Of the Apocryphal books of the New Testament, the greater part have long since sunk into oblivion, but a few of them are still extant. All of them can be proved to be spurious, or, at least, nyot Canonical. Their claims have so little to support them, that they might be left to that oblivion into which they have so generally fallen, were it not that, from time to time, persons, unfriendly to our present Canon, bring forward these books, and pretend that some of them, at least, have as good elaims to Canonical authority as those which are received. It will be satisfactory to the reader, therefore, to know the names of these books, and to understand the principles on which they have been uniformly rejected by the church.
In the first place, then, I will mention the rules laid down by the Rev. Jeremiah Jones, by which it may be determined that a book is Apocryphal; and then I will give some account of the books of this class, which have been lost; and, finally, consider the character of those which are still extant.
1. “ That book is certainly Apocryphal, which contains manifest contradictions." The reason of this rule is too evident to need
2. “ That book is Apocryphal, which contains any doctrine, or history, plainly contrary to those which are certainly known to be true.”
This rule, also, is too clear to require any thing to be said in confirmation of its propriety.
3. “ That book is Apocryphal, which contains any thing ludicrous or trifling, or which abounds in silly and fabulous stories.”
This rule is not only true, but of great importance in this inquiry; as, on examination, it will be found, that the largest