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nicated with him, as concerning giving and receiving, but they only,” he could not, consistently with the truth of this declara tion, have received any thing from the neighbouring church of Thessalonica. What thus appears 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. iii, 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 also 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, ch. xx, 34, 35. 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.
No. III. Our readers remember 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_and so shall we be ever with the Lord.—But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.”—1 Thess. iv, 15–17, and ch. v, 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, bts eveCTIESY, “ is at hand,”* 2 Thess. ii, 2; 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 ob
1. The strong fact, that there exists a passage in the first Epistle, to which that in the second is capable of being referred, i.e. 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 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 passage in the second Epistle bears a particular affinity to what is found in the passage cited from the first Epistle. The clause is this:
'OTI EYtotaxiv, nempe hoc anno (viz. this year), says Grotius, tvisTHXRY hic dicitur de re præsenti, ut (i, e. is here spoken of as concerning what is present, as) Rom. viii, 38; I Cor. iii, 22; Gal. i, 4; Heb. ix, 9.
“ 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. ch. iv, 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” (ws di wewe). Do not these words, & sipewe, “s from us," 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: εις το μη ταχεως σαλευθηναι υμας απο το νους, μητε θροεισθαι, μητε δια πνευματος, μητε δια λογα, μητε δι επιστολης, ως δι ημων, ως οτι ενέστηκεν η ημερα τα Χριστο. Under the weight of the preceding observations may not the words μητε δια λογα, μητε δε STIETOANS, as de especio, be construed to signify quasi nos quid tale aut dixerimus aut scripserimus (i. e. as if we had either said or written any such thing"),* intimating that their words had been mistaken, and that they had in truth said or written no such thing?
• 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 xv, 1, 24, it is recorded that one had pretended to have received instructions from the church at Jerusalem, which had been received, “to whom they gave no such commandment." And thus Dr Benson interpreted the passage μητε θροεισθαι, μητε
πνευματος, μητε δια λογα, μητε δι επιστολης, ως δι ήμων, “nor be dismayed by any revelation, or discourse, or epistle, which any one, shall pretend to have heard or received from us.”
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, viz. that Timothy, though he wa 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.”—Chap. iii, 14, 15.
66 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine." – Chap. iv, 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 Rome, 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 liberation 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 twentythird verses of the same chapter, i.e. 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 befal me there; save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying, that bonds and afflictions abide
This “'witnessing of the Holy Ghost" was undoubtedly prophetic and supernatural. But it went no farther than to foretel 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