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“ A bishop 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, having his children in subjection with all gravity."*-1 Tim. ch. iii, 2-4.
“ If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children, not accused of riot, or unruly. For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; but a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate." -Titus, chap. i, 6-8.
The most natural account which can be given of these resemblances, is to snppose that the two Epistles were written nearly at the same time, and whilst the same ideas and phrases dwelt in the writer's mind. Let us inquire, therefore, whether the notes of time, extant in the two Epistles, in any manner favour this supposition.
We have seen that it was necessary to refer the First Epistle to Timothy to a date subsequent to Paul's first imprisonment at Rome, because there was no journey into Macedonia prior to that event, which accorded with the circumstance of leaving “ Timothy behind at Ephesus.” The journey of St Paul from Crete, alluded to in the Epistle before us, and in which Titus “ was left in Crete to set in order the things that were wanting," must, in like manner, be carried to the period which intervened between his first and second imprisonment. For the history, which reaches, we know, to the time of St Paul's first imprisonment, contains no account of his going to Crete, except upon his voyage as a prisoner to Rome; and that this could not be the occasion referred to in our Epistle is evident from hence, that when St Paul wrote this Epistle, he appears to have been at liberty; whereas, after that voyage, he continued for two years in confinement. Again, it is agreed that St Paul wrote his First Epistle to Timothy from Macedonia: “ As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I
* « Δει και τον επισκοπον ανεσιληστoν ειναι, μιας γυναικος ανδρα, νηφαλιον, σωφρονα, κοσμιον, φιλοξενον, διδακτικον, μη παρoινoν, μη πληκτην, μη αισκροκερδη" αλλ' επεικη, αμαχον, αφιλαργυρον" τα ιδια οικε καλως προϊσταμενον, τεκνα εχοντα εν υποταγη μετα πασης σεμνοτητος.”
* « Ει τις εστιν ανέγκλητος, μιας γυναικος ανης, τεκνα εχων πιστα, μη εν κατηγορια ασωτίας, η ανυποτακτα. Δει γας τον επισκοπον ανέγκλητον ειναι, , ως Θεον οικονομον, μη αυθαδη, μη οργιλον, μη παρoινoν, μη πληκτην, μη αισκροκερδη" αλλα φιλοξενον, φιλαγαθον, σωφρονα, δικαιο», οσιον, εγκρατη.”
went (or came) into Macedonia.” And that he was in these parts, i.e. in this peninsula, when he wrote the Epistle to Titus, is rendered probable by his directing Titus to come to him to Nicopolis: “When I shall send Artemas unto thee, or Tychicus, be diligent (make haste) to come unto me to Nicopolis: for I have determined there to winter (ch. iii, 12). The most noted city of that name was in Epirus, near to Actium. And I think the form of speaking, as well as the nature of the case, renders it probable that the writer was at Nicopolis, or in the neighbourhood thereof, when he dictated this direction to Titus.
Upon the whole, if we may be allowed to suppose that St Paul, after his liberation at Rome, sailed into Asia, taking Crete in his way; that from Asia, and from Ephesus, the capital of that country, he proceeded into Macedonia, and crossing the peninsula in his progress, came into the neighbourhood of Nicopolis; we have a route which falls in with every thing. It executes the intention expressed by the Apostle of visiting Colosse and Philippi as soon as he should be set at liberty at Rome. It allows him to leave “ Titus at Crete,” and “'Timothy at Ephesus, as he went into Macedonia;" and to write to both not long after from the peninsula of Greece, and probably the neighbourhood of Nicopolis: thus bringing together the dates of these two letters, and thereby accounting for that affinity between them, both in subject and language, which our remarks have pointed out. I confess that the journey which we have thus traced out for St Paul, is in a great measure hypothetic: but it should be observed, that it is a species of consistency, which seldom belongs to falsehood, to admit of an hypothesis, which includes a great number of independent circumstances without contradiction.
THE EPISTLE TO PHILEMON.
The singular correspondency between this Epistle and that to the Colossians has been remarked already. An assertion in the
Epistle to the Colossians, viz. that Onesimus was one of them,” is verified, not by any mention of Colosse, any the most distant intimation concerning the place of Philemon's abode, but singly by stating Onesimus to be Philemon's servant, and by joining in the salutation Philemon with Archippus; for this Archippus, when we go back to the Epistle to the Colossians, appears to have been an inhabitant of that city, and, as it should seem, to have held an office of authority in that church. The case stands thus. Take the Epistle to the Colossians alone, and no circumstance is discoverable which makes out the assertion, that Onesimus was one of them.” Take the Epistle to Philemon alone, and nothing at all appears concerning the place to which Philemon or his servant
Onesimus belonged. For any
thing that is said in the Epistle, Philemon might have been a Thessalonian, a Philippian, or an Ephesian, as well as a Colossian. Put the two Epistles together, and the matter is clear. The reader perceives a junction of circumstances, which ascertains the conclusion at once. Now, all that is necessary to be added in this place is, that this correspondency evinces the genuineness of one Epistle, as well as of the other. It is like comparing the two parts of a cloven tally. Coincidence proves the authenticity of both.
No. II. And this coincidence is perfect; not only in the main article of showing, by implication, Onesimus to be a Colossian, but in many dependent circumstances.
1. “I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have sent again”-ver. 10–12). It appears from the Epistle to the Colossians, that, in truth, Onesimus was sent at that time to Colosse: “ All my state shall Tychicus declare, whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, with Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother.”_ Colos. ch. iv, 7-9.
2. “ I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds”—(ver. 10). It appears from the preceding quotation, that Onesimus was with St Paul when he wrote the Epistle to the Colossians; and that he wrote that Epistle in imprisonment is evident from his declaration in the fourth chapter and third verse: “ 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."
3. St Paul bids Philemon prepare for him a lodging: “ For I trust,” says he, " that through your prayers I shall be given
unto you.”. This agrees with the expectation of speedy deliverance, which he expressed in another Epistle written during the same imprisonment: “ Him (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." Phil. ch. ii, 23, 24.
4. As the letter to Philemon, and that to the Colossians, were written at the same time, and sent by the same messenger, the one to a particular inhabitant, the other to the church of Colosse, it may be expected that the same or nearly the same persons would be about St Paul, and join with him, as was the practice, in the salutations of the Epistle. Accordingly, we find the names of Aristarchus, Marcus, Epaphras, Luke, and Demas, in both Epistles. Timothy, who is joined with St Paul in the superscription of the Epistle to the Colossians, is joined with him in this. Tychicus did not salute Philemon, because he accompanied the Epistle to Colosse, and would undoubtedly there see him. Yet the reader of the Epistle to Philemon will remark one considerable diversity in the catalogue of saluting friends, and which shows that the catalogue was not copied from that to the Colossians. In the Epistle to the Colossians, Aristarchus is called by St Paul, his fellow-prisoner, Colos. chap. iv, 10; in the Epistle to Philemon, Aristarchus is mentioned without any addition, and the title of fellow-prisoner is given to Epaphras.*
And let it also be observed, that notwithstanding the close and circumstantial agreement between the two Epistles, this is not the case of an opening left in a genuine writing, which an impostor is induced to fill up; nor of a reference to some writing not extant, which sets a sophist at work to supply the loss, in like manner as, because St Paul was supposed (Colos. chap. iv, 16) to allude to an Epistle written by him to the Laodiceans, some person has from thence taken the hint of uttering a forgery under that title. The present, I say, is not that case; for Philemon's name is not mentioned in the Epistle to the Colossians; Onesimus's servile condition is no where hinted at, any more than his crime, his flight, or the place or time of his conversion. The story, therefore, of the Epistle,
* Dr Benson observes, and perhaps truly, that the appellation of fellow-prisoner, as applied by St Paul to Epaphras, did not imply that they were imprisoned together at the time; any more than your calling a person your fellow-traveller imports that you are then upon your travels. If he had, upon any former occasion, travelled with you, you might afterwards speak of him under that title. It is just so with the term fellow-prisoner.
if it be a fiction, is a fiction to which the author could not have been guided by any thing he had read in St Paul's genuine writings.
Ver. 4, 5, “I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers, hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints.”
Hearing of thy love and faith.” This is the form of speech which St Paul was wont to use towards those churches which he had not seen, or then visited: see Rom. chap. i, 8; Ephes. chap. i, 15; Col. chap. i, 3, 4. Toward those churches and persons, with whom he was previously acquainted, he employed a different phrase; as, “I thank my God always on your behalf,” (1 Cor. chap. i, 4; 2 Thess. chap. i, 3); or, "upon every remembrance of you,”) Phil. chap. i, 3; 1 Thess. chap. i, 2, 3; 2 Tim. chap. i, 3); and never speaks of hearing of them. Yet I think it must be concluded, from the nineteenth verse of this Epistle, that Philemon had been converted by St Paul himself: “ Albeit, I do not say to thee how thou owest unto me even thine own self besides.” Here then is a peculiarity. Let us inquire whether the Epistle supplies any circumstance which will account for it. We have seen that it may be made out, not from the Epistle itself, but from a comparison of the Epistle with that to the Colossians, that Philemon was an inhabitant of Colosse: and it farther appears, from the Epistle to the Colossians, that St Paul had never been in that city: “I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh," Col. ch. ii, 1. Although, therefore, St Paul had formerly met with Philemon at some other place, and had been the immediate instrument of his conversion, yet Philemon's faith and conduct afterwards, inasmuch as he lived in a city which St Paul had never visited, could only be known to him by fame and reputation.
The tenderness and delicacy of this Epistle have long been admired : “Though I might be much bold in Christ to enjoin thee that which is convenient, yet for love's sake I rather beseech thee, being such an one as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ; I beseech thee for my son Onesi