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mus, whom I have begotten in my bonds." There is something certainly very melting and persuasive in this, and every part of the Epistle. Yet, in my opinion, the character of St Paul prevails in it throughout. The warm, affectionate, authoritative teacher, is interceding with an absent friend for a beloved convert. He urges his suit with an earnestness, befitting, perhaps, not so much the occasion, as the ardour and sensibility of his own mind. Here also, as every where, he shows himself conscious of the weight and dignity of his mission; nor does he suffer Philemon for a moment to forget it: “ I might be much bold in Christ to enjoin thee that which is convenient.” He is careful also to recall
, though obliquely, to Philemon's memory, the sacred obligation under which he had laid him, by bringing to him the knowledge of Jesus Chsist: “I do not say to thee how thou owest to me even thine own self besides.” Without laying aside, therefore, the apostolic character, our author softens the imperative style of his address, by mixing with it every sentiment and consideration that could move the heart of his correspondent. Aged and in prison, he is content to supplicate and entreat. Onesimus was rendered dear to him by his conversion, and his services: the child of his affliction, and “ministering unto him in the bonds of the Gospel.” This ought to recommend him, whatever had been his fault, to Philemon's forgiveness: “Receive him as myself, as my own bowels.” Every thing, however, should be voluntary. St Paul was determined that Philemon's compliance should flow from his own bounty: “Without thy mind would I do nothing, that thy benefit should not be as it were of necessity, but wil. lingly;" trusting nevertheless to his gratitude and attachment for the performance of all that he requested, and for more: “Having confidence in thy obedience, I wrote unto thee, knowing that thou wilt also do more than I say."
St Paul's discourse at Miletus; his speech before Agrippa; his Epistle to the Romans, as hath been remarked (No. VIII.); that to the Galatians, chap. iv, 11-20; to the Philippians, chap. i, 29, chap. ii, 2; the Second to the Corinthians, chap. vi, 1-13; and indeed some part or other of almost every Epistle, exhibit examples of a similar application to the feel ings and affections of the persons whom he addresses. And it is observable, that these pathetic effusions, drawn for the most part from his own sufferings and situation, usually precede a command, soften a rebuke, or mitigate the harshness of some disagreeable truth.
THE SUBSCRIPTIONS OF THE EPISTLES.
Sıx of these subscriptions are false or improbable; that is, they are either absolutely contradicted by the contents of the Epistle, or are difficult to be reconciled with them.
I. The subscription of the First Epistle to the Corinthians sta tes that it was written from Philippi, notwithstanding that, in the sixteenth chapter and eighth verse of the Epistle, St Paul informs the Corinthians that he will “tarry at Ephesus un til Pentecost;" and notwithstanding that he begins the salutations in the Epistle by telling them “the churches of Asia salute you;" a pretty evident indication that he himself was in Asia at this time.
II. The Epistle to the Galatians is by the subscription dated from Rome; yet, in the Epistle itself, St Paul expresses his surprise that they were so soon removing from him that called them;" whereas his journey to Rome was ten years posterior to the conversion of the Galatians. And what, I think, is more conclusive, the author, though speaking of himself in this more than any other Epistle, does not once mention his bonds, or call himself a prisoner; which he had not failed to do in every one of the four Epistles written from that city, and during that imprisonment.
III. The first Epistle to the Thessalonians was written, the subscription tells us, from Athens; yet the Epistle refers expressly
to the coming of Timotheus from Thessalonica (ch. iii, 6); and the history informs us, Acts xviii, 5, that Timothy came out of Macedonia to St Paul at Corinth.
IV. The Second Epistle to the Thessalonians is dated, and without
any discoverable reason, from Athens also. If it be truly the Second; if it refer, as it appears to do (chap. ii, 2), to the first, and the first was written from Corinth, the place must be erroneously assigned, for the history does not allow us to suppose that St Paul, after he had reached Corinth, went back to Athens.
V. The First Epistle to Timothy the subscription asserts to have been sent from Laodicea; yet when St Paul writes, “I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, πορευομενος εις Μακεδονια (when I set out for Macedonia),” the reader is naturally led to conclude that he wrote the letter upon his arrival in that country.
VI.' The Epistle to Titus is dated from Nicopolis in Macedonia, whilst no city of that name is known to have existed in that province.
The use, and the only use, which I make of these observations, is to show how easily errors and contradictions steal in where the writer is not guided by original knowledge. There are only eleven distinct assignments of date to St Paul's Epistles (for the four written from Rome may be considered as plainly cotemporary); and of these, six seem to be erroneous. I do not attribute any authority to these subscriptions. I believe them to have been conjectures founded sometimes upon loose traditions, but more generally upon a consideration of some particular text, without sufficiently comparing it with other parts of the Epistle, with different Epistles, or with the history, Suppose then, that the subscriptions had come down to us as authentic parts of the Epistles, there would have been more contrarieties and difficulties arising out of these final verses, than from all the rest of the volume. Yet, if the Epistles had been forged, the whole must have been made up of the same elements as those of which the subscriptions are composed, viz. tradition, conjecture, and inference; and it would have remained to be accounted for, how, whilst so many errors were crowded into the concluding clauses of the letters, so much consistency should be preserved in other parts.
The same reflection arises from observing the oversights and mistakes which learned men have committed, when arguing upon allusions which relate to time and place, or when endeavouring to digest scattered circumstances into a continued story. It is indeed the same case; for these subscriptions must be regarded as ancient scholia, and as nothing more.
Of this liability to error I can present the reader with a notable instance; and which I bring forward for no other purpose than that to which I apply the erroneous subscriptions. Ludovicus Capellus, in that part of his Historia Apostolica Illustrata, which is entitled De Ordine Epist. Paul., writing upon the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, triumphs unmercifully over the want of sagacity in Baronius, who, it seems, makes St Paul write his Epistle to Titus from Macedonia upon his second visit into that province; whereas it appears from the history, that Titus, instead of being at Crete, where the Epistle places him, was at that time sent by the Apostle from Macedonia to Corinth. “ Animadvertere est,” says Capellus, “ magnam hominis illius «Causfrau, qui vult Titum a Paulo in Cretam abductum, illicque relictum, cum inde Nicopolim navigaret, quem tamen agnoscit a Paulo ex Macedoniâ missum esse Corinthum.” This probably will be thought a detection of inconsistency in Baronius. But what is the most remarkable is, that in the same chapter in which he thus indulges his contempt of Baronius' judgment, Capellus himself falls into an error of the same kind, and more gross and palpable than that which he reproves. For he begins the chapter by stating the Second Epistle to the Corinthians and the First Epistle to Timothy to be nearly cotemporary; to have been both written during the Apostle's second visit into Macedonia; and that a doubt subsisted concerning the immediate priority of their dates: “ Posterior ad eosdem Corinthios Epistola, et Prior ad Timotheum certant de prioritate, et sub judice lis est; utraque autem scripta est paulo postquam Paulus Epheso discessisset, adeoque dum Macedoniam peragraret, sed utra tempore præcedat, non liquet.” Now, in the first place, it is highly improbable that the two Epistles should have been written either nearly together, or during the same journey through Macedonia; for, in the Epistle to the Corinthians, Timothy appears to have been with St Paul; in the Epistle addressed to him, to have been left behind at Ephesus, and not only left behind, but directed to continue there, till St Paul should return to that city. In the second place, it is inconceivable that a question should be proposed concerning the priority of date of the two Epistles; for, when St Paul, in his Epistle to Timothy, opens his address to him by saying, I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus when I went into Macedonia," no reader can doubt but that he here refers to the last interview which had passed between them; that he had not seen him since: whereas, if the Epistle be posterior to that to the Corinthians, yet written upon the same visit into Macedonia, this could not be true; for as Timothy was along with St Paul when he wrote to the Corinthians, he must, upon this supposition, have passed over to St Paul in Macedonia, after he had been left by him at Ephesus, and must have returned to Ephesus again before the Epistle was written. What misled Ludovicus Capellus was simply this--that he had entirely overlooked Timothy's name in the superscription of the Second Epistle to the Corinthians. Which oversight appears not only in the quotation which we have given, but from his telling us, as he does, that Timothy came from Ephesus to St Paul at Corinth, whereas the superscription proves that Timothy was already with St Paul when he wrote to the Corinthians from Macedonia.
In the outset of this inquiry, the reader was directed to consider the Acts of the Apostles, and the thirteen Epistles of St Paul, as certain ancient manuscripts lately discovered in the closet of some celebrated library. We have adhered to this view of the subject. External evidence of every kind has been removed out of sight; and our endeavours have been employed to collect the indications of truth and authenticity, which appeared to exist in the writings themselves, and to result from a comparison of their different parts. It is not, however, necessary to continue this supposition longer. The testimony which other remains of cotemporary, or the monuments of adjoining, ages afford to the reception, notoriety, and public estimation of a book, form, no doubt, the first proof of its genuineness. And in no books whatever is this proof more complete, than in those at present under our consideration. The inquiries of learned men, and, above all, of the excellent Lardner, who never overstates a point of evidence, and whose fidelity in citing his authorities has in no one instance been impeached, have established, concerning these writings, the following propositions:
I. That in the age immediately posterior to that in which St Paul lived, his letters were publicly read and acknowledged.
Some of them are quoted or alluded to by almost every Christian writer that followed, by Clement of Rome, by Hermas, by Ignatius, by Polycarp, disciples or cotemporaries of the Apostles; by Justin Martyr, by the churches of Gaul, by