« AnteriorContinuar »
Phabe a servant of the church at Cenchrea,"
If the passage in the epistle was taken from that in the Acts, why was Spain put in? If the passage in the Acts was taken from that in the epistle, why was Spain left out? If the two passages were unknown to each other, nothing can account for their conformity but truth. Whether we suppose the history and the epistle to be alike fictitious, or the history to be true but the letter spurious, or the letter to be genuine but the history a fable, the meeting with this circumstance in both, if neither borrowed it from the other, is upon all these suppositions equally inexplicable.
Chap. i. 13. "Now I would not have you ig norant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, but was let hitherto, that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles." Again, xv. 23, 24: "But now having no more place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years (AA, oftentimes,) to come unto you, whensoever I take my journey into Spain I will come to you; for I trust to see you in my journey, and to be brought on my way thitherward by you: but now I go up unto Jerusalem to minister to the saints. When, therefore, I have performed this, and have sealed to them this fruit, I will come by you into Spain."
With these passages compare Acts xix. 21. "After these things were ended, (viz. at Ephesus,) Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem; saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome."
The following quotation I offer for the purpose of pointing out a geographical coincidence, of so much importance, that Dr. Lardner considered it as a confirmation of the whole history of St. Paul's travels.
Let it be observed that our epistle purports to have been written at the conclusion of St. Paul's second journey into Greece: that the quotation from the Acts contains words said to have been spoken by St. Paul at Ephesus, some time before he set forwards upon that journey. Now I contend that it is impossible that two independent
fictions should have attributed to St. Paul the same purpose, especially a purpose so specific and particular as this, which was not merely a general design of visiting Rome after he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, and after he had performed a voyage from these countries to Jerusalem. The conformity between the history and the epistle is perfect. In the first quotation from the epistle, we find that a design of visiting Rome had long dwelt in the apostle's mind: in the quotation from the Acts, we find that design expressed a considerable time before the epistle was written. In the history, we find that the plan which St. Paul had formed was, to pass through Macedonia and Achaia; after that to go to Jerusalem; and when he had finished his visit there, to sail for Rome. When the epistle was written, he had executed so much of his plan, as to have passed through Macedonia and Achaia; and was preparing to pursue the remainder of it, by speedily setting out towards Jerusalem: and in this point of his travels he tells his friends at Rome, that, when he had completed the business which carried him to Jerusalem, he would come to them. Secondly, I say, that the very inspection of the passages will satisfy us that they were not made up from one another.
"Whensoever I take my journey into Spain, I will come to you; for I trust to see you in my journey, and to be brought on my way thitherward by you; but now I go up to Jerusalem to minister to the saints. When, therefore, I have performed this, and have sealed to them this fruit, I will come by you into Spain."-This from the epistle. Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem: saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome."-This from the Acts.
Chap. xv. 19. "So that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the Gospel of Christ."
I do not think that these words necessarily import that St. Paul had penetrated into Illyricum, or preached the Gospel in that province; but rather that he had come to the confines of Illyricum, (xes T8 IAAvex,) and that these confines were the external boundary of his travels. St. Paul considers Jerusalem as the centre, and is here viewing the circumference to which his travels extended. The form of expression in the original conveys this idea—απο Ιερεσαλήμ και κύκλω μέχρι TH IAAURIS. Illyricum was the part of this circle which he mentions in an epistle to the Romans, because it lay in a direction from Jerusalem towards that city, and pointed out to the Roman readers the nearest place to them, to which his travels from Jerusalem had brought him. The name of Illyricum nowhere occurs in the Acts of the Apostles; no suspicion, therefore can be received that the mention of it was borrowed from thence. Yet I think it appears, from these same Acts, that St. Paul, before the time when he wrote his Epistle to the Romans, had reached the confines of Illyricum; or, however, that he might have done so, in perfect consistency with the account there delivered. Illyricum adjoins upon Macedonia; measuring from Jerusalem towards Rome, it lies close behind it. If, therefore, St. Paul traversed the whole country of Macedonia, the route would necessarily bring him to the confines of Illyricum, and these confines would be described as the extremity of his journey. Now the account of St. Paul's second visit to the peninsula of Greece, is contained in these words: "He departed for to go into Macedonia; and when he had gone over these parts, and had given them much exhortation, he came into Greece." Acts xx. 2. This account allows, or rather leads us to suppose, that St. Paul, in going To μsen xv,) had passed over Macedonia (Sv so far to the west, as to come into those parts of the country which were contiguous to Illyricum, if he did not enter into Illyricum itself. The history, therefore, and the epistle so far agree, and the agreement is much strengthened by a coincidence of time. At the time the epistle was written, St. Paul might say, in conformity with the history, that he had "come into Illyricum;" much before that time, he could not have said so; for, upon his former journey to Macedonia, his route
is laid down from the time of his landing at Phi- | maining part of it at Tyre, xxi. 4; and afterwards lippi to his sailing from Corinth. We trace him from Agabus at Cæsarea, xxi. 11. from Philippi to Amphipolis and Apollonia; from thence to Thessalonica; from Thessalonica to Berea; from Berea to Athens; and from Athens to Corinth which tract confines him to the eastern side of the peninsula, and therefore keeps him
There is another strong remark arising from the same passage in the epistle; to make which understood, it will be necessary to state the pas
ricum. Upon his second visit to Macedonia, the history, we have seen, leaves him at liberty. It must have been, therefore, upon that second visit, if at all, that he approached Illyricum; and this visit, we know, almost immediately preceded the writing of the epistle. It was natural that the apostle should refer to a journey which was fresh in his thoughts.
all the while at a considerable distance from Illy-sage over again, and somewhat more at length. "I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me, that I may be delivered from them that do not believe, in Judæa-that I may come unto you with joy by the will of God, and may with you be refreshed."
I desire the reader to call to mind that part of St. Paul's history which took place after his arrival at Jerusalem, and which employs the seven last chapters of the Acts; and I build upon it this observation-that supposing the Epistle to the Romans to have been a forgery, and the author
Chap. xv. 30. "Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in
to God for that I be de- of the to have had the Acts of the livered from them that do not believe, in Judæa."-tles before him, and to have there seen that St. With this compare Acts xx. 22, 23: Paul, in fact, "was not delivered from the unbelieving Jews," but on the contrary, that he was taken into custody at Jerusalem, and brought to Rome a prisoner-it is next to impossible that he should have made St. Paul express expectations so contrary to what he saw had been the event; and utter prayers, with apparent hopes of success, which he must have known were frustrated in the issue.
"And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there, save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me."
It also convinces me that the epistle was written not only in St. Paul's life-time, but before he arrived at Jerusalem; for the important events relating to him which took place after his arrival at that city, must have been known to the Christian community soon after they happened: they form the most public part of his history. But had they been known to the author of the epistle-in other words, had they then taken placethe passage which we have quoted from the epistle would not have been found there.
Let it be remarked, that it is the same journey to Jerusalem which is spoken of in these two passages; that the epistle was written immediately before St. Paul set forwards upon this journey This single consideration convinces me, that from Achaia; that the words in the Acts were no concert or confederacy whatever subsisted beuttered by him when he had proceeded in that tween the Epistle and the Acts of the Apostles; journey as far as Miletus, in Lesser Asia. This and that whatever coincidences have been or can being remembered, I observe that the two pas-be pointed out between them, are unsophisticated, sages, without any resemblance between them and are the result of truth and reality. that could induce us to suspect that they were borrowed from one another, represent the state of St. Paul's mind, with respect to the event of the journey, in terms of substantial agreement. They both express his sense of danger in the approaching visit to Jerusalem: they both express the doubt which dwelt upon his thoughts concerning what might there befall him. When, in his epistle, he entreats the Roman Christians, "for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, to strive together with him in their prayers to God for him, that he might be delivered from them which do not believe, in Judæa," he sufficiently confesses his fears. In the Acts of the Apostles we see in him the same apprehensions, and the same uncertainty: "I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there." The only difference is, that in the history his thoughts are more inclined to despondency than in the epistle. In the epistle he retains his hope that he should come unto them with joy by the will of God:" in the history, his mind yields to the reflection, "that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city that bonds and afflictions awaited him." Now that his fears should be greater, and his hopes less, in this stage of his journey than when he wrote his epistle, that is, when he first set out upon it, is no other alteration than might well be expected; since those prophetic intimations to which he refers, when he says, "the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city," had probably been received by him in the course of his journey, and were probably
I now proceed to state the conformity which exists between the argument of this epistle and the history of its reputed author. It is enough for this purpose to observe, that the object of the epistle, that is, of the argumentative part of it, was to place the Gentile convert upon a parity of situation with the Jewish, in respect of his religious condition, and his rank in the divine favour. The epistle supports this point by a variety of arguments; such as, that no man of either description was justified by the works of the lawfor this plain reason, that no man had performed them; that it became therefore necessary to appoint another medium or condition of justification, in which new medium the Jewish peculiarity was merged and lost; that Abraham's own justification was anterior to the law, and independent of it: that the Jewish converts were to consider the law as now dead, and themselves as married to another; that what the law in truth could not do,
similar to what we know he received in the re-in that it was weak through the flesh, God had
Another adaptation, and somewhat of the same kind, is the following:
done by sending his Son; that God had rejected brethren, that the gospel which was preached of the unbelieving Jews, and had substituted in their me, is not after man; for I neither received it of place a society of believers in Christ, collected in- man, neither was I taught it but by the revelation differently from Jews and Gentiles. Soon after of Jesus Christ."-ch. i. 11, 12. "I am afraid, the writing of this epistle, St. Paul, agreeably to lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain."the intention intimated in the epistle itself, took iv. 11, 12. "I desire to be present with you now, his journey to Jerusalem. The day after he ar- for I stand in doubt of you."-iv. 20. "Behold, I, rived there, he was introduced to the church. Paul, say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, What passed at this interview is thus related, Christ shall profit you nothing."-v. 2. "This Acts xxi. 19: "When he had saluted them, he de- persuasion cometh not of him that called you."— clared particularly what things God had wrought v. 8. This is the style in which he accosts the among the Gentiles by his ministry and when Galatians. In the epistle to the converts of Rome, they heard it, they glorified the Lord: and said where his authority was not established, nor his unto him, thou seest, brother, how many thou- person known, he puts the same points entirely sands of Jews there are which believe; and they upon argument. The perusal of the epistle will are all zealous of the law; and they are informed prove this to the satisfaction of every reader: and, of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are as the observation relates to the whole contents of among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying, that the epistle, I forbear adducing separate extracts. they ought not to circumcise their children, nei- I repeat, therefore, that we have pointed out a disther to walk after the customs." St. Paul distinction in the two epistles, suited to the relation claimed the charge: but there must have been in which the author stood to his different corressomething to have led to it. Now it is only to pondents. suppose that St. Paul openly professed the principles which the epistle contains; that, in the course of his ministry, he had uttered the senti- 2. The Jews, we know, were very numerous ments which he is here made to write: and the at Rome, and probably formed a principal part matter is accounted for. Concerning the accusa-amongst the new converts; so much so, that the tion which public rumour had brought against Christians seem to have been known at Rome him to Jerusalem, I will not say that it was just; rather as a denomination of Jews, than as any but I will say, that if he was the author of the thing else. In an epistle consequently to the Ro epistle before us, and if his preaching was con- man believers, the point to be endeavoured after sistent with his writing, it was extremely natural: by St. Paul was to reconcile the Jewish converts for though it be not a necessary, surely it is an to the opinion, that the Gentiles were admitted by easy inference, that if the Gentile convert, who God to a parity of religious situation with themdid not observe the law of Moses, held as advan- selves, and that without their being bound by the tageous a situation in his religious interests as the law of Moses. The Gentile converts would proJewish convert who did, there could be no strong bably accede to this opinion very readily. In this reason for observing that law at all. The re- epistle, therefore, though directed to the Roman monstrance therefore of the church of Jerusalem, church in general, it is in truth a Jew writing to and the report which occasioned it, were founded Jews. Accordingly you will take notice, that as in no very violent misconstruction of the apostle's often as his argument leads him to say any thing doctrine. His reception at Jerusalem was exactly derogatory from the Jewish institution, he conwhat I should have expected the author of this stantly follows it by a softening clause. Having epistle to have met with. I am entitled therefore (ii. 28, 29,) pronounced, not much perhaps to the to argue, that a separate narrative of effects ex- satisfaction of the native Jews, "that he is not a perienced by St. Paul, similar to what a person Jew which is one outwardly, neither that circummight be expected to experience who held the cision which is outward in the flesh:" he adds doctrines advanced in this epistle, forms a proof immediately, "What advantage then hath the that he did hold these doctrines; and that the Jew, or what profit is there in circumcision? epistle bearing his name, in which such doctrines Much every way." Having, in the third chapter, are laid down, actually proceeded from him. ver. 28, brought his argument to this formal conclusion, "that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law," he presently subjoins, ver. 31, "Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid! Yea, we establish the law." In the seventh chapter, when in the sixth verse he had advanced the bold assertion, "that now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held;" in the very next verse he comes in with this healing question, "What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? God forbid! Nay, I had not known sin but by the law. Having in the following words insinuated, or rather more than insinuated, the inefficacy of the Jewish law, viii. 3, " for what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh :" after a digression indeed, but that sort of a digression which he could never resist, a rapturous contemplation of his Christian hope, and which occupies the latter part of this chapter; we find him in the
This number is supplemental to the former. I propose to point out in it two particulars in the conduct of the argument, perfectly adapted to the historical circumstances under which the epistle was written; which yet are free from all appearance of contrivance, and which it would not, I think, have entered into the mind of a sophist
1. The Epistle to the Galatians relates to the same general question as the Epistle to the Romans. St. Paul had founded the church of Galatia; at Rome, he had never been. Observe now a difference in his manner of treating of the same subject, corresponding with this difference in his situation. In the Epistle to the Galatians he puts the point in a great measure upon authority: "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ, unto another Gospel.”—Gal. i. 6. “I certify you,
next, as if sensible that he had said something which would give offence, returning to his Jewish brethren in terms of the warmest affection and respect: "I say the truth in Christ Jesus; I lie not; my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart; for I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ, for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; whose are the fathers; and of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came." When, in the thirty-first and thirty-second verses of this ninth chapter, he represented to the Jews the error of even the best of their nation, by telling them that "Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, had not attained to the law of righteousness, because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law, for they stumbled at that stumbling stone," he takes care to annex to this declaration these conciliating expressions: "Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved; for I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge." Lastly, having ch. x. 20, 21, by the application of a passage in Isaiah, insinuated the most ungrateful of all propositions to a Jewish ear, the rejection of the Jewish nation, as God's peculiar people; he hastens, as it were, to qualify the intelligence of their fall by this interesting expostulation: "I say, then, hath God cast away his people, (i. e. wholly and entirely?") God forbid! for I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people, But this is not the only nor the principal observawhich he foreknew;" and follows this thought, tion upon the correspondence between the church throughout the whole of the eleventh chapter, in of Corinth and their apostle, which I wish to a series of reflections calculated to soothe the Jew-point out. It appears, I think, in this correspondish converts, as well as to procure from their Gen-ence, that although the Corinthians had written tile brethren respect to the Jewish institution. to St. Paul, requesting his answer and his direcNow all this is perfectly natural. In a real St. tions in the several points above enumerated, yet Paul, writing to real converts, it is what anxiety that they had not said one syllable about the to bring them over to his persuasion would na- enormities and disorders which had crept in turally produce; but there is an earnestness and amongst them, and in the blame of which they all a personality, if I may so call it, in the manner, shared; but that St. Paul's information concernwhich a cold forgery, I apprehend, would neither ing the irregularities then prevailing at Corinth have conceived nor supported. had come round to him from other quarters. The quarrels and disputes excited by their contentious adherence to their different teachers, and by their placing of them in competition with one another, were not mentioned in their letter, but communicated to St. Paul by more private intelligence: "It hath been declared unto me, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas, and I of Christ." (i. 11, 12.) The incestuous marriage "of a man with his father's wife," which St. Paul reprehends with so much severity in the fifth chapter of our epistle, and which was not the crime of an individual only, but a crime in which the whole church, by tolerating and conniving at it, had rendered themselves partakers, did not come to St. Paul's knowledge by the letter, but by a rumour which had reached his ears: "It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife; and ye are puffed up, and have not
The First Epistle to the Corinthians.
BEFORE we proceed to compare this epistle with the history, or with any other epistle, we will employ one number in stating certain remarks applicable to our argument, which arise from a perusal of the epistle itself.
By an expression in the first verse of the seventh chapter, "now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me," it appears, that this letter to the Corinthians was written by St. Paul in answer to one which he had received from them; and that the seventh, and some of the following chapters, are taken up in resolving certain doubts, and regulating certain points of order, concerning which the Corinthians had in their letter consulted him. This alone is a circum
stance considerably in favour of the authenticity
rather mourned that he that hath done this deed Ephesus at the time, and in the midst of those
Our epistle purports to have been written after St. Paul had already been at Corinth: "I, brethren, when I came unto you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom," (ii. 1,) and in many other places to the same effect. It purports also to have been written upon the eve of another visit to that church: "I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will," (iv. 19;) and again, "I will come to you when I shall pass through Macedonia," (xvi. 5.) Now the history relates that St. Paul did in fact visit Corinth twice: once as recorded at length in the eighteenth, and a second time as mentioned briefly in the twentieth chapter of the Acts. The same history also informs us, (Acts xx. 1,) that it was from Ephesus St. Paul proceeded upon his second journey into Greece. Therefore, as the epistle purports to have been written a short time that and as St. Paul, the history tells us, had resided more than two years at Ephesus, before he set out upon it, it follows that it must have been from Ephesus, to be consistent with the history, that the epistle was written; and every note of place in the epistle agrees with this supposition. "If, after the manner of men, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not?" (xv. 32.) I allow that the apostle might say this, wherever he was; but it was more natural and more to the purpose to say it, if he was at Ꮓ
Chap. iv. 17-19. "For this cause I have sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church. Now some are puffed up, as though I would not come unto you; but I will come unto you shortly, if the Lord will."
With this I compare Acts xix. 21, 22: "After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to to have been there, I must also see Rome; so he sent unto Macedonia two of them that ministered unto him, Timotheus and Erastus."
Though it be not said, it appears, I think, with sufficient certainty, I mean from the history, independently of the epistle, that Timothy was sent upon this occasion into Achaia, of which Corinth was the capital city, as well as into Macedonia: for the sending of Timothy and Erastus is, in the passage where it is mentioned, plainly connected with St. Paul's own journey: he sent them before