Billeder på siden

the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought ; for by their occupation they were tent-makers.” But, in the text before us, he is made to say, that “he laboured eren unto the present hour," that is, to the time of writing the epistle at Ephesus. Now, in the narration of St. Paul's transactions at Ephesus, delivered in the nineteenth chapter of the Acts, nothing is said of his working with his own hands; but in the twentieth chapter we read, that upon his return from Greece, he sent for the elders of the church of Ephesus to meet him at Miletus; and in the discourse which he there addressed to them, amidst some other reflections which he calls to their remembrance, we find the following: “I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel; yea, you yourselves also know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me." The reader will not forget to remark, that though St. Paul be now at Miletus, it is to the elders of the church of Ephesus he is speaking, when he says, “ Ye yourselves know that these hands have ministered unto my necessities ;” and that the whole discourse relates to his conduct during his last preceding residence at Ephesus. That manual labour, therefore, which he had exercised at Corinth, he continued at Ephesus; and not only so, but continued it during that particular residence at Ephesus, near the conclusion of which this epistle was written; so that he might with the strictest truth say at the time of writing the epistle,

“ Even unto this present hour we labour, working with our own hands.” The correspondency is sufficient, then, as to the undesignedness of it. It is manifest to my judgement, that if the history, in this article, had been taken from the epistle, this circumstance, if it appeared at all, would have appeared in its place, that is, in the direct account of St. Paul's transactions at Ephesus. The correspondency would not have been effected, as it is, by a kind of reflected stroke, that is, by a reference in a subsequent speech, to what in the narrative was omitted. Nor is it likely, on the other hand, that a circumstance which is not extant in the history of St. Paul at Ephesus should have been made the subject of a factitious allusion, in an epistle purporting to be written by him from that place; not to mention that the allusion itself, especially as to time, is too oblique and general to answer any purpose of forgery whatever.

No. VII. Chap. ix. 20. “And unto the Jews, I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law."

We have the disposition here described, exemplified in two instances which the history records ; one, Acts, xvi. 3: “ Him (Timothy) would Paul have to go forth with him, and took and circumcised him, because of the Jews in those quarters; for they knew all that his father was a Greek.” This was before the writing of the epistle. The other, Acts, xxi. 23. 26, and after the writing of the epistle : “Do this that we say to thee; we have four men which have a vow on them : them take, and purify thyself with them, that they may shave their heads ; and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing ; but

that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law.—Then Paul took the men, and the next day, purifying himself with them, entered into the temple.Nor does this concurrence between the character and the instances look like the result of contrivance. St. Paul, in the epistle, describes, or is made to describe, his own accommodating conduct towards Jews and towards Gentiles, towards the weak and over-scrupulous, towards men indeed of every variety of character; “to them that are without law as without law, being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ, that I might gain them that are without law; to the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak; I am made all things to all men, that I might gain some.” This is the sequel of the text which stands at the head of the present number. Taking therefore the whole passage together, the apostle's condescension to the Jews is mentioned only as a part of his general disposition towards all. It is not probable that this character should have been made up from the instances in the Acts, which relate solely to his dealings with the Jews. It is not probable that a sophist should take his hint from those instances, and then extend it so much beyond them: and it is still more incredible that the two instances, in the Acts, circumstantially related and interwoven with the history, should have been fabricated in order to suit the character which St. Paul gives of himself in the epistle.


Chap. i. 14—17. “I thank God that I baptised none of you but Crispus and Gaius, lest any should say that I baptised in my own name ; and I baptised also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other; for Christ sent me not to baptise, but to preach the Gospel.”

It may be expected that those whom the apostle baptised with his own hands, were converts distinguished from the rest by some circumstance, either of eminence, or of connexion with him. Accordingly, of the three names here mentioned, Crispus, we find, from Acts, xviii. 8, was a “chief ruler of the Jewish synagogue at Corinth, who believed in the Lord, with all his house." Gaius, it appears from Romans, xvi. 23, was St. Paul's host at Corinth, and the host, he tells us, “ of the whole church.” The household of Stephanas, we read in the sixteenth chapter of this epistle, “were the first fruits of Achaia.” Here therefore is the propriety we expected: and it is a proof of reality not to be contemned; for their names appearing in the several places in which they occur, with a mark of distinction belonging to each, could hardly be the effect of chance, without any truth to direct it: and on the other hand, to suppose that they were picked out from these passages, and brought together in the text before us, in order to display a conformity of names, is both improbable in itself, and is rendered more so by the purpose for which they are introduced. They come in to assist St. Paul's exculpation of himself, against the possible charge of having assumed the character of the founder of a separate religion, and with no other visible, or, as I think, imaginable design *.

*Chap. i. 1. “Paul called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ, through the will of God, and Sosthenes, our brother, unto the

No. IX.

Chap. xvi. 10, 11. “Now, if Timotheus come, let no man despise him.”- Why despise him? This

church of God which is at Corinth.” The only account we have of any person who bore the name of Sosthenes, is found in the eighteenth chapter of the Acts. When the Jews at Corinth had brought Paul before Gallio, and Gallio had dismissed their complaint as unworthy of his interference, and had driven them from the judgment-seat, “then all the Greeks," says the historian, “took Sosthenes, the chief ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment-seat.” The Sosthenes here spoken of was a Corinthian; and, if he was a Christian, and with St. Paul when he wrote this epistle, was likely enough to be joined with him in the salutation of the Corinthian church. But here occurs a difficulty. If Sosthenes was a Christian at the time of this uproar, why should the Greeks beat him? The assault upon

the Christians was made by the Jews. It was the Jews who had brought Paul before the magistrate. If it had been the Jews also who had beaten Sosthenes, I should not have doubted but that he had been a favourer of St. Paul, and the same person who is joined with him in the epistle. Let us see therefore whether there be not some error in our present text. The Alexandrian manuscript gives wartes alone, without oi 'Eanques, and it is followed in this reading by the Coptic version, by the Arabian version, published by Erpenius, by the Vulgate, and by Bede's Latin version. The Greek manuscripts again, as well as Chrysostom, give oi Ioudali, in the place of oi 'Enques. A great plurality of manuscripts au

orise the reading which is retained in our copies. In this variety it appears to me extremely probable that the historian originally wrote τσαντες alone, and that οι Ελληνες and δι Ιουδαιοι have been respectively added as explanatory of what the word TANTES was supposed to mean. The sentence, without the ad. dition of either name, would run very perspicuously thus, απηλασεν αυτους απο του βηματος επιλαζομενοι δε σαντες Σωσθενην τον αρχισυναγωγον, ετυωτον εμπροσθεν του βηματος and he drove them away from the judgment-seat; and they all,” viz. the crowd of Jews whom the judge had bid begone, "took Sosthenes,


« ForrigeFortsæt »