Obrazy na stronie

“nor with tumult, who ought to have been “ here before thee, and object, if they had ought against me.”

Acts xxiv. 17-19 This mention of alms and offerings certainly brings the narrative in the Acts nearer to an accordancy with the epistle; yet no one, I am persuaded, will suspect that this clause was put into St. Paul's defence, either to supply the omission in the preceding narrative, or with any view to such accordancy. After all, nothing is yet

said or hinted concerning the place of the contribution"; nothing concerning Macedonia and Achaia. Turn therefore to the first epistle to the Corinthians, chap. xvi. ver. 1-4, and you have St. Paul delivering the following directions : 66 Concerning the collection for “ the faints, as I have given orders to the 66 churches of Galatia, even fo do ye : upon - the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store as God hath

prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.

And when I come, “ whomsoever you shall approye by your « letters, them will I send to bring your " liberality unto Jerusalem ; and if it be



[ocr errors]

meet that I
go also, they shall


with " me.” In this passage we find a contribution carrying on at Corinth, the capital of Achaia, for the Christians of Jerusalem ; we sind also a hint given of the possibility of St. Paul going up to Jerusalem hímself, after he had paid his visit into Achaia: but this is spoken of rather as a possibility than as any settled intention ; for his first thought was, " Whomsoever


approve by your letters, them will I send to.

bring your liberality to Jerusalem :" and, in the sixth verse he adds,

66 bring me on my journey whithersoever I

go.” This epistle purports to be written after St. Paul had been at Corinth; for it refers throughout to what he had done and said amongst them whilst he was there. The expression therefore, “When I come,” must relate to a second visit ; against which visit the contribution spoken of was desired to be in readiness.

But though the contribution in Achaia be expressly mentioned, nothing is here said concerning any contribution in Macedonia. Turn therefore, in the third place,

[ocr errors]


you to

to the second Epistle to the Corinthians, chap. viii. ver. 1-4, and you

will discover the particular which remains to be fought for : “ Moreover, brethren, we do “ wit of the grace of God bestowed on the “ churches of Macedonia; how that, in a great “ trial of affliction, the abundance of their “ joy and their deep poverty abounded unto “ the riches of their liberality; for to their

power I bear record, yea, and beyond 66 their

power, they were willing of them$ selves; praying us, with much entreaty, " that we would receive the gift, and take

upon us the fellowship of the ministering

to the saints." To which add chap. ix. ver. 2 : “ I know the forwardness of your “ mind, for which I boast of you to them “ of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a

year ago." In this epistle we find St. Paul advanced as far as Macedonia, upon that second visit to Corinth which he promised in his former epistle ; we find also, in the passages now quoted from it, that a contribution was going on in Macedonia at the same time with, or foon however following, the contribution which was made in Achaia ; but for whom the contribution was made does not appear in this epistle at all: that information must be supplied from the first epistle.

Here therefore, at length, but fetched from three different writings, we have obtained the several circumstances we enquired after, and which the Epistle to the Romans brings together, viz, a contribution in A haia for the Christians of Jerusalem ; a contribution in Macedonia for the same; and an approaching journey of St. Paul to Jerusalem. We have these circumstances-each by some hint in the passage in which it is mentioned, or by the date of the writing in which the passage occurs-fixed to a particular time; and we have that time turning out, upon examination, to be in all the same; namely, towards the clofe of St. Paul's second visit to the peninsula of Greece. This is an instance of conformity beyond the possibility, I will venture to say, of random writing to produce. I also affert, that it is in the highest degree improbable tha: it should have been the effect of con


trivance and design. The imputation of design amounts to this, that the forger of the Epistle to the Romans inserted in it the passage upon which our observations. are founded, for the purpose of giving colour to his forgery by the

appearance of conformity with other writings which were then extant. I reply, in the first place, that, if he did this to countenance his forgery, he did it for the purpose of an argument which would not strike one reader in ten thousand.

Coincidences so circuitous as this answer not the ends of forgery ; are seldom, I believe, attempted by it. In the fecond place I observe, that he must have had the Acts of the Apostles, and the two Epistles to the Corinthians, before him at the time. In the Acts of the Apostles (I mean that part of the Acts which relates to this period) he would have found the journey to Jerusalem ; but nothing about the contribution. In the first Epistle to the Corinthians he would have found a contribution going on in Achaia for the Christians of Jerusalem, and a distant hint of the possibility of the journey; but nothing con


« PoprzedniaDalej »