« PoprzedniaDalej »
But if any one shall still contend that a forger of the epistle, with the Acts of the Apostles before him, and having settled his scheme of writing a letter as from St. Paul upon his second visit into Greece, would easily think of the expedient of putting in the names of those persons who appeared to be with St. Paul at the time, as an obvious recommendation of the imposture ; 1 then
repeat my observations; first, that he would have made the catalogue more complete; and secondly, that with this contriyance in his thoughts, it was certainly his business, in order to avail himself of the artifice, to have stated in the body of the epistle that St. Paul was in Greece when he wrote it, and that he was there upon his second
should seem, St. Paul had lately passed, should have accompanied St. Paul into Greece, and have been with him there at this time. Lucius is another name in the epistle. A very slight alteration would convert Arxsos into Arnas, Lucius into Luke, which would produce an additional coincidence: for, if Luke was the author of the history, he was with St. Paul at this time; inasmuch as, describing the voyage which took place foon after the writing of this epistle, the historian uses the first person" We failed away from Philippi. Acts, xx. 6.
visit. Neither of which he has done, either directly, or even so as to be discoverable by any circumstance found in the narrative delivered in the Acts.
Under the same head, viz.of coincidences depending upon date, I cite from the epistle the following salutation:“Greet Priscilla and “ Aquila, my helpers in Christ Jesus, who “ have for my life laid down theirown necks; “ unto whom not only I give thanks, but - alfo all the churches of the Gentiles." Chap. xvi. 3.-—It appears, from the Acts of the Apostles, that Priscilla and Aquila had originally been inhabitants of Rome ; for we read, Acts xviii. 2, that“Paulfound acer** tain Jew, named Aquila, lately come from
Italy with his wife Priscilla, because that “ Claudius had commanded all Jews to de“part from Rome.” They were connected therefore with the place to which the falutations are fent. That is one coincidence; another is the following: St. Paul became acquainted with these persons at Corinth during his first visit into Greece. They accompanied him upon
his return into Asia; were settled for some time at Ephesus, Acts xviii.19-26;
and appear to have been with St. Paul when he wrote from that place his first Epistle to the Corinthians, 1 Cor. xvi. 19. Not long after the writing of which epistle St. Paul went from Ephesus into Macedonia, and " after he had gone over those parts, proceeded from thence upon his second visit into Greece; during which visit, or rather at the conclusion of it, the Epistle to the Romans, as hath been shewn, was written. We have therefore the time of St. Paul's refidence at Ephesus after he had written to the Corinthians, the time taken up by his progress through Macedonia (which is indefinite, and was probably considerable), and his three months abode in Greece; we have the sum of these three periods allowed for Aquila and Priscilla going back to Rome, so as to be there when the epistle before us was written. Now what this quotation leads us to observe is, the danger of scattering names andcircumstances in writings like the present, how implicated they often are with dates and places, and that nothing but truth can preserve consistency. Had the notes of time in the Epistle to the Romans fixed the writing of it to any date prior to St. Paul's first refidence at Corinth, the salutation of Aquila and Priscilla would have contradicted the history, because it would have been prior to his acquaintance with these persons. If the notes of time had fixed it to any period during that residence at Corinth, during his journey to Jerusalem when he first returned out of Greece, during his stay at Antioch whither he went down from Jerusalem, or during his second progress through the Leffer Alia upon which he proceeded from Autioch, an equal contradiction would have been incurred; because from Acts xviii. 2-18,1926, it appears that during all this time Aquila and Priscilla were either along with St. Paul, or were abiding at Ephesus. Lastly, had the notes of time in this epistle, which we have seen to be perfectly incidental, compared with the notes of time in the first Epistle to the Corinthians, which are equally incidental, fixed this epistle to be either cotemporary with that, or prior to it, a fimilar contradiction would have ensued; because, first, when the Epistle to the Corinthians was written, Aquila and Priscilla were
along with St. Paul, as they joined in the falutation of that church, 1 Cor. xvi. 19; and because, secondly, the history does not allow us to suppose, that between the time of their becoming acquainted with St. Paul, and the time of St. Paul's writing to the Corinthians, Aquila, and Priscilla could have
gone to Rome, so as to have been saluted in an epistle to that city; and then come back to St. Paul at Ephesus, so as to be joined with him in faluting the church of Corinth. As it is, all things are consistent. The Epiitle to the Romans is pofterior even to the second Epistle to the Corinthians ; because it speaks of a contribution in Achaia being completed, which the second Epistle to the Corinthians chap. viii. is only foliciting. It is sufficiently therefore posterior to the first Epistle to the Corinthians, to allow time in the interval for Aquila and Priscilla's return from Ephesus to Rome.
Before we dismiss these two persons, we may
take notice of the terms of commendation in which St. Paul describes them, and of the agreement of that encomium with the history. "My helpers in Chirst Jesus,