Obrazy na stronie

dulges his contempt of Baronius's judgment, Capellus himself falls into an error of the fame kind, and more gross and palpable than that which he reproves. For he begins the chapter by stating the second epiftle 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 eofdem “ Corinthios epistola, et prior ad Timo“ theum certant de prioritate, et sub judice “ lis eft; utraque autem fcripta est paulo oc

poftquam Paulus Ephefo disceffiffet, adeo

que 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 continued 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, “ as I befought “ 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



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.

[blocks in formation]



N the outset of this enquiry, 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 enquiries 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 Irenæus, by Athenagoras, by Theophilus, by Clement of Alexandria, by Hermias, by Tertullian, who occupied the succeeding age. Now when we find a book quoted or referred to by an ancient author, we are entitled to conclude, that it was read and received in the

age and country in which that author lived. And this conclusion does not, in any degree, rest

the judgment or



« PoprzedniaDalej »