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gave him audience," says the historian, "unto this word; and then lift up their voices, and said, Away with such a fellow from the earth f" Nothing can. show more strongly than this account does, what was the offence which drew down upon St. Paul the vengeance of his countrymen. His mission to the Gentiles, and his open avowal of that mission, was the intolerable part of the apostle's crime. But although the real motive of the prosecution appears to have been the apostle's conduct towards the Gentiles; yet, when his accusers came before a Roman magistrate, a charge was to be framed of a more legal form. The profanation of the temple was the article they chose to rely upon. This, therefore, became the immediate subject of Tertullus's oration before Felix, and of Paul's defence. But that he all along considered his ministry amongst the Gentiles as the actual source of the enmity that had been exercised against him, and in particular as the cause of the insurrection in which his person had been seized, is apparent from the conclusion of his discourse before Agrippa: "I have appeared unto thee," says he, describing what passed upon his journey to Damascus, " for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness, both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee, delivering thee from the people and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was ndt disobedient unto the heavenly vision; but showed first unto them of Damascus, and of Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance. For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me." The seizing, therefore, of St. Paul's person, from which he was never discharged till his final liberation at Rome; and of which, therefore, his imprisonment at Rome was the continuation and effect, was not in consequence of any general persecution set on foot against Christianity; nor did it befall him simply as professing or teaching Christ's religion, which James and the elders at Jerusalem did as well as he (and yet, for any thing that appears, remained at that
time unmolested); but it was distinctly and specifically brought upon him by his activity in preaching to the Gentiles, and by his boldly placing them upon a level with the once-favoured and still self-flattered posterity of Abraham. How well St, Paul's letters, purporting to be written during this imprisonment, agree with this account of its cause and origin, we have already seen.
Chap. iv. 10. '^Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister's son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: If he come unto you, receive him;) and Jesus, which is called Justus, who are of the circumcision."
We find Aristarchus as a companion of our apostle in the nineteenth chapter of the Acts, and the twenty-ninth verse: "And the whole city of Ephesus was filled with confusion; and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Pout's companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre." And we find him upon his journey with St. Paul to Rome, in the twenty-seventh chapter, and the first and second verses: "And when it was determined that we should sail into Italy, they delivered Paul and certain other prisoncis unto one named Julius, a centurion of Augustus's band: and, entering into a ship of Adramyttium, we launched, meaning to sail by the coast of Asia; one Aristarchus, a Ma' cedonian of Thessalonica, being with «#." But might not the author of the epistle have consulted the history; and, observing that the historian had brought Aristarchus along with Paul to Rome, might he not for that reason, and without any other foundation, have put down his name amongst the salutations of an epistle purporting to be written by the apostle from that place? I allow so much of possibility to this objection, that I should not have proposed this in the number of coincidences clearly undesigned, had Aristarchus stood alone. The observation that strikes me in reading the passage is, that togetherwith Aristarchus, whose journey to Rome we trace in the history, are joined Marcus and Justus, of whose coming to Rome the history says nothing. Aristarchus alone appeals in the history, and Aristarchus alone would have appeared in the epistle, if the author had regulated himself by that conformity. Or if you take it the other way; if you suppose the history to have been made out of the epistle, why the ourney of Aristarchus to Rome should be recorded, and not that of Marcus and Justus, if the groundwork of the narrative was the appearance of Aristarchus's name in the epistle, seems to be unaccountable.
"Marcus, sister's son to Barnabas." Does not this hint account for Barnabas's adherence to Mark in the contest that arose with our apostle concerning him? "And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do; and Barnabas determined to take with them Jokn, whose surname was Mark; but Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work; and the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark and sailed unto Cyprus." The history which records the dispute has not preserved the circumstance of Mark's relationship to Barnabas. It is no where noticed but in the text before us. As far, therefore, as it applies, the application is certainly undesigned.
"Sister's son to Barnabas." This woman, the mother of Mark, and the sister of Barnabas, was, as might be expected, a person of some eminence amongst the Christians of Jerusalem. It so happens that we hear of her in the history. When Peter was delivered from prison, he "came to the house of Mary the mother of Jokn, whose surname was Mark, where many were gathered together praying." Acts xii. 12. There is somewhat of coincidence in this; somewhat bespeaking real transactions amongst real persons.
The following coincidence, though it bear the appearance of great nicety and refinement, ought not, perhaps, to be deemed imaginary. In the salutations with which this, like most of St. Paul's epistles, concludes, we have "Aristarchus and Marcus, and Jesus, which is called Justus, who are of the circumcision" iv. 10, 11. Then follow also, " Epaphras, Luke the beloved physician, and Demas." Now as this description, "who are of the circumcision," is added after the first three names, it is inferred, not without great appearance of probability, that the rest, amongst whom is Luke, were not of the circumcision. Now, can we discover any expression in the Acts
of the Apostles, which ascertains whether the author of the book was a Jew or not? If we can discover that he was not a Jew, we fix a circumstance in his character, which coincides with what is here, indirectly indeed, but not very uncertainly, intimated concerning Luke: and we so far confirm both the testimony of the primitive church, that the Acts of the Apostles was written by St. Luke, and the general reality of the persons and circumstances brought together in this epistle. The text in the Acts, which has been construed to show that the writer was not a Jew, is the nineteenth verse of the first chapter, where, in describing the field which had been purchased with the reward of Judas's iniquity, it is said, " that it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem: insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood." These words are by most commentators taken to be the words and observation of the historian, and not a part of St. Peter's speech, in the midst of which they are found. If this be admitted, then it is argued that the expression, "in their proper tongue," would not have been used by a Jew, but is suitable to the pen of a Gentile writing concerning Jews.* The reader will judge of the probability of this conclusion, and we urge the coincidence no farther than that probability extends. The coincidence, if it be one, is so remote from all possibility of design, that nothing need be added to satisfy the reader upon that part of the argument.
Chap. iv. 9. "With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you."
Observe how it may be made out that Onesimus was a Colossian. Turn to the Epistle to Philemon, and you will find that Onesimus was the servant or slave of Philemon. The question therefore will be, to what city Philemon belonged. In the epistle addressed to him this is not declared. It appears only that he was of the same place, whatever that place was, with an eminent Christian named Archippus. "Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved and fellow-labourer; and to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellow-soldier,
* Vide Benson's Dissertation, vol. i. p. 318. of his works, ed. 1756.
and to the church in thy house." Now turn back to the Epistle to the Colossians, and you will find Archippus saluted by name amongst the Christians of that church. «1 Say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it." (iv. 17.) The necessary result is, that Onesimus also was of the same city, agreeably to what is said of him, "he is one of you." And this result is the effect either of truth which produces consistency without the writer's thought or care, or of a contexture of forgeries confirming and falling in with one another by a species of fortuity of which I know no example. The supposition of design, I think, is excluded, not only because the purpose to which the design must have been directed, viz. the verification of the passage in our epistle, in which it is said concerning Onesimus, "he is one of you," is a purpose, which would be lost upon ninety-nine readers out of a hundred; but because the means made use of are too circuitous to have been the subject of affectation and contrivance. Would a forger, who had this purpose in view, have left his readers to hunt it out, by going forward and backward from one epistle to another, in order to connect Onesimus with Philemon, Philemon with Archippus, and Archippus with Colosse1 all which he must do before he arrives at his discovery, that it was truly said of Onesimus, "he is one of you."
THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE THESSALONIANS.
It is known to every reader of Scripture, that the First Epistle to the Thessalonians speaks of the coming of Christ in terms which indicate an expectation of his speedy appearance: "For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds —But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief." (Chap. iv. 15,16,17. chap."v. 4.)
Whatever other construction these texts may bear, the idea they leave upon the mind of an ordinary reader, is that of the author of the epistle looking for the day of judgment to take place in his own time, or near to it. Now the use which I make of this circumstance, is to deduce from it a proof that the epistle itself was not the production of a subsequent age. Would an impostor have given this expectation to St. Paul, after experience had proved it to be erroneous 1 or would he have put into the apostle's mouth, or, which is the same thing, into writings purporting to come from his hand, expressions, if not necessarily conveying, at least easily interpreted to convey, an opinion which was then known to be founded in mistake? I state this as an argument to show that the epistle was contemporary with St. Paul, which is little less than to show that it actually proceeded from his pen. For I question whether any ancient forgeries were executed in the lifetime of the person whose name they bear; nor was the primitive situation of the church likely to give birth to such an attempt.
Our epistle concludes with a direction that it should be publicly read in the church to which it was addressed: "I charge you by the Lord, that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren." The existence of this clause in the body of the epistle is an evidence of its authenticity; because to produce a letter purporting to have been publicly read in the church of Thessalonica, when no such letter in truth had been read or heard of in that church, would be to produce an imposture destructive of itself. At least, it seems unlikely that the author of an imposture would voluntarily, and eveu officiously, afford a handle to so plain an objection.—Either the epistle was publicly read in the church of Thessalonica during St . Paul's lifetime, or it was not. If it was, no publication could be more authentic, no species of notoriety more unquestionable, no method of preserving the integrity of the copy more secure. If it was not, the clause we produce would remain a standing condemnation of the forgery, and one would suppose, an invincible impediment to its success.
If we connect this article with the preceding, we shall perceive that they combine into one strong proof of the genuineness of the epistle. The preceding article carries up the date of the epistle to the time of St. Paul; the present article fixes the publication of it to the church of Thessalonica. Either therefore the church of Thessalonica was imposed upon by a false epistle, which iu St. Paul's lifetime they received and read publicly as his, carrying on a communication with him all the while, and the epistle referring to the continuance of that communication; or other Christian churches, in the same lifetime of the apostle, received an epistle purporting to have been publicly read in the church of Thessalonica, which nevertheless had not been heard of in that church; or, lastly, the conclusion remains, that the epistle now in our hands is genuine.
Between our epistle and the history the accordancy in many poiuts is circumstantial and complete. The history relates, that, after Paul and Silas had been beaten with many stripes at Philippi, shut up in the inner prison, and their feet made fast in the stocks, as soon as they were discharged from their confinement they departed from thence, and, when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia. came to Thessalonica, where Paul opened and alleged that Jesus was the Christ, Acts xvi. 23, &c. The epistle written in the name of Paul and Sylvanus (Silas), and of Timotheus, who also appears to have been along with them at Philippi (vide Phil. No. iv.), speaks to the church of Thessalonica thus: "Even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the Gospel of God with much contention." (ii. 2.)
The history relates, that after they had been some time at Thessalonica, "the Jews who believed not, set all the city in an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason where Paul and Silas were, and sought to bring them out to the people." Acts xvii. 5. The epistle declares, " when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know" (iii. 4.)
The history brings Paul and Silas and Timothy together at Corinth, soon after the preaching of the Gospel at Thessalonica:— "And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia (to Corinth), Paul was pressed in spirit." Acts xviii. 5. The epistle is written in the name of these three
persons, who consequently must have been together at the time, and speaks throughout of their ministry at Thessalonica as a recent transaction: " We, brethren, being taAcn from you for a short time, in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face, with great desire." (ii. 17.)
The harmony is indubitable; but the points of history in which it consists, are so expressly set forth in the narrative, and so directly referred to in the epistle, that it becomes necessary for us to show that the facts in one writing were not copied from the other. Now amidst some minuter discrepancies, which will be noticed below, there is one circumstance which mixes itself with all the allusions in the epistle, but does not appear in the history any where; and that is of a visit which St. Paul had intended to pay to the Thessalonians during the time of his residing at Corinth: "Wherefore we would have come unto you (even I Paul) once and again ; but Satan hindered us." (ii. 18.) "Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith. Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you." (iii. 10, II.) Concerning a design which was not executed, although the person himself, who was conscious of his own purpose, should make mention in his letters, nothing is more probable than that his historian should be silent, if not ignorant. The author of the epistle could not, however, have learnt this circumstance from the history, for it is not there to be met with; nor, if the historian had drawn his materials from the epistle, is it likely that he would have passed over a circumstance, which is amongst the most obvious and prominent of the facts to be collected from that source of information.
Chap. iii. 1—7. "Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone, and sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith ;—but now when Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith."
The history relates, that when Paul came out of Macedonia to Athens, Silas and Timothy staid behind at Berea: "The brethren sent away Paul to go as it were to the sea; but Silas and Timotheus abode there still; and they that conducted Paul brought him to Athens." Acts, ch. xvii. 14, 15. The history farther relates, that after Paul had tarried some time at Athens, and had proceeded from thence to Corinth, whilst he was exercising his ministry in that city, Silas and Timothy came to him from Macedonia. Acts, ch. xviii. 5. But to reconcile the history with the clause in the epistle, which makes St. Paul say, "I thought it good to be left at Athens alone, aud to send Timothy unto you," it is necessary to suppose that Timothy had come up with St. Paul at Athens: a circumstance which the history does not mention. I remark, therefore, that, although the history do not expressly notice this arrival, yet it contains intimations which render it extremely probable that the fact took place. First, as soon as Paul had reached Athens, he sent a message back to Silas and Timothy "for to come to him with all speed." Acts, ch, xvii. 15. Secondly, his stay at Athens was on purpose that they might join him there: " Now whilst Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him." Acts, ch. xvii. 16. Thirdly, his departure from Athens does not appear to have been in. any sort hastened or abrupt. It is said, "after these things," viz. his disputation with the Jews, his conferences with the philosophers, his discourse at Areopagus, and the gaining of some converts, " he departed from Athens and came to Corinth." It is not hinted that he quitted Athens before the time that he had intended to leave it: it is not suggested that he was driven from thence, as he was from many cities, by tumults or persecutions, or because his life was no longer safe. Observe then the particulars which the history does notice— that Paul had ordered Timothy to follow him without delay, that he waited at Athens on purpose that Timothy might come up with him, that he staid there as long as his own choice led him to continue. Laying these circumstances which the history does disclose together, it is highly probable that Timothy came to the apostle at Athens, a fact which the epistle, we have seen, virtually asserts when it makes Paul send Timothy back from Athens to Thessalonica, The sending back of Timothy into Macedonia accounts also for his not coming to Corinth till after Paul had been fixed in that city for some considerable time. Paul
had found out Aquila and Priscilla, abode with them and wrought, being of the same craft; and reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath day, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks- Acts, ch. xviii. 1—4. All this passed at Corinth, before Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia. Acts, ch. xviii. 5. If this was the first time of their coming up with him after their separation at Berea, there is nothing to account for a delay so contrary to what appears from the history itself to have been St. Paul's plan and expectation. This is a conformity of a peculiar species. The epistle discloses a fact which is not preserved in the history; but which makes what is said in the history more significant, probable, and consistent. The history bears marks of an omission; the epistle by refer , ence furnishes a circumstance which supplies that omission.
Chap.ii. 14. "For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judea are in Christ Jesus; for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews."
To a reader of the Acts of the Apostles, it might seem, at first sight, that the persecutions which the preachers and converts of Christianity underwent, were suffered at the hands of their old adversaries the Jews. But, if we attend carefully to the accounts there delivered, we shall observe, that, though the opposition made to the Gospel usually originated from the enmity of the Jews, yet in almost all places the Jews went about to accomplish their purpose, by stirring up the Gentile inhabitants against their converted countrymen. Out of Judea they had not power to do much mischief in any other way. This was the case at Thessalonica in particular: " The Jews which believed not, moved with envy, set all the city in an uproar." Acts, ch. xvii. ver, 5. It was the same a short time afterwards at Berea: "When the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people. Acts, chap. xvii. 13. And before this our apostle had met with a like species of persecution, in his progress through the Lesser Asia: in every city " the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds evilaffected against the brethren." Acts, ch. xiv. 2. The epistle therefore represents the