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•f such is the ordinary expedient of every forgery: and though they may occur, and probably will occur, in genuine writings, yet it cannot be proved that they are peculiar to these. Thus what St. Paul declares in chap. xi. of 1 Cor. concerning the institution of the eucharist—" For I have received of the Lord that which I also delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread; and when he had given thanks he brake it, and said, Take, eat; this is my body, which is broken for you; this do in remembrance of me,"—though it be in close and verbal conformity with the account of the same transaction preserved by St. Luke, is yet a conformity of which no use can be made in our argument; for if it should be objected that this was a mere recital from the Gospel, borrowed by the author of the epistle, for the purpose of setting off his composition by an appearance of agreement with the received account of the Lord's supper, I should not know how to repel the insinuation. In like manner, the description which St. Paul gives of himself in his epistle to the Philippians (iii. 5.)—" Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee: concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless,"—is made up of particulars so plainly delivered concerning him in the Acts of the Apostles, the Epistle to the Romans, and the Epistle to the Galatians, that I cannot deny but that it would be easy for an impostor, who was fabricating a letter in the name of St. Paul, to collect these articles into oae view. This, therefore, is a conformity which we do not adduce. But when I read in the Acts of the Apostles, that when " Paul came to Derbe and Lystra, behold a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman wMch was a Jeivess;" and when, in an epistle addressed to Timothy, I find him reminded of his " having known the Holy Scriptures from a child," which implies that he must, on one side or both, have been brought up by Jewish parents; I conceive that I remark a coincidence which shows, by its very obliquity* that scheme was not employed in its formation. la like manner, if a coincidence depend upon a comparison of dates, or rather of circumstances from which the dates are gathered— the more intricate that comparison shall be; the more numerous the intermed'ate steps
through which the conclusion is deduced; in a word, the more circuitous the investigation is, the better, because the agreement which finally results is thereby farther removed from the suspicion of contrivance, affectation, or design. And it should be remembered, concerning these coincidences, that it is one thing to be minute, and another to be precarious; one thing to be unobserved, and another to be obscure; one thing to be circuitous or oblique, and another to be forced, dubious, or fanciful. And this distinction ought always to be retained in our thoughts.
The very particularity of St . Paul's epistles; the perpetual recurrence of names of persons and places; the frequent allusions to the incidents of his private life, and the circumstances of his condition and history; and the connection and parallelism of these with the same circumstances in the Acts of the Apostles, so as to enable us, for the most part, to confront them one with another; as well as the relation which subsists between the circumstances, as mentioned or referred to in the different epistles—afford no inconsiderable proof of the genuineness of the writings, and the reality of the transactions. For as no advertency is sufficient to guard against slips and contradictions, when circumstances are multiplied, and when they are liable to be detected by cotemporary accounts equally circumstantial, an impostor, I should expect, would either have avoided particulars entirely, contenting himself with doctrinal discussions, moral precepts, and general reflections ;* or if, for the sake of imitating St. Paul's style, he should have thought it necessary to intersperse his composition with names and circumstances, he would have placed them out of the reach of comparison with the history. And I am confirmed in this opinion by the inspection
* This, however, must not be misunderstood. A person writing to his friends, and upon a subject in which the transactions of his own life were concerned, would probably be led in the course of his letter, especially if it was * long one, to refer to passages found in his history. A person addressing an epistle to the public at large, or under the form of an epistle delivering a discourse upon some speculative argument, would not, it is probable, meet with an occasion of alluding to the circumstances of his life at all; be might, or he might not; the chance on either side is nearly equal. This is the situation of the catholic epistle. Although, therefore, the presence of these allusions and agreements be a valuable accession to the arguments by which the authenticity of a letter is maintained, yet the want of them certainly forms no positive objection. of two attempts to counterfeit St. Paul's epistles, which have come down to us; and the only attempts of which we have any knowledge, that are at all deserving of regard. One of these is an epistle to the Laodiceans, extant in Latin, and preserved by Fabricius in his collection of apocryphal scriptures. The other purports to be an epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians, in answer to an epistle from the Corinthians to him. This was translated by Scroderus from a copy in the Armenian language which had been sent to W. Whiston, and was afterwards, from a more perfect copy, procured at Aleppo, published by his sons, as an appendix to their edition of Moses Chorenensis. No Greek copy exists of either: they are not only not supported by ancient testimony, but they are negatived and excluded; as they have never found admission into any catalogue of apostolical writings, acknowledged by, or known to, the early ages of Christianity. In the first of these I found, as I expected, a total evitation of circumstances. It is simply a collection of sentences from the canonical epistles, strung together with very little skill. The second, which is a more versute and specious forgery, is introduced with a list of names of persons who wrote to St. Paul from Corinth; and is preceded by an account sufficiently particular of the manner in which the epistle was sent from Corinth to St. Paul, and the answer returned. But they are names which no one ever heard of: and the account it is impossible to combine with any thing found in the Acts, or in the other epistles. It is not necessary for me to point out the internal marks of spuriousness and imposture which these compositions betray; but it was necessary to observe, that they do not afford those coincidences which we propose as proofs of authenticity in the epistles which we defend.
Having explained the general scheme and formation of the argument, I may be permitted to subjoin a brief account of the manner of conducting it.
I have disposed the several instances of agreement under separate numbers; as well to mark more sensibly the divisions of the subject, as for another purpose, viz. that the reader may thereby be reminded that the instances are independent of one another. I have advanced nothing which I did not think probable; but the degree of probability by which different instances are supported, is undoubtedly very different. If the reader, therefore, meets with a number
which contains an instance that appears to him unsatisfactory, or founded in mistake, he will dismiss that number from the argument, but without prejudice to any other He will have occasion also to observe, that the coincidences discoverable in some epistles are much fewer and weaker, than what are supplied by others. But he will add to his observation this important circumstance —that whatever ascertains the original of one epistle, in some measure establishes the authority of the rest. For, whether these epistles be genuine or spurious, every thing about them indicates that they come from the same hand. The diction, which it is extremely difficult to imitate, preserves its resemblance and peculiarity throughout all the epistles. Numerous expressions and singularities of style, found in no other part of the New Testament, are repeated in different epistles; and occur in their respective places, without the smallest appearance of force or art. An involved argumentation, frequent obscurities, especially in the order and transition of thought, piety, vehemence, affection, bursts of rapture, and of unparalleled sublimity, are properties, all, or most of them, discernible in every letter of the collection. But although these epistles bear strong marks of proceeding from the same hand, I think it is still more certain that they were originally separate publications. They form no continued story; they compose no regular correspondence; they comprise not the transactions of any particular period; they carry on no connection of argument; they depend not upon one another; except in one or two instances, they refer not to one another. I will farther undertake to say, that no study or care has been employed to produce or preserve an appearance of consistency amongst them. All which observations show that they were not intended by the person, whoever he was, that wrote them, to come forth or be read together: that they appeared at first separately, and have been collected since.
The proper purpose of the following work is to bring together, from the Acts of the Apostles, and from the different epistles, such passages as furnish examples of undesigned coincidence; but I have so far enlarged upon this plan, as to take into it some circumstances found in the epistles, which contributed strength to the conclusion, though not strictly objects of comparison.
It appeared also a part of the same plan, to examine the difficulties which presented themselves in the course of our inquiry
I do not know that the subject has been proposed or considered in this view before. Ludovicus, Capellus, Bishop Pearson, Dr. Benson, and Dr. Lardner, have each given a continued history of St. Paul's life, made up from the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles joined together. But this, it is manifest, is a different undertaking from the present, and directed to a different purpose.
If what is here offered shall add one thread to that complication of probabilities by which the Christian history is attested, the reader's attention will be repaid by the supreme importance of the subject; and my design will be fully answered.
THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS.
The first passage I shall produce from this epistle, and upon which a good deal of observation will be founded, is the following:
"But now I go unto Jerusalem, to minister unto the saints; for it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem." Rom. xv. 25, 26.
In this quotation three distinct circumstances are stated—a contribution in Macedonia for the relief of the Chri tians of Jerusalem, a contribution in Achaia for the same purpose, and an intended journey of St. Paul to Jerusalem. These circumstances are stated as taking place at the same time, and that to be the time when the epistle was written. Now let us inquire whether we can find these circumstances elsewhere; and whether, if we do find them, they meet together in respect of date. Turn to the Acts of the Apostles, chap. xx. ver. 2, 3. and you read the following account: "When he had gone over those parts (viz. Macedonia,) and had given them much exhortation, he came into Greece, and there abode three months; and when the Jews laid wait for him, as he was about to sail into Syria, he proposed to return through Macedonia." From this passage, compared with the account of St Paul's travels given before, and from the sequel of the chapter, it appears that upon St. Paul's second visit to the peninsula of Greece, his intention was, when he should leave the country, to proceed from Achaia directly by sea to Syria;
but that to avoid the Jews, who were lying in wait to intercept him in his route, he so far changed his purpose as to go back through Macedonia, embark at Philippi and pursue his voyage from thence towards Jerusalem. Here therefore is a journey to Jerusalem; but not a syllable of any contribution. And as St. Paul had taken several journeys to Jerusalem before, and one also immediately after his first visit into the peninsula of Greece (Acts xviii. 21.), it cannot from hence be collected in which of these visits the epistle was written, or, with certainty, that it was written in either. The silence of the historian, who professes to have been with St. Paul at the time (xx. 6.), concerning any contribution, might lead us to look out for some different journey, or might induce us perhaps to question the consistency of the two records, did not a very accidental reference, in another part of the same history, afford us sufficient ground to believe that this silence was omission. When St. Paul made his reply before Felix, to the accusations of Tertullus; he alleged, as was natural, that neither the errand which brought him to Jerusalem, nor his conduct whilst he remained there, merited the calumnies with which the Jews had aspersed him. "Now after many years (i. e. of absence) I came to bring alms to my nation and offerings; whereupon certain Jews from Asia found me purified in the temple, neither with multitude nor with tumult, who ought to have been here before thee, and object, if they had aught 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: " Concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, even so 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 approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem; and if it be meet that I go also, they shall go with me." In this passage we find a contribution carrying on at Corinth, the capital of Achaia, for the Christians of Jerusalem: we find also a hint given of the possibility of St. Paul going up to Jerusalem himself, 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 you shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality to Jerusalem:" and in the sixth verse he adds, "That ye may 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, to the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, chap. viii. ver. 1—4. and you will discover the particular which remains to be sought for: "Moreover, brethren, we do you to 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 their power, they were willing of themselves; 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 soon 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 inquired after, and which the Epistle to the Romans
brings together, viz. a contribution in Achaia for the Christians of Jerusalem; a contribution in Macedonia for the same; and au 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 close 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 assert, that it is in the highest degree improbable that it should have been the effect of contrivance 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 wnich 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 second 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 concerning a contribution in Macedonia. In the Second Epistle to the. Corinthians he would have found a contribution in Macedonia accompanying that in Achaia; but no intimation for whom either was intended, and not a word about the journey. It was only by a close and attentive collation of the three writings, that he could have picked out the circumstances which he has united in his epistle; and by a still more nice examination, that he could have determined them to belong to the same period. In the third place, I remark, what diminishes very much the suspicion of fraud, how aptly and connectedly the mention of the circumstances in question, viz. the journey*To Jerusalem, and of the occasion of that journey, arises from the context, " Whensoever I take my journey into Spain, I will come to you; for I trust to see you in my journey, and to be brought on my way thitherward by you, if first I be somewhat filled with your company. But now I go unto Jerusalem, to minister unto the saints; for it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem, It hath pleased them verily, and their debtors they are; for, if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things. When therefore I have performed this, and have sealed them to this fruit, I will come by you into Spain." Is the passage in Italics like a passage foisted in for an extraneous pur
fose? Does it not arise from what goes efore, by a junction as easy as any example of writing upon real business can furnish 1 Could any thing be more natural than that St. Paul, in writing to the Romans, should speak of the time when he hoped to visit them; should mention the business which then detained him; and that he purposed to set forwards upon his journey to them, when that business was completed?
Bv means of the quotation which formed the subject of the preceding number, we collect, that the Epistle to the Romans was written at the conclusion of St. Paul's second visit to the peninsula of Greece; but this we collect, not from the epistle itself, nor from any thing declared concerning the time and place in any part of the epistle, but from a comparison of circumstances referred to in the epistle, with the order of events recorded in the Acts, and with references to the same circumstances, though for quite different purposes, in the two epistles to the Corinthians. Now would the author of a forgery, who sought to gain credit to a spurious letter by congruities, depending upon the time and place in which the letter was supposed to be written, have left that time and place to be made out, in a manner so obscure and indirect as this is? If therefore coincidences of circumstances can be pointed out in this epistle, depending upon its date, or the place where it was written, whilst that date and place are only ascertained by other circumstances, such coincidences may fairly be stated as undesigned. Under this head I adduce
Chap. xvi. 21—23. "Timotheus, my work-fellow, and Lucius, and Jason, and Sosipater, my kinsmen, salute you. I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord. Gaius, mine host, and of the whole church, saluteth you; and Quartus, a brother." With this passage I compare. Acts xx. 4, "And there accompanied him into Asia, Sopater of Berea; and, of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus; and, of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus." The Epistle to the Romans, we have seen, was written just before St. Paul's departure from Greece, after his second visit to that peninsula: the persons mentioned in the quotation from the Acts are those who accompanied him in that departure. Of seven whose names are joined in the salutation of the church of Rome, three, viz. Sosipater, Gaius, and Timothy, are proved, by this passage in the Acts, to have been with St. Paul at the time. And this is perhaps as much coincidence as could be expected from reality, though less, I am apt to think, than would have been produced by design. Four are mentioned in the Acts who are not joined in the salutation; and it is in the nature of the case probable that there should be many attending St. Paul in Greece who knew nothing of the converts at Rome, nor were known by them. In like manner, several are joined in the salutation who are not mentioned in the passage referred to in the Acts. This also was to be expected. The occasion of mentioning them in the Acts was their proceeding with St. Paul upon his journey. But we may be sure that there were many eminent Christians with St. Paul in Greece, besides those who accompanied him into Asia.*
* Of these Jason is one, whose presence upon this occasion is very naturally accounted for. Jason was an inhabitant of Thessalonica in Macedonia, and entertained St. Paul in his house upon his first visit to that country. Acts xvii. 7—St Paul, upon this his second visit, passed through Macedonia on his way to Greece, and, from the situation of ThesSa'onica, most likely through that city. It appears, from various instances in the Acts, to .have been the practice of many converts to attend St. Paul, from place to place. It is therefore highly probable, I mean that it is highly consistent with the account in the history, that Jason, according to that account a zealous disciple, the inhabitant of a city at no great distance from Greece, and through which, as it 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