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peated 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
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 connexion 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.
No. I. 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 Christians 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 follow
gone over those
ing account: " When he had
St. Paul at the time (c. xx. v. 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 my
nation and offerings ; whereupon certain Jews from Asia found me purified in the temple, neither with multitude nor with tu. mult, who, ought to have been here before thee, and object, if they had aught against
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.