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phemer, and a persecutor, and injurious : but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.” (ch. i. 12, 13.) The whole quotation plainly refers to St. Paul's original enmity to the Christian name, the interposition of Providence in his conversion, and his subsequent designation to the ministry of the Gospel ; and by this reference affirms indeed the substance of the apostle's history delivered in the Acts. But what in the passage strikes my mind most powerfully, is the observation that is raised out of the fact. 6. For this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all long-suffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.”. It is a just and solemn reflection, springing from the circumstances of the author's conversion, or rather from the impression which that great event had left upon his memory. It will be said, perhaps, that an impostor acquainted with St. Paul's history, may have put such a sentiment into his mouth; or, what is the same thing, into a letter drawn up in his
But where, we may ask, is such an impostor to be found? The piety, the truth, the benevolence of the thought, ought to protect it from this imputation. For, though
we should allow that one of the great masters of the ancient tragedy could have given to his scene a sentiment as virtuous and as elevated as this is, and at the same time as appropriate, and as well suited to the particular situation of the person who delivers it; yet whoever is conversant in these inquiries will acknowledge, that to do this in a fictitious production is beyond the reach of the understandings which have been employed upon any fabrications that have come down to us under Christian, names.
THE SECOND EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY.
No. I. It was the uniform tradition of the primitive church, that St. Paul visited Rome twice, and twice there suffered imprisonment; and that he was put to death at Rome at the conclusion of his second imprisonment. This opinion concerning St. Paul's two journeys to Rome is confirmed by a great variety of hints and allusions in the epistle before us, compared with what fell from the apostle's pen in other letters purporting to have been written from Rome. That our present epistle was written whilst St. Paul was a prisoner, is distinctly intimated by the eighth verse of the first chapter : “ Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner.” And whilst he was a prisoner at Rome, by the sixteenth and seventeenth verses of the same chapter: “The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus ; for he oft refreshed me, and
was not ashamed of my chain: but when he was in Rome he sought me out very diligently and found me.” Since it appears from the former quotation that St. Paul wrote this epistle in confinement, it will hardly admit of doubt that the word chain, in the latter quotation, refers to that confinement; the chain by which he was then bound, the custody in which he was then kept. And if the word “chain” designate the author's confinement at the time of writing the epistle, the next words determine it to have been written from Rome: “He was not ashamed of
my chain; but when he was in Rome he sought me out very diligently.” Now that it was not written during the apostle's first imprisonment at Rome, or during the same imprisonment in which the epistles to the Ephesians, the Colossians, the Philippians, and Philemon, were written, may be gathered, with considerable evidence, from a comparison of these several epistles with the pre
I. In the former epistles the author confidently looked forward to his liberation from confinement, and his speedy departure from Rome. He tells the Philippians (ch. ii. 24), “I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly." Philemon he bids to prepare for him a lodging ; " for I trust,” says he, “ that through your prayers I shall be given unto you.” (ver. 22.) In the epistle before us he holds a language extremely different: “I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith : henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day.” (ch. iv. 6—8.)
II. When the former epistles were written from Rome, Timothy was with St. Paul ; and is joined with him in writing to the Colossians, the Philippians, and to Phile
The present epistle implies that he was absent.
III. In the former epistles Demas was with St. Paul at Rome :,“ Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you.” In the epistle now before us : “ Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is gone to Thessalonica."
IV. In the former epistles, Mark was with St. Paul, and joins in saluting the Colossians. In the present epistle, Timothy is ordered to bring him with him, "for he is