« EdellinenJatka »
We are expressly told, in the history, that at Corinth St. Paul laboured with his own hands: “ He found Aquila and Priscilla ; and, because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought; for by their occupation they were tent-makers.” But, in the text before us, he is made to say, that - he laboured even unto the present hour,' that is, to the time of writing the epistle at Ephesus. Now, in the narration of St. Paul's transactions at Ephesus, delivered in the nineteenth chapter of the Acts, nothing is said of his working with his own hands; but in the twentieth chapter we read, that upon his return from Greece, he sent for the elders of the church of Ephesus, to meet him at Miletus; and in the discourse which he there addressed to them, amidst some other reflections which he calls to their remembrance, we find the following: “ I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel ; yea, you yourselves also know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.' The reader will not forget to remark, that though St. Paul be now at Miletus, it is to the elders of the church of Ephesus he is speaking, when he says, “ Ye yourselves know that these hands
have ministered to my necessities ;” and that the whole discourse relates to his conduet during his last preceding residence at Ephe
That manual labour, therefore, which he had exercised at Corinth, he continued at Ephesus ; and not only so, but continued it during that particular residence at Ephesus, near the conclusion of which this epistle was written; so that he might with the strictest truth say at the time of writing the epistle, “ Even unto this present hour we labour, working with our own hands.” The correspondency is sufficient, then, as to the undesignedness of it. It is manifest to my judgement, that if the history, in this article, had been taken from the epistle, this circumstance, if it appeared at all, would have appeared in its place, that is, in the direct account of St. Paul's transactions at Ephesus. The correspondency would not have been effected, as it is, by a kind of reflected stroke, that is, by a reference in a subsequent speech, to what in the narrative was omitted. Nor is it likely, on the other hand, that a circumstance which is not extant in the history of St. Paul at Ephesus, should have been made the subject of a factitious allusion, in an epistle purporting to be written by him from
that place; not to mention that the allusion itself, especially as to time, is too oblique and general to answer any purpose of forgery whatever.
“ And unto the Jews, I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law."
We have the disposition here described, exemplified in two instances which the history records; one, Acts, xvi. 3: “Him (Timothy) would Paul have to go forth with him, and took and circumcised him, because of the Jews in those quarters; for they knew all that his father was a Greek." This was before the writing of the epistle. The other, Acts, xxi. 23. 26, and after the writing of the epistle: “Do this that we say to thee; we have four men which have a vow on them: them take, and purify thyself with them, that they may shave their heads; and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing ; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law. Then Paul took the men, , and the next day, purifying himself with them, entered into the temple.” Nor does this concurrence between the character and the instances look like the result of contrivance. St. Paul, in the epistle, describes, or is made to describe, his own accommodating conduct towards Jews and towards Gentiles, towards the weak and over-scrupulous, towards men indeed of every variety of character; “to them that are without law as without law, being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ, that I might gain them that are without law; to the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak; I am made all things to all men, that I might gain some.” This is the sequel of the text which stands at the head of the present number. Taking therefore the whole passage together, the apostle's condescension to the Jews is mentioned only as a part of his general disposition towards all. It is not probable that this character should have been made up from the instances in the Acts, which relate solely to his dealings with the Jews. It is not probable that a sophist should take his hint from those instances, and then extend it so much beyond them: and it is still more incredible that the two instances, in the Acts, circumstantially related and interwoven with the history, should have been fabricated in order to suit the character which St. Paul gives of himself in the epistle,
Chap. i. 14-17. 6 I thank God that I baptised none of you but Crispus and Gaius, lest any should
that I baptised in my own name; and I baptised also the household of Stephanas : besides, I know not whether I baptised any other; for Christ sent me not to baptise, but to preach the Gospel.” It
may be expected, that those whom the apostle baptised with his own hands, were converts distinguished from the rest by some circumstance, either of eminence, or of connexion with bim. Accordingly, of the three names here mentioned, Crispus, we find, from Acts, xvii. 8, was a “chief ruler of the Jew. ish
synagogue at Corinth, who believed in the Lord, with all his house.” Gaius, it
appears from Romans, xvi. 23, was St. Paul's host at Corinth, and the host, he tells us, “ of the whole church.” The household of Stephanas, we read in the sixteenth chapter of this epistle, “ were the first fruits of Achaia.” Here therefore is the propriety we expected: and it is a proof of reality not to be contemned ;