Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

for their names appearing in the several places in which they occur, with a mark of distinction belonging to each, could hardly be the effect of chance, without any truth to direct it: and on the other hand, to suppose that they were picked out from these passages, and brought together in the text before us, in order to display a conformity of names, is both improbable in itself, and is rendered more so by the purpose for which they are introduced. They come in to assist St. Paul's exculpation of himself, against the possible charge of having assumed the character of the founder of a separate religion, and with no other visible, or, as I think, imaginable design*.

* Chap. i. 1. “Paul called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ, through the will of God, and Sosthenes, our brother, unto the church of God, which is at Corinth.” The only account we have of any person who bore the name of Sosthenes, is found in the eighteenth chapter of the Acts. When the Jews at Corinth had brought Paul before Gallio, and Gallio had dismissed their complaint as unworthy of his interference, and had driven them from the judgement-seat; Gothen all the Greeks," says the historian, “ took Sosthenes, the chief ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgement-seat." The Sosthenes here spoken of was a Corinthian; and, if he was a Christian, and with St. Paul when he wrote this epistle, was likely enough to be joined with bim in the salutation of the Corinthian church. But here occurs a difficulty. If

No. IX.

Chap. xvi. 10, 11. “ Now, if Timotheus come, let no man despise him."—Why despise him? This charge is not given concern

Sosthenes was a Christian at the time of this uproar, why should the Greeks beat him? The assault upon the Christians was made by the Jews. It was the Jews who had brought Paul before the magistrate. If it had been the Jews also who had beaten Sosthenes, I should not have doubted but that he had been a favourer of St. Paul, and the same person who is joined with bim in the epistle. Let us see therefore whether there be not some error in our present text. The Alexandrian manuscript gives παντες alone, without οι Ελληνες, and is followed in this reading by the Coptic version, by the Arabic version, published by Erpenius, by the Vulgate, and by Bede's Latin version. Three Greek manuscripts again, as well as Chrysostom, give & Ioudaloi, in the place of oi'EXayves. A great plurality of manuscripts authorise the reading which is retained in our copies. In this variety it appears to me extremely probable that the historian originally wrote TOUTES alone, and that ói 'Elaques, and or loudaion have been respecttively added as explanatory of what the word TANTES was supposed to mean. The sentence, without the addition of either name, would run very perspicuously thus, “xou atracey αυτους απο του βηματος: επιλαβομενοι δε παντες Σωσθενην τον αρχισυναγωγον, ετυπτον εμπροσθεν του βηματος and the drove them away from the judgement-seat; and they all,” viz. the crowd of Jews whom the judge had bid begone,“ took Sosthenes, and beat him before the judgement-seat.” It is certain that, as the whole body of the people were Greeks, the application of all to them was unusual and hard. If I was describing an insurrection at Paris, I might say all the Jews,

G

[ocr errors][merged small]

ing any other messenger whom St.Paul sent; and, in the different epistles, many such messengers are mentioned.

Turn to 1 Timothy, chap. iv. 12, and you will find that Timothy was a young man, younger probably than those who were usually employed in the Christian mission; and that St. Paul, apprehending lest he should, on that account, be exposed to contempt, urges upon him the caution which is there inserted, “Let no man despise thy youth,"

[merged small][ocr errors]

No. X.

Chap. xvi. 1. “Now, concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.”

The churches of Galatia and Phrygia were the last churches which St. Paul had visited before the writing of this epistle. He was now at Ephesus, and he came thither immediately from visiting these churches: “He went over all the country of Galatia and Phrygia, in order, strengthening all the dis

all the Protestants, or all the English, acted so and so; but I should scarcely say all the French, when the whole mass of the community were of that description. As what is here offered is founded upon a various reading, and that in opposition to the greater part of the manuscripts that are extant, I have not given it a place in the text.

ciples. And it came to pass that Paul having passed through the upper coasts” (viz. the above-named countries, called the upper coasts, as being the northern part of Asia Minor,) “ came to Ephesus.” Acts, xviii. 23; xix. 1. These thereforė, probably, were the last churches at which he left directions for their public conduct during his absence. Although two years intervened between his journey to Ephesus and his writing this epistle, yet it does not appear that during that time he visited any other church. That he had not been silent when he was in Galatia, upon this subject of contribution for the poor, is farther made out from a hint which he lets fall in his epistle to that church :

Only they (viz. the other apostles) would that we should remember the poor,

the same also which I was forward to do."

No. XI.

Chap. iv. 18. “Now, some are puffed up,, as though I would not come unto you.”

Why should they suppose that he would not come? Turn to the first chapter of the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, and you will find that he had already disappointed them : “I was minded to come unto you be

was not

fore, that you might have a second benefit ; and to pass by you into Macedonia, and to come again out of Macedonia unto you, and of you to be brought on my way toward Judea. When I, therefore, was thus minded, did I use lightness? Or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yea, yea, and nay, nay? But, as God is true, our word toward

you yea

and nay.” It appears from this quotation, that he had not only intended, but that he had promised them a visit before; for, otherwise, why should he apologise for the change of his purpose, or express so much anxiety lest this change should be imputed to any culpable fickleness in his temper; and lest he should thereby seem to them, as one whose word was not, in any sort, to be depended upon ? Besides which, the terms made use of, plainly refer to a promise, 66 Our word toward you was not yea and nay." St. Paul therefore had signified an intention which he had not been able to execute ; and this seeming breach of his word, and the delay of his visit, had, with some who were evil affected towards him, given birth to a suggestion that he would come no more to Corinth.

« EdellinenJatka »