Imatges de pÓgina

as in the case of Peter, Acts, chap. xii. 6. two chains were employed; and it is said upon his miraculous deliverance, that the “chains” (åλvσe5, in the plural) "fell from his hands." Δεσμος, the noun, and is the verb, being general terins, were applicable to this in common with any other species of personal coercion ; but λvos, in the singular number, to none but this.


If it can be expected that the writer of the present epistle, who in no other particular appears to have availed himself of the information concerning St. Paul delivered in the Acts, had, in this verse, borrowed the word which he read in that book, and had adapted his expression to what he found there recorded of St. Paul's treatment at Rome; in short, that the coincidence here noted was effected by craft and design; I think it a strong reply to remark, that, in the parallel passage of the Epistle to the Colossians, the same allusion is not preserved: the words there are, praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds," di i nas dopa. After what has been shown in a preceding number, there can be little doubt but that these two epistles were written by the same person. If the writer, therefore, sought for, and fraudulently inserted, the correspondency into one epistle, why did he not do it in the other? A real prisoner might use either general words which comprehended this amongst many other modes of custody; or might use appropriate words which specified this, and distinguished it from any other mode. It would be accidental which form of expression he fell upon. But an impostor, who had the art, in one place, to employ the appropriate term for the purpose of fraud, would have used it in both places.



No. I.

WHEN a transaction is referred to in such a manner as that the reference is easily and immediately understood by those who are beforehand, or from other quarters, acquainted with the fact, but is obscure, or imperfect, or requires investigation, or a comparison of different parts, in order to be made clear to other readers, the transaction so referred to is probably real; because, had it been fictitious, the writer would have set forth his story more fully and plainly, not merely as conscious of the fiction, but as conscious that his readers could have no other knowledge of the subject of his allusion than from the information of which he put them in possession.

The account of Epaphroditus, in the Epistle to the Philippians, of his journey to Rome, and of the business which brought him thither, is the article to which I mean to apply this observation. There are three passages in the epistle which relate to this subject. The first, chap. i. 7." Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are συγκοινωνοι μου της χαριτ Tos, joint contributors to the gift which I have received."* Nothing more is said in this place. In the latter part of the second chapter, and at the distance of half the epistle from the last quotation, the subject appears again; "Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my bro

* Pearce, I believe, was the first commentator, who gave this sense to the expression: and I believe also, that his exposition is now generally assented to. He interprets in the same sense the phrase in the fifth verse, which our translation renders "your fellowship in the gospel ;" but which in the original is not κοινωνία του ευαγγελίου, ΟΥ̓ κοινωνίας εν τω ευαγγελιῳ; but κοινωνια εις το ευαγγελιον.

ther and companion in labour, and fellow soldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants: for he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick for indeed he was sick nigh unto death; but God had mercy on him, and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. I sent him therefore the more carefully, that when ye see him again ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful. Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation: because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life to supply your lack of service towards me." Chap. ii. 25-30. The matter is here dropped, and no farther mention made of it till it is taken up near the conclusion of the epistle as follows: "But I rejoice in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again, wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in respect of want; for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things, I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound, and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Notwithstanding, ye have well done that ye did communicate with my affliction. Now, ye Philippians, know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me, as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. Not because I desire a gift; but I desire fruit that may abound to your account. But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you." Chap. iv. 10-18. To the Philippian reader, who knew that contributions were wont to be made in that church for the

apostle's subsistence and relief, that the supply which they were accustomed to send him had been delayed by the want of opportunity, that Epaphroditus had undertaken the charge of conveying their liberality to the hands of the apostle, that he had acquitted himself of this commission at the peril of his life, by hastening to Rome under the oppression of a grievous sickness; to a reader who knew all this beforehand, every line in the above quotations would be plain and clear. But how is it with a stranger? The knowledge of these several particulars is necessary to the perception and explanation of these references; yet that knowledge must be gathered from a comparison of passages lying at a great distance from one another. Texts must be interpreted by texts long subsequent to them, which necessarily produces embarrassment and suspense. The passage quoted from the beginning of the epistle contains an acknowledgment on the part of the apostle, of the liberality which the Philippians had exercised towards him; but the allusion is so general and indeterminate, that, had nothing more been said in the sequel of the epistle, it would hardly have been applied on this occasion at all. In the second quotation, Epaphroditus is declared to have "ministered to the apostle's wants," and "to have supplied their lack of service towards him;" but how, that is, at whose expense, or from what fund he "ministered" or what was "the lack of service" which he supplied, are left very much unexplained, till we arrive at the third quotation, where we find that Epaphroditus "ministered to St. Paul's wants," only by conveying to his hands the contributions of the Philippians: "I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you" and that "the lack of service which he supplied" was a delay or interruption of their accustomed bounty, occasioned by the want of opportunity: "[ rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last

your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity." The affair at length comes out clear, but it comes out by piecemeal. The clearness is the result of the reciprocal illustration of divided texts. Should any one choose therefore, to insinuate, that this whole story of Epaphroditus, or his journey, his errand, his sickness, or even his existence, might, for what we know, have no other foundation than in the invention of the forger of the epistle; I answer, that a forger would have set forth his story connectedly, and also more fully and more perspicuously. If the epistle be authentic, and the transaction real, then every thing which is said concerning Epaphroditus and his commission, would be clear to those into whose hands the epistle was expected to come. Considering the Philippians as his readers, a person might naturally write upon the subject, as the author of the epistle has written; but there is no supposition of forgery with which it will suit.

No. II.

The history of Epaphroditus supplies another observation: Indeed he was sick, nigh unto death; but God had mercy on him, and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow." In this passage, no intimation is given that Epaphroditus's recovery was miraculous. It is plainly, I think, spoken of as a natural event. This instance, together with one in the Second Epistle to Timothy, ("Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick,") affords a proof that the power of performing cures, and, by parity of reason, of working other miracles, was a power which only visited the apostles occasionally, and did not at all depend upon their own will. Paul undoubtedly would have healed Epaphroditus if he could. Nor, if the power of working cures had awaited his disposal, would he have left his fellow-traveller at Miletum sick, This,


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