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THE SECOND EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY.
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 concern'ing 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 present.
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 (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." (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 Philemon. 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 profitable to me for the ministry." (iv. 11.)
The case of Timothy and of Mark might be very well accounted for, by supposing the present epistle to have been written before the others; so that Timothy, who is here exhorted "to come shortly unto him," (iv. 9.) might have arrived, and that Mark, "whom he was to bring with him," (iv. 11.) might have also reached Rome in sufficient time to have been with St. Paul when
the four epistles were written; but then such a supposition is inconsistent with what is said of Demas, by which the posteriority of this to the other epistles is strongly indicated for in the other epistles Demas was with St. Paul; in the present he hath "forsaken him, and is gone to Thessalonica." The opposition also of sentiment, with respect to the event of the prosecution, is hardly reconcilable to the same impri
The two following considerations, which were first suggested upon this question by Ludovicus Cappellus, are still more conclusive.
1. In the twentieth verse of the fourth chapter, St. Paul informs Timothy, "that Erastus abode at Corinth,” Εραστος εμεινεν εν Κορινθῳ. The form of expression implies, that Erastus had stayed behind at Corinth, when St. Paul left it. But this could not be meant of any journey from Corinth which St. Paul took prior to his first imprisonment at Rome; for when Paul departed from Corinth, as related in the twentienth chapter of the Acts, Timothy was with him and this was the last time the apostle left Corinth before his coming to Rome; because he left it to proceed on his way to Jerusalem; soon after his arrival at which place he was taken into custody, and continued in that custody till he was carried to Cæsar's tribunal. There could be no need therefore to inform Timothy that "Erastus stayed behind at Corinth" upon this occasion, because if the fact was so, it must have been known to Timothy, who was present, as well as to St. Paul.
2. In the same verse our epistle also states the following article:"Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick." When St. Paul passed through Miletum on his way to Jerusalem, as related Acts xx. Trophimus was not left behind, but accompanied him to that city. He was indeed the occasion of the uproar at Jerusalem in consequence of which St. Paul was apprehended; for "they had
seen," says the historian, "before with him in the city, Trophimus an Ephesian, whom they supposed that Paul had brought into the temple.' This was evidently the last time of Paul's being at Miletus before his first imprisonment; for, as hath been said, after his apprehension at Jerusalem, he remained in custody till he was sent to Rome.
In these two articles we have a journey referred to, which must have taken place subsequent to the conclusion of St. Luke's history, and of course after St. Paul's liberation from his first imprisonment. The epistle, therefore, which contains this reference, since it appears from other parts of it to have been written while St. Paul was a prisoner at Rome, proves that he had returned to that city again, and undergone there a second imprisonment.
I do not produce these particulars for the sake of the support which they lend to the testimony of the fathers, concerning St. Paul's second imprisonment, but to remark their consistency and agreement with one another. They are all resolvable into one supposition: and although the supposition itself be in some sort only negative, viz. that the epistle was not written during St. Paul's first residence at Rome, but in some future imprisonment in that city; yet is the consistency not less worthy of observation: for the epistle touches upon names and circumstances connected with the date and with the history of the first imprisonment, and mentioned in letters written during that imprisonment, and so touches upon them, as to leave what is said of one consistent with what is said of others, and consistent also with what is said of them in different epistles. Had one of these circumstances been so described as to have fixed the date of the epistle to the first imprisonment, it would have involved the rest in contradiction. And when the number and particularity of the articles which have been
brought together under this head are considered; and when it is considered also, that the comparisons we have formed amongst them, were in all probability neither provided for, nor thought of, by the writer of the epistle, it will be deemed something very like the effect of truth, that no invincible repugnancy is perceived between them.
In the Acts of the Apostles, in the sixteenth chapter, and at the first verse, we are told that Paul "came to Derbe and Lystra, and behold a certain disciple was there named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek." In the epistle before us, in the first chapter and at the fourth verse, St. Paul writes to Timothy thus: "Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy, when I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother, Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also." Here we have a fair unforced example of coincidence. In the history, Timothy was the son of a Jewess that believed:" in the epis tle St. Paul applauds "the faith which dwelt in his mother Eunice." In the history it is said of the mother, "that she was a Jewess, and believed?" of the father, "that he was a Greek." Now when it is said of the mother alone "that she believed," the father being nevertheless mentioned in the same sentence, we are led to suppose of the father that he did not believe, i. e. either that he was dead, or that he remained unconverted. Agreeably hereunto, whilst praise is bestowed in the epistle upon one parent, and upon her sincerity in the faith, no notice is taken of the other. The mention of the grandmother is the addition of a circumstance not found in the history; but it is a circumstance which, as well as the names of the parties, might naturally be