Imatges de pÓgina

the third time I am coming to you :" in the verse following these words he adds, "I told you before, and foretell you, as if I were present the second time and being absent, now I write to them which heretofore have sinned, and to all other, that, if I come again, I will not spare." In this verse, the apostle is declaring beforehand what he would do in his intended visit: his expression therefore, 66 as if I were present the second time," relates to that visit. But, if his future visit would only make him present among them a second time, it follows that he had been already there but once. Again, in the fifteenth verse of the first chapter, he tells them, "In this confidence, I was minded to come unto you before, that ye might have a second benefit." Why a second, and not a third benefit? why deurepay, and not τριτην χαριν, if the τριτον ερχομαι, in the fifteenth chapter, meant a third visit? for, though the visit in the first chapter be that visit in which he was disappointed, yet, as it is evident from the epistle that he had never been at Corinth from the time of the disappointment to the time of writing the epistle, it follows, that if it was only a second visit in which he was disappointed, then, it could only be a second visit which he proposed now. But the text which I think is decisive of the question, if any question remain upon the subject, is the fourteenth verse of the twelfth chapter: "Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you:” Ιδου τρίτον ετοίμως εχω ελθειν. It is very clearthat the τριτον ετοίμως εχω ελθειν of the twelfth chapter and the τριτον τοῦτο ερχομαι of the thirteenth chapter, are equivalent expressions, were intended to convey the same meaning, and to relate to the same journey. The comparison of these phrases gives us St. Paul's own explanation of his own words; and it is that very explanation which we are contending for, viz. that τρίτον του το ερχομαι does not mean that he was coming a third time, but that this was the third


time he was in readiness to come, τρίτον ετοίμως έχων. I do not apprehend, that after this it can be necessary to call to our aid the reading of the Alexandrian manuscript, which gives Tops Ex Eλly in the thirteenth chapter as well as in the twelfth; or of the Syriac and Coptic versions, which follow that reading; because I allow that this reading, besides not being sufficiently supported by ancient copies, is probably paraphrastical, and has been inserted for the purpose of exwhich the pressing more unequivocally the sense, shorter expression τριτον τουτο ερχομαι was supposed to carry. Upon the whole, the matter is sufficiently certain nor do I propose it as a new interpretation of the text which contains the difficulty, for the same was given by Grotius long ago: But I thought it the clearest way of explaining the subject, to describe the manner in which the difficulty, the solution, and the proofs of that solution, successively presented themselves to my inquiries. Now in historical researches, a reconciled inconsistency becomes a positive argument. First, because an impostor generally guards against the appearance of inconsistency; and secondly, because, when apparent inconsistencies are found, it is seldom that any thing but truth renders them capable of reconciliation. The existence of the difficulty proves the want or absence of that caution, which usually accompanies the consciousness of fraud; and the solution proves, that it is not the collusion of fortuitous propositions which we have to deal with, but that a thread of truth winds through the whole, which preserves every circumstance in its place.

No. XII.

Chap. x. 14-16. "We are come as far as to you also, in preaching the gospel of Christ; not boasting of things without our measure, that is, of other men's labours; but having hope, when

your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged by you, according to our rule, abundantly to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you."

This quotation affords an indirect, and therefore unsuspicious, but at the same time a distinct and indubitable recognition of the truth and exactness of the history. I consider it to be implied by the words of the quotation, that Corinth was the extremity of St. Paul's travels hitherto. He expresses to the Corinthians his hope, that in some future visit he might " preach the gospel to the regions beyond them;" which imports that he had not hitherto proceeded "beyond them," but that Corinth was as yet the farthest point or boundary of his travels.-Now, how is St. Paul's first journey into Europe, which was the only one he had taken before the writing of the epistle, traced out in the history? Sailing from Asia, he landed at Philippi; from Philippi, traversing the eastern coast of the peninsula, he passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia to Thessalonica; from thence through Berea to Athens, and from Athens to Corinth, where he stopped; and from whence, after a residence of a year and a half, he sailed back into Syria. So that Corinth was the last place which he visited in the peninsula; was the place from which he returned into Asia; and was, as such, the boundary and limit of his progress. He could not have said the same thing, viz. "I hope hereafter to visit the regions beyond you," in an epistle to the Philippians, or in an epistle to the Thessalonians, inasmuch as he must be deemed to have already visited the regions beyond them, having proceeded from those cities to other parts of Greece. But from Corinth he returned home: every part therefore beyond that city, might properly be said, as it is said in the passage before us, to be unvisited. Yet is this propriety the spontaneous effect of truth, and produced without meditation or design.



No. I.

THE argument of this epistle in some measure proves its antiquity. It will hardly be doubted, but that it was written whilst the dispute concerning the circumcision of Gentile converts was fresh in men's minds; for, even supposing it to have been a forgery, the only credible motive that can be assigned for the forgery, was to bring the name and authority of the apostle into this controversy. No design can be so insipid, or so unlikely to enter into the thoughts of any man, as to produce an epistle written earnestly and pointedly upon one side of a controversy, when the controversy itself was dead, and the question no longer interesting to any description of readers whatever. Now the controversy concerning the circumcision of the Gentile Christians was of such a nature, that, if it arose at all, it must have arisen in the beginning of Christianity As Judea was the scene of the Christian history; as the Author and preachers of Christianity were Jews; as the religion itself acknowledged and was founded upon the Jewish religion, in contradistinction to every other religion then professed among mankind; it was not to be wondered at, that some of its teachers should carry it out in the world rather as a sect and modification of Judaism, than as a separate original revelation; or that they should invite their proselytes to those observances in which they lived themselves. This was likely to happen: but if it did not happen at first; if, whilst the religion was in the hands of Jewish teachers, no such claim was advanced, no such condition was attempted to be imposed, it is not probable that the doctrine would be started, much less that is should prevail, in any future period. I likewise think, that

those pretensions of Judaism were much more likely to be insisted upon, whilst the Jews continued a nation, than after their fall and dispersion; whilst Jerusalem and the temple stood, than after the destruction brought upon them by the Roman arms, the fatal cessation of the sacrifice and the priesthood, the humiliating loss of their country, and, with it, of the great rites and symbols of their institution. It should seem, therefore, from the nature of the subject, and the situation of the parties, that this controversy was carried on in the interval between the preaching of Christianity to the Gentiles, and the invasion of Titus; and that our present epistle, which was undoubtedly intended to bear a part in this controversy, must be referred to the same period.

But, again, the epistle supposes that certain designing adherents of the Jewish law had crept into the churches of Galatia; and had been endeavouring, and but too successfully, to persuade the Galatic converts, that they had been taught the new religion imperfectly, and at second hand; that the founder of their church himself possessed only an inferior and deputed commission, the seat of truth and authority being in the apostles and elders of Jerusalem; moreover, that whatever he might profess amongst them, he had himself at other times, and in other places, given way to the doctrine of circumcision. The epistle is unintelligible without supposing all this. Referring therefore to this, as to what had actually passed, we find St. Paul treating so unjust an attempt to undermine his credit, and to introduce amongst his converts a doctrine which he had uniformly reprobated, in terms of great asperity and indignation. And in order to refute the suspicions which had been raised concerning the fidelity of his teaching, as well as to assert the independency and divine original of his mission, we find him appealing to the history of his conversion, to his conduct under it, to the manner in which he had

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