Imatges de pÓgina
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The remaining books of the epistolary class are styled Catholic or General Epistles ; the qualifying word implying that they were not addressed to any particular branches or divisions of the early Church, or designed for a local application, but intended for the admonition and instruction of the believers in general, wherever they resided. The first, as they are ranged in our English version, is ascribed to the Apostle James; the second and third, to Peter; the fourth, fifth and sixth, to John; and the seventh, to Jude.

The serial arrangement of the Epistles was not intended to indicate the order of time in which they were severally written. The Epistle to the Romans, for instance, was not written, it is supposed, until about six years after the three letters which immediately follow it were composed: but it is placed before all the others because the canonical supervisors regarded the main subjects of which it treats as being of pre-eminent importance; and also, it is said, because of the dignity of Rome, “the imperial city,” whither it was directed. The Epistle to the Galatians is by some thought to have been written previously to any of the others, and should, therefore, in their opinion, be the first in a chronological arrangement.

Various students and critical inquirers have assigned different periods as the dates of the several writings we are considering: but as each hypothesis is characterized by uncertainty, I shall not weary you with a long disquisition upon the comparative accuracy of either one

of them; for it would necessarily be somewhat dry and uninteresting. In lieu thereof, I will merely present the following chronological table from the writings of Dr. NATHANIEL LARDNER, one of the most distinguished Biblical scholars in the world.* This table exhibits not only the periods of time at which he supposed the Epistles to have been written, but also the names of the places wherein each author is thought to have sojourned while engaged in the labor of composition. It should be remembered that the following dates are not based upon certainty, but are merely the results of conjectural estimate :

PAUL'S EPISTLES.

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EPISTLES.
PLACES.

DATEY. I. Thessalonians Corinth

• A. D. 52 II. Thessalonians - do.

52 Galatians Corinth or Epbesus

end of 52

or beginning of 53 I. Corinthians Ephesus

beginning of 56 1. Tiinothy Maredonia

56 Titus

Macedonia, or near it, before the end of 56 II. Corinthians

do.

about October, 57 Romans

Corinth

about February, 59 Ephesians Roine

about April, 61 II. Timothy do.

about May, 61 Philippians

do.

before the end of 62 Colossians do.

62 Philemon do.

62 Hebrews do: or Italy

· Spring of 63 SEVEN CATHOLIC OR GENERAL EPISTLES. James Judea

61

66

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or beginning of 62 I. and II. Peter Rome

- 64 1. John Ephesus

about 80 Il. and III. John

do.

between 80 and 90 Jude. Unknown

64 or 65.

* See Lardner's "Supplement to the Second Part of the Credibility of Ibro Gospel History.”.

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rusal of the exordium of for a local application, b ury that I could present in and instruction of th stances, local allusions and prethey resided. The' tion are explained by the connecglish version, is ase everally occur. ond and third, t John; and the which are ascribed to Paul exhibit great

The serial of character. They furnish indubitable ed to ind" (they are the production of a noble man—an several) whose mind was of a truly liberal stamp, alstance current of his thoughts and his course of reayear were colored somewhat by Jewish notions and

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illustrate the teachings of Christ, as he understood them.

As fine specimens of forcible and significant declamation, interspersed with intensely apposite figures of speech, could be selected from his writings, as may be found in almost any other composition. Like all truly great men, he manifests the spirit of unaffected modesty. He nowhere betrays any thing like unreasonable selfesteem, or even a vivid consciousness of his real superiority. Ilis speech, it is true, is sometimes very bold and confident: he is occasionally very positive, verging

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cherished, perhaps to the close of his life, 13 early Jewish predilections and errors, yet grew the superstitious idea of HOLY TIME which umed the basis of that austere sanctity with which the seventh day of the week had been so long observed. This is evident from the tolerant manner in which he speaks of this subject. Says he, “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it."* I understand him as expressing the idea, that he attached no great importance to the formal observance of any day, merely as a day; but, at the same time, if any one were deeply conscientious in regard to the matter, the observance might not be entirely unprofitable ; for his conscientiousness and purity of motive would hallow it, in some sense, and thereby make it consecrate “unto the Lord,”—as, indeed, are the harmless observances of every pure mind, even when logically mistaken as respects their supposed authority.

Perhaps the most remarkable portion of Paul's let* Romans, xiv. 5, 6.

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ejudices imbibed early in life. His style abounds in and well sustained throughout.

The remaining books of the epis, Jooks (aside from Catholic or General Epistles ; inculcate what they plying that they were not a ud morality) may be branches or divisions of th rusal of the exordium of for a local application, h ry that I could present in and instruction of th stances, local allusions and prethey resided. The' tion are explained by the connecglish version, is ase „everally occur. ond and third, ty John; and thr which are ascribed to Paul exhibit great The serial of character. They furnish indubitable

as they are the production of a noble man-an several] whose mind was of a truly liberal stamp, alstance current of his thoughts and his course of reayear were colored somewhat by Jewish notions and

and metaphors, and is never feeble, but energetic

affluent innagery is employed by his inventive mind illustrate the teachings of Christ, as he understood them. As fine specimens of forcible and significant declamation, interspersed with intensely apposite figures of speech, could be selected from his writings, as may be found in almost any other composition. Like all truly great men, he manifests the spirit of unaffected modesty. He nowhere betrays any thing like unreasonable selfesteem, or even a vivid consciousness of his real superiority. Ilis speech, it is true, is sometimes very bold and confident: he is occasionally very positive, verging

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