Page images

the epistle ; and not only so, but to have suffered these persecutions both in immediate succession, and in the order in which the cities are mentioned in the epistle. The conformity also extends to another circumstance. In the apostolic history Lystra and Derbe are commonly mentioned together : in the quotation from the epistle Lystra is mentioned, and not Derbe. And the distinction will appear on this occasion to be accurate ; for St. Paul is here enumerating his persecutions: and although he underwent grievous persecutions in each of the three cities through which he passed to Derbe, at Derbe itself he met with none: “ The next day he departed,” says the historian, “to Derbe; and when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra.” The epistle, therefore, in the names of the cities, in the order in which they are enumerated, and in the place at which the enumeration stops, corresponds exactly with the history.

But a second question remains, namely, how these persecutions were “known” to Timothy, or why the apostle should recall these in particular to his remembrance, rather than many other persecutions with which his ministry had been attended. When some time, probably three years, afterwards (vide Pearson's Annales Paulini), St. Paul made a second journey through the same country, "in order to go again and visit the brethren in every city where he had preached the word of the Lord,” we read, Acts xvi. 1, that, “when he came to Derbe and Lystra, behold, a certain disciple was there named Timotheus.” One or other therefore of these cities was the place of Timothy's abode. We read moreover that he was


well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium ; so that he must have been well acquainted with these places. Also again, when Paul came to Derbe and Lystra, Timothy was already a disciple: “Behold a certain disciple was there named Timotheus." He must, therefore, have been converted before. But since it is expressly stated in the epistle, that Timothy was converted by Paul himself, that he

“ his own son in the faith ;” it follows that he must have been converted by him upon his former journey into those parts; which was the very time when the apostle underwent the persecutions referred to in the epistle. Upon the whole then, persecutions at the several cities named in the epistle are expressly recorded in the Acts; and Timothy's knowledge of this part of St. Paul's history, which knowledge is appealed to in the epistle, is fairly deduced from the place of his abode, and the time of his conversion.

further be observed, that it is probable from this account, that St. Paul was in the midst of these persecutions when Timothy became known to him. No wonder then that the apostle, though in a letter written long afterwards, should remind his favourite convert of those scenes of affliction and distress under which they first met.

Although this coincidence, as to the names of the cities, be more specific and direct than many which we have pointed out, yet I apprehend there is no just reason for thinking it to be artificial; for had the writer of the epistle sought a coincidence with the history upon this head, and searched the Acts of the Apostles for the purpose, I conceive he would have sent us at once to Philippi and Thessalonica, where Paul suffered persecution, and where, from what is

It may

stated, it may easily be gathered that Timothy accompanied him, rather than have appealed to persecutions as known to Timothy, in the account of which persecutions Timothy's presence is not mentioned; it not being till after one entire chapter, and in the history of a journey three years future to this, that Timothy's name occurs in the Acts of the Apostles for the first time.


The Epistle to Titus.


No. I. A very characteristic circumstance in this epistle, is the quotation from Epimenides (i. 12): “One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, the Cretians are always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies."

Κρήτες αεί ψεύσται, κακά θηρία, γαστέρες αργαί. I call this quotation characteristic, because no writer in the New Testament, except St. Paul, appealed to heathen testimony; and because St. Paul repeatedly did so. In his celebrated speech at Athens, preserved in the seventeenth chapter of the Acts, he tells his audience, that “in God we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, for we are also his offspring.”

-του γάρ και γένος εσμέν. The reader will perceive much similarity of manner in these two passages. The reference in the speech is to a heathen poet; it is the same in the epistle. In

; the speech the apostle urges his hearers with the authority of a poet of their own; in the epistle he avails himself of the same advantage. Yet there is a variation, which shows that the hint of inserting a quotation in the epistle was not, as it may be suspected, borrowed from seeing the like practice attributed to St. Paul in the history; and it is this, that in the epistle the author cited is called a prophet,

one of themselves, even a prophet of their own. Whatever might be the reason for calling Epimenides a prophet; whether the names of poet and prophet were occasionally convertible; whether Epimenides in particular had obtained that title, as Grotius seems to have proved; or whether the appellation was given to him, in this instance, as having delivered a description of the Cretan character, which the future state of morals amongst them verified; whatever was the reason (and any of these reasons will account for the variation, supposing St. Paul to have been the author), one point is plain, namely, if the epistle had been forged, and the author had inserted a quotation in it merely from having seen an example of the same kind in a speech ascribed to St. Paul, he would so far have imitated his original, as to have introduced his quotation in the same manner; that is, he would have given to Epimenides the title which he saw there given to Aratus. The other side of the alternative is that the history took the hint from the epistle. But that the author of the Acts of the Apostles had not the Epistle to Titus before him, at least that he did not use it as one of the documents or materials of his narrative, is rendered nearly certain by the observation that the name of Titus does not once occur in his book.

It is well known, and was remarked by St. Jerome, that the apothegm in the fifteenth chapter of the Corinthians, ver. 13,"evil communications corrupt good manners,” is an Iambic of Menander's :

Φθείρουσιν ήθη χρήσθ' ομιλίαι κακαί. Here we have another unaffected instance of the same turn and habit of composition. Probably there are some hitherto unnoticed; and more, which the loss of the original authors renders impossible to be now ascertained.

No. II. There exists a visible affinity between the epistle to Titus and the first Epistle to Timothy. Both letters were addressed to persons left by the writer to preside in their respective churches during his absence, Both letters are principally occupied in describing the qualifications to be sought for, in those whom they should appoint to offices in the church ; and the ingredients of this description are in both letters nearly the same. Timothy and Titus are likewise cautioned against the same prevailing corruptions, and, in particular, against the same misdirection of their cares and studies. This affinity obtains, not only in the subject of the letters, which, from the similarity of situation in the persons to whom they were addressed, might be expected to be somewhat alike, but extends, in a great variety of instances, to the phrases and expressions. The writer accosts his two friends with the same salutation, and passes on to the business of his letter by the same transition.

“Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith : grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father, and Jesus Christ our Lord. As I besought thee to abide still at

« PreviousContinue »