Page images
[ocr errors]

of two conclusions, deduced from independent sources, and deducible only by investigation and comparison.

This point, viz. the change of the route being prior to the writing of the first epistle, also falls in with, and accounts for, the manner in which he speaks in that epistle of his journey. His first intention had been, as he here declares, to “pass by them into Macedonia;" that intention having been previously given up, he writes, in his first epistle, “that he would not see them now by the way,” i. e. as he must have done upon his first plan; “but that he trusted to tarry awhile with them, and possibly to abide, yea and winter with them.(1 Cor. xvi. 5, 6.) It also accounts for a singularity in the text referred to, which must strike every reader: “I will come to you when I pass through Macedonia, for I do pass through Macedonia.” The supplemental sentence, “for I do pass through Macedonia," imports that there had been some previous communication upon the subject of the journey; and also that there had been some vacillation and indecisiveness in the apostle's plan; both which we now perceive to have been the case. The sentence is as much as to say, “this is what I at last resolve upon.” The expression “ötav Makedovlay diérow,” is ambiguous; it may denote either" when I pass, or when I shall have passed, through Macedonia :" the considerations offered above fix it to the latter sense. Lastly, the point we have endeavoured to make out, confirms, or rather indeed is necessary to the support of a conjecture, which forms the subject of a number in our observations upon the first epistle, that the insinuation of certain of the church of Corinth, that he would come no more amongst them, was founded in some previous disappointment of their expectations.

No. V. But if St. Paul had changed his purpose before the writing of the first epistle, why did he defer explaining himself to the Corinthians, concerning the reason of that change, until he wrote the second ? This is a very fair question; and we are able, I think, to return to it a satisfactory answer.

The real cause, and the cause at length assigned by St. Paul for postponing his visit to Corinth, and not travelling by the route which he had at first designed, was the disorderly state of the Corinthian church at the time, and the painful severities which he should have found himself obliged to exercise, if he had come amongst them during the existence of these irregularities. He was willing therefore to try, before he came in person, what a letter of authoritative objurgation would do amongst them, and to leave time for the operation of the experiment. That was his scheme in writing the first epistle. But it was not for him to acquaint them with the scheme. After the epistle had produced its effect (and to the utmost extent, as it should seem, of the apostle's hopes); when it had wrought in them a deep sense of their fault, and an almost passionate solicitude to restore themselves to the approbation of their teacher; when Titus (vii. 6, 7. 11) had brought him intelligence “ of their earnest desire, their mourning, their fervent mind towards him, of their sorrow and their penitence; what

carefulness, what clearing of themselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what revenge,” his letter, and the general concern occa

[ocr errors]

sioned by it, had excited amongst them; he then opens himself fully upon the subject. The affectionate mind of the apostle is touched by this return of zeal and duty. He tells them that he did not visit them at the time proposed, lest their meeting should have been attended with mutual grief; and with grief to him embittered by the reflection, that he was giving pain to those, from whom alone he could receive comfort: “I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness; for if I make you sorry, who is he that maketh me glad, but the same which is made sorry by me?” (ü. 1, 2) that

) he had written his former epistle to warn them beforehand of their fault, "lest when he came he should have sorrow of them of whom he ought to rejoice (. 3); that he had the farther view, though perhaps unperceived by them, of making an experiment of their fidelity, "to know the proof of them, whether they were obedient in all things" (ii. 9). This full discovery of his motive came very naturally from the apostle, after he had seen the success of his measures, but would not have been a reasonable communication before. The whole composes a train of sentiment and of conduct resulting from real situation, and from real circumstance, and as remote as possible from fiction or imposture.

No. VI. Chap. xi. 9 : “When I was present with you and wanted, I was chargeable to no man; for that which was lacking to me, the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied.” The principal fact set forth in this passage, the arrival at Corinth of brethren from Macedonia during St. Paul's first residence in

[ocr errors]

that city, is explicitly recorded (Acts xviii. 1. 5): “ After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth. And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ.”

No. VII. The above quotation from the Acts proves that Silas and Timotheus were assisting to St. Paul in preaching the gospel at Corinth. With which correspond the words of the epistle (i. 19): “For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea.” I do admit that the correspondency, considered by itself, is too direct and obvious; and that an impostor with the history before him might, and probably would, produce agreements of the same kind. But let it be remembered, that this reference is found in a writing, which from many discrepancies, and especially from those noted No. II., we may conclude, was not composed by any one who had consulted, and who pursued the history. Some observation also arises upon the variation of the name. We read Silas in the Acts, Silvanus in the epistle. The similitude of these two names, if they were the names of different persons, is greater than could easily have proceeded from accident; I mean that it is not probable, that two persons placed in situations so much alike, should bear names so nearly resembling each other.* On the other hand, the difference of the name in the two passages negatives the supposition of the passages,

* That they were the same person is farther confirmed by 1 Thess. i. 1, compared with Acts xvii. 10.

or the account contained in them, being transcribed either from the other.

No. VIII. Chap. ii. 12, 13: “When I came to Troas to preach Christ's gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord, I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus, my brother; but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia."

To establish a conformity between this passage and the history, nothing more is necessary to be presumed, than that St. Paul proceeded from Ephesus to Macedonia, upon the same course by which he came back from Macedonia to Ephesus, or rather to Miletus in the neighbourhood of Ephesus; in other words, that, in his journey to the peninsula of Greece, he went and returned the same way. St. Paul is now in Macedonia, where he had lately arrived from Ephesus. Our quotation imports that in his journey he had stopped at Troas. Of this, the history says nothing, leaving us only the short account, “that Paul departed from Ephesus, for to go into Macedonia.” But the history says (Acts xx.), that in his return from Macedonia to Ephesus, Paul sailed from Philippi to Troas ; and that, when the disciples came together on the first day of the week to break bread, Paul preached unto them all night; that from Troas he went by land to Assos, from Assos, taking ship and coasting along the front of Asia Minor, he came by Mytelene to Miletus. Which account proves, first, that Troas lay in the way by which St. Paul passed between Ephesus and Macedonia ; secondly, that he had disciples there. In one journey between these two places, the epistle, and in another journey between

« PreviousContinue »