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CH A P. XI.
THE FIRST EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY.
"ROM the third verse of the first chap
ter, “as I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus when I went into Macedonia," it is evident that this epistle was written soon after St. Paul had gone to Macedonia from Ephesus. Dr. Benson fixes its date to the time of St. Paul's journey, recorded in the beginning of the twentieth chapter of the Acts: “ And after the uproar (excited
by Demetrius at Ephesus) was ceased, “ Paul called unto him the disciples, and “ embraced them, and departed for to go “ into Macedonia.” And in this opinion Dr. Benson is followed by Michaelis, as he was
which had not been received “to whom they gave no
nor be dismayed by any revelation, or discourse, or epistle, whichi any one “ shall pretend to have heard or received from us."
preceded by the greater part of the commentators who have considered the question." There is, however, one objection to the hypothesis which these learned men appear to me to have overlooked ; and it is no other than this, that the superscription of the second epistle to the Corinthians seems to prove,
that at the time St. Paul is supposed by them to have written this epistle to Timothy, Timothy in truth was with St. Paul in Macedonia, Paul, as it is related in the Acts, left Ephesus “ for to go into Mace“ donia.” When he had got into Macedonia he wrote his second epistle to the Corinthians. Concerning this point there.exists little variety of opinion. It is plainly indicated by the contents of the epistle. It is also strongly implied that the epistle was written foon after the apostle's arrival in Macedonia ; for he begins his letter by a train of reflection, referring to his persecutions in Asia as to recent transactions, as to dangers from which he had lately been delivered. But in the salutation with which the epistle opens Timothy is joined with St. Paul, and consequently could not
at that time be “ left behind at Ephesus.”. And as to the only solution of the difficulty which can be thought of, viz. that Timothy, though he was left behind at Ephesus upon St. Paul's departure from Asia, yet might follow him so soon after, as to come up with the apostle in Macedonia, before he wrote his epistle to the Corinthians; that fupposition is inconsistent with the terms and tenor of the epistle throughout. For the writer speaks uniformly of his intention to return to Timothy at Ephesus, and not of his expecting Timothy to come to him in Macedonia : “These things write I unto 66 thee, hoping to come unto thee mortly; but “ if I tarry long that thou mayest know “ how thou oughtest to behave thyself” (chap. iii. ver. 14, 15). Till I come give “ attendance to reading, to exhortation, to i doctrine” (chap. iv, ver. 13). .
Since, therefore, the leaving of Timothy behind at Ephesus, when Paul went into Macedonia, suits not with any journey into Macedonia recorded in the Acts, I concur with Bishop Pearson in placing the date of this epistle, and the journey referred to in
it, at a period subsequent to St. Panl's first imprisonment at Rome, and consequently subsequent to the æra, up to which the Acts of the Apostles brings his history. The only difficulty which attends our opinion is, that St. Paul must, according to us, have come to Ephesus after his liberation at Rome, contrary as it should seem to what he foretold to the Ephesian elders, “ that they should see his face no more.” And it is to save the infallibility of this prediction, and for no other reason of weight, that an earlier date is assigned to this epistle. The prediction itself however, when considered in connection with the circumstances under which it was delivered, does not seem to demand so much anxiety. The words in question are found in the twenty-fifth verse of the twentieth chapter of the Acts : “And now be-, “ hold, I know that. ye all,'among whom " I have gone preaching the kingdom of “God, shall see my face no more." In the twenty-second and twenty-third verses of the same chapter, i. e, two verses before, the apostle makes this declaration : “ And “ now behold, I go bound in the spirit
“ unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things " that shall befall me there ; save that the " Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, say“ing, that bonds and afflictions abide me.” This “ witnessing of the Holy Ghost" was undoubtedly prophetic and supernatural. But it went no father than to foretel that bonds and afflictions awaited him. And I. can very well conceive, that this might be all which was communicated to the apostle by extraordinary revelation, and that the rest was the conclusion of his own mind, the desponding inference which he drew from strong and repeated intimations of approaching danger. And the expression 6. I know,” which St. Paul here uses, does not perhaps, when applied to future events affecting himself, convey an assertion so positive and absolute as we may at first sight apprehend. In the first chapter of the epistle to the Philippians and the twentyfifth verse, " I know,” says he, “ that I shall “ abide and continue with you all for your “ joy and furtherance of faith.” Notwithstanding this strong declaration, in the second chapter and twenty-third verse of this Y 4