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T H E SUBSCRIPTIONS OF THE E P ISTI, Es.
IX of thefe fubfcriptions are falfe or improbable; that is, they are either abfolutely contradiéted by the contents of the epiftle, or are difficult to be reconciled with them. I. The fubfcription of the firft epiftle to the Corinthians ftates that it was written from Philippi, notwithftanding that, in the fixteenth chapter and the eighth verfe of the epiftle, [St. Paul informs the Corinthians, that he will ** tarry at Ephefus until Pente** coft;" and notwithftanding that hebegins the falutations in the epiftle, by telling them ** the churches of Afia fàlute you;” a pretty evident indiçation that he himfelf was in Afia at this time. II. The epiftle to the Galatians is by the fubfcription dated from Rome; yet, in the epiftle itfelf, St. Paul expreffes his furprife • * ' , that ** that they were fo fòon removing from him ** that called them;” whereas hisjourney to - Rome was ten years pofterior to the converfion of the Galatians. And what, I think, is more conclufive, the author, though fpeaking of himfelfin this more than any other epiftle, doés not once mention his bonds, or call himfelfa prifoner ; which he had not failed to do in every one of the four epiftles written from that city, and during that imprifonment. III. The firft epiftle to the Theffalonians was written, the fubfcription tell us, from Athens; yet the epiftle refers exprefsly to the coming of Timotheus from Theffalonica (ch. iii. ver. 6); and the hiftory informs us, A&ts xviii. ver. 5, that Timothy came out of Macedonia to St. Paul at Corjnth. IV. The fecond epiflle to the Theffalonians is dated, and without any difcoverable reafon, from Athens alfo. If it be truly the fecomd; ifit refer, as it appears to do (ch. ii ver. 2), to the firft, and the firft was written from Corinth, the place muft be erroneoufly affigned, for the hiftory does not allow us to fuppofethatSt. Paul, after he had reached Corinth, went back to Athens. V. The firft epiftle to Timothy the fubfcription afferts to have been fent from Laodicea ; yet, when St. Paul writes, ** I be** fought thee to abide ftill at Ephefus, ** rogsvoμενος εις Maxeöovvav (when I fet out ** for Macedonia),'' the reader is naturally led to conclude, that he wrote the letter upon his arrival in that country. VI. The epiftle to Titus is dated from Nicopolis in Macedonia, whilft no city of that name is known to have exifted in that province, I. The ufe, and the only ufe, which I make of thefe obfervations, is to fhow, how eafily errors and contradi&tions fteal in where the writer is not guided by original knowledge. There are only eleven diftin&t affignments of date to St. Paul's epiftles (for the four written from Rome may be confidered as plainly cotemporary); and ofthefe, fixfeem to be erroneous. I do not attribute any authority to thefe fubfcriptions. I believe them to have been conje&ures founded fometimes upon loofe traditions, but more
generally upon a confideration of fome particular text, without fufficiently comparing in with other parts of the epiftle, with different epiftles, or with the hiftory. Suppofe then that the fubfcriptions had come down to us as authentic parts of the epiftles, there would have been more contrarieties and difficulties arifing out ofthefe final verfes, than from all the reftofthe volume. Yet, ifthe epiftles had been forged, the whole muft have been made up of the fame elements as thofe of which the fubfcriptions are com
pofed, viz. tradition, conje&ture, and inference : and it would have remained to be accounted for, how, whilft fo many errors were crowded into the concluding claufes of the letters, fo much confiftency fhould be
preferved in other parts.
The fame refle&ion arifes from obferving the overfights and miftakes which learned men have committed, when arguing upon allufions which relate to time and place, or
when endeavouring to digeft fcattered circumftances into a continued ftory. It is indeed the fame cafe ; for thefe fubfcrip
tions muft be regarded as ancient fcholia, . and and is nothing more. Ofthis liability toerror I can prefènt the reader with a notable inftance ; and which I bring forward for no other purpofe than. that to which I apply the erroneous fubfcriptions. Ludovicus Capellus, in that part of his Hiftoria ApoftolicaIlluftrata, whichis entitled DeOrdine Epift. Paul. writing upon the fecond epifle to the Corinthians, triumphs unmercifully over the want of fagacity in Baronius, who, it feems, makes St. Paul write his epiftle to Titus from Macedonia upon his fecond vifit into that province ; whereas it appears from the hiftory, ThatTitus, inftead of being in Crete where the epiftle places him, was at that time fent by the apoftle from Macedonia to Corinth. ** Animadvertere eft," fays Capellus, ** magnam hominis illius ** α£λεύμων, qui vult Titum a Paulo in Cre** tamabduétum, illicque reli&um,cuminde ** Nicopolim navigaret, quem temen agnof** cit a Paulo ex Macedonià miffum effe Co** rinthum.” This probably will be thought a dete&tion of inconfiftency in Baronius. But what is the moft remarkable, is, that in the fame chapter in which he thus in