Page images
PDF
EPUB

CHAP. IV.

THE SECOND EPISTLE TO THE

CORINTHIANS.

No. I.

T WILL not say that it is impossible,

having seen the first Epistle to the Corinthians, to construct a second with ostenfible allusions to the first; or that it is impossible that both should be fabricated, so as to carry on an order and continuation of story, by successive references to the same events. But I say, that this, in either case, must be the effect of craft and design. Whereas, whoever examines the allusions to the former epistle, which he finds in this, whilst he will acknowledge them to be such, as would rise spontaneously to the hand of the writer, from the very subject of the correspondence, and the situation of the corresponding parties, supposing these to be real, will see no particle of reason to suspect, either that the clauses containing these allu

fions were insertions for the purpose, or that the several transactions of the Corinthian church were feigned, in order to form a train of narrative, or to support the appearance of connection between the two epistles.

1. In the first epistle, St. Paul announces his intention of passing through Macedonia, in his way to Corinth: “I will come to you “ when I shall pass through Macedonia.” In the second epistle, we find him arrived in Macedonia, and about to pursue his journey to Corinth. But observe the manner in which this is made to appear :

6 I know “ the forwardness of your mind, for which “ I boast of you to them of Macedonia, " that Achaia was ready a year ago, and

your zeal had provoked very many : yet have I sent the brethren, lest our boasting of

you

should be in yain in this “ behalf; that, as I said, ye may be ready, “ lest haply, if they of Macedonia come " with me, and find you unprepared, we, “ that we say not you, be ashamed in this “ same confident boasting” (chap.ix.2, 3,4), St. Paul's being in Macedonia at the time of writing the epistle, is, in this pasiage, in

ferred

H 2

ferred only from his saying, that he had boasted to the Macedonians of the alacrity of his Achaian converts; and the fear which he expresses, left, if any of the Macedonian Christians should come with him unto Achaia, they should find his boasting unwarranted by the event. The business of the contribution is the sole cause of mentioning Macedonia at all. Will it be insinuated that this passage was framed merely to state that St. Paul was now in Macedonia ; and, by that statement, to produce an apparent agreement with the purpose of visiting Macedonia, notified in the first epistle? Or will it be thought probable, that, if a sophist had meant to place St. Paul in Macedonia, for the sake of giving countenance to his forgery, he would have done it in so oblique a manner as through the medium of the contribution? The same thing may be observed of another text in the epistle, in which the name of Macedonia occurs : “ Furthermore, when I came " to Troas to preach the gospel, and a door

was opened unto me of the Lord, I had 4 no rest in my spirit, because I found not

Titus,

- Titus, my

brother ; but taking my leave “ of them, I went from thence into Mace. “ donia.” I mean, that it

may

be observed of this passage also, that there is a reason for mentioning Macedonia, entirely distinct from the purpose of shewing St. Paul to be there. Indeed, if the passage before us shew that point at all, it shews it so oscurely, that Grotius, though he did not doubt that Paul was now in Macedonia, refers this text to a different journey. Is this the hand of a forger, meditating to establish a false conformity? The text, however, in which it is most strongly implied that St. Paul wrote the present epistle from Macedonia, is found in the fourth, fifth, and fixth verses of the seventh chapter: “ I am filled with comfort, “ I am exceeding joyful in all our tribula“ tion; for, when we were come into Mace“ donia, our flesh had no reft; without were

fightings, within were fears; neverthe“ less God, that comforteth those that are “ cast down, comforted us by the coming 66 of Titus. Yet even here, I think, no one will contend, that St. Paul's coming to Macedonia, or being in Macedonia, was the

princ

[ocr errors]

H 3

principal thing intended to be told; or that the telling of it indeed, was any part of the intention with which the text was written; or that 'the merition even of the name of Macedonia was not purely incidental, in the description of those tumultuous sorrows with which the writer's mind had been lately agitated, and from which he was relieved by the coming of Titus. The five first verses of the eighth chapter, which commend the libcrality of the Macedonian churches, do not, in my opinion, by themselves, prove St. Paul to have been in Macedonia at the time of writing the epistle.

2. In the first epistle, St. Paul denounces a severe cenfure against an incestuous marriage, which had taken place amongst the Corinthian converts, with the connivance, not to say with the approbation, of the church ; and enjoins the church to purge itself of this scandal, by expelling the offender from its fociety : - It is reported

commonly, that there is fornication among

you, and such fornication, as is not so “ much as named'amongst the Gentiles, that " one should have his father's wife; and ye

« PreviousContinue »