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having studiously inserted it, either with a view of producing an apparant agreement between them, or for any other purpose whatever.
The context, by which the circumstance before us is introduced, is in the two places totally different, and without any mark of imitation; yet in both places does the circumstance rise aptly and naturally out of the context, and that context from the train of thought carried on in the epistle.
The Epistle to the Galatians, from the beginning to the end, runs in a strain of angry complaint of their defection from the apostle, and from the principles which he had taught them. It was very natural to contrast, with this conduct, the zeal with which they had once received him; and it was not less so to mention, as a proof of their former difpofition towards him, the indulgence which, whilst he was amongst them, they had shewn to his infirmity: 6 My “ temptation which was in the flesh ye de“ spised not, nor rejected, but received me “ as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. “ Where is then the blessedness you spake
“ of, i. e. the benedictions which you be“ ftowed upon med for I bear you record, " that if it had been possible, ye would “ have plucked out your own eyes, and “ have given them to me."
In the two epistles to the Corinthians, especially in the second, we have the apostle contending with certain teachers in Corinth, who had formed a party in that church against him. To vindicate his personal authority, as well as the dignity and credit of his miniftry amongst them, he takes occasion (but not without apologizing repeatedly for the folly, that is, for the indecorum of pronouncing his own panegyric*) to meet his adverfaries in their boastings: “ Wherein“ foever any is bold (I speak foolishly) I “ am bold also. Are they Hebrews? foam “ I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they
* « Would to God you would bear with me a little in “ my folly, and indeed bear with me." Chap. xi. ver. I.
« That which I speak, I speak it not after the Lord, * but as it were foolifhly, in this confidence of boast“ ing." Chap. xi. ver. 17.
“ I am become a fool in glorying, ye have compelled " me." Chap. xii. ver. II.
66 the feed of Abraham? so am I. Are “ they the ministers of Christ? (I speak " as a fool) I am more; in labours more “ abundant, in stripes above measure, in
prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.” Being led to the subject, he goes on, as was natural, to recount his trials and dangers, his inceffant cares and labours in the Christian mission. From the proofs which he had given of his zeal and activity in the service of Christ, he passes (and that with the same view of establishing his claim to be confidered as “ not a whit behind the very chiefest of the apostels") to the visions and revelations which from time to time had been vouchsafed to him. And then, by a close and easy connection, comes in the mention of his infirmity: “ Left I should be exalted, says he, " above measure, through the 66 abundance of revelations, there was given “ to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger 66 of Satan to buffet me.'
Thus then, in both epistles, the notice of his infirmity is suited to the place in which it is found. In the Epistle to the Corinthians, the train of thought draws up to the
circumstance by a regular approximation. In the epistle, it is suggested by the subject and occasion of the epistle itself. Which observation we offer as an argument to prove that it is not, in either epistle, a circumstance industriously brought forward for the sake of procuring credit to an impofture.
A reader will be taught to perceive the force of this argument, who shall attempt to introduce a given, circumstance into the body of a writing. To do this without abruptness, or without betraying marks of design in the transition, requires, he will find, more art than he expected to be necessary, certainly more than any one can believe to have been exercised in the composition of these epistles,
Chap. iv. ver. 29.
66 But as then he that was born after the flesh perfecuted him “ that was born after the spirit, even so is 66 it now.'
Chap. v. ver. 11. “i And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer
“ persecution ? Then is the offence of the o cross ceased.”
Chap. vi. ver. 17. “ From henceforth, « let no man trouble me, for I bear in my “ body the marks of the Lord Jesus.”
From these several texts, it is apparent that the persecutions which our apostle had undergone, were from the hands or by the instigation of the Jews; that it was not for preaching Christianity in opposition to heathenism, but it was for preaching it as distinct from Judaism, that he had brought upon himself the sufferings which had attended his ministry. And this representation perfectly coincides with that which results from the detail of St. Paul's history, as delivered in the Acts. At Antioci, in Pisidia, the 56 word of the Lord was published through“ out all the region ; but the Jews ftirred s up the devout and honourable women and " the chief men of the city, and raised per“ fecution against Paul and Barnabas, and sc expelled them out of their coasts.” (Acts, chap. xiii. ver. 50). Not long after, at Iconium, “ a great multitude of the Jews " and also of the Greeks believed; but the