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St. Paul at the time (c. XX. v. 6.), concerning any contribution, might lead us to look out for some different journey, or might induce us perhaps to question the consistency of the two records, did not a very accidental reference, in another part of the same history, afford us sufficient ground to believe that this silence was omission. When St. Paul made his reply before Felix, to the accusations of Tertullus; he alleged, as was natural, that neither the errand which brought him to Jerusalem, nor his conduct whilst he remained there, merited the calumnies with which the Jews had aspersed him. “ Now after many years (i. e. of absence) I came to bring alms to my nation and offerings; whereupon certain Jews from Asia found me purified in the temple, neither with multitude nor with tumult, who ought to have been here before thee, and object, if they had aught against me.” Acts, xxiv. 17-19. This mention of alms and offerings certainly brings the narrative in the Acts nearer to an accordancy with the epistle ; yet no one, I am persuaded, will suspect that this clause was put into St. Paul's defence, either to supply the omission in the preceding narrative, or with any view to such accordancy.
3 After all, nothing is yet said or hinted concerning the place of the contribution; nothing concerning Macedonia and Achaia. Turn therefore to the First Epistle to the Corinthians, chap. xvi. ver. 1-4, and you have St. Paul delivering the following directions : “ Concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galația, even so do yė; upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. And when I come, whomsoever you shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem ; and if it be meet that I go also, they shall go with me. In this passage we find a contribution carrying on at Corinth, the capital of Achaia, for the Christjans of Jerusalem: we find also a hint given of the possibility of St. Paul going up to Jerusalem himself, after he had paid his visit into Achaia : but this is spoken of rather as a possibility than as any settled intention ; for his first thought was, “ Whomsoever you shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality to Jerusalem:” and in the sixth verse he adds, “ That ye may bring me on my journey whithersoever
I go.” This epistle purports to be written after St. Paul had been at Corinth; for it refers throughout to what he had done and said amongst them whilst he was there. The expression, therefore, :“ when I come,” must relate to a second visit; against which visit the contribution spoken of was desired to be in readiness.
But though the contribution in Achaia be expressly mentioned, nothing is here saie concerning any contribution in Macedonia, Turn therefore in the third place, to the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, chap. viii. ver. 1–4, and you will discover the particu lar which remains to be sought for; “Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia ; how that, in a great trial of affliction, the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality: for to their powerI bear record, yea and beyond their power, they were willing of themselyes; praying us, with much entreaty, that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.” To which add, chap. ix. ver. 2: “ I know the forwardness of your · mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago.” In this epistle we find St. Paul advanced as far as Macedonia, upon that second, visit to Corinth which he promised in his former epistle : we find also, in the passages now quoted from it, that a contribution was going on in Macedonia at the same time with, or soon however following, the contribution which was made in Achaia; but for whom the contribution was made does not appear in this epistle at all : that information must be supplied from the first epistle.
Here therefore, at length, but fetched from three different writings, we have obtained the several circumstances we inquired after, and which the Epistle to the Romans brings together, viz. a contribution in Achaia for the Christians of Jerusalem ; a contribution in Macedonia for the same; and an approaching journey of St. Paul to Jerusalem. We have these circumstances each by some hint in the passage in which it is mentioned, or by the date of the writing in which the passage occurs—fixed to a particular time; and we have that time turning out, upon examination, to be in all the same : namely, towards the close of St. Paul's second visit to the peninsula of Greece. This is an in
stance of conformity beyond the possibility, I will venture to say, of random writing to produce. Į also assert, that it is in the highest degree improbable that it should have been the effect of contrivance and design. The imputation of design amounts to this : that the forger of the Epistle to the Romans inserted in it the passage upon which our observations are founded, for the purpose of giving colour to his forgery by the appearance of conformity with other writa ings which were then extant. I reply, in the first place, that, if he did this to coun, tenance his forgery, he did it for the purpose of an argument which would not strike one reader in ten thousand. Coincidences so circuitous as this answer not the ends of forgery; are seldom, I believe, attempted by it. In the second place I observe, that he must have had the Acts of the Apostles, and the two Epistles to the Corinthians, before, him at the time. In the Acts of the Apostles (I mean that part of the Acts, which relates to this period) he would have found the journey to Jerusalem ; but nothing aboạt: thie contribution. In the First Epistle to the Corinthians he would have found a contribution going on in Achaia for the Christians of