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a letter purporting to have been publicly read in the church of Thessalonica, when no such letter in truth had been read or heard of in that church, would be to produce an imposture destructive of itself. At least, it seems unlikely that the author of an imposture would voluntarily, and even officiously, afford a handle to so plain an objection.Either the epistle was publicly read in the church of Thessalonica during St. Paul's lifetime, or it was not. If it was, no publication could be more authentic, no species of 'notoriety more' unquestionable, no method of preserving the integrity of the copy more secure. If it was not, the clause we produce would remain a standing condemnation of the forgery, and one would suppose, an invincible impediment to its success. 1.9. "If we connect this article with the preceding, we shall perceive that they combine into one strong proof of the genuineness of the epistle. The preceding article carries up the date of the epistle to the time of St. Paul; the present article fixes the publication of it to the church of Thessalonica. Either therefore the church of Thessalonica was imposed upon by a false epistle, which in St. Paul's life-time they received and read publicly as his, carrying on a communication with him , all the while, and the epistle referring to the continuance of that communication; or other Christian churches, in the same life-time of the apostle, received an epistle purporting to have been publicly read in the church of Thessalonica, which nevertheless had not been heard of in that church; or, lastly, the conclusion remains, that the epistle now in our hands is genuine.
No. III. · Between our epistle and the history the accordancy in many points is circumstantial and complete. The history, relates, that, after Paul and Silas had been beaten with many stripes at Philippi, shut up in the inner prison, and their feet made fast in the stocks, as soon as they were discharged from their confinement they departed from thence, and, when they, had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, came to Thessalonica, where Paul opened and alleged that Jesus was the Christ, Acts, xvi. 23, &c. The epistle written in the name of Paul and Sylvanus (Silas), and of Timotheus, who also appears to have been along with them at Philippi (vide Phil. No. iv.) speaks to the church of Thessalonica thus: “ Even after that we had suffered
before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the Gospel of God with much contention.” (ii. 2.)
The history relates, that after they had been some time at Thessalonica, “ the Jews who believed not set all the city in an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason where Paul and Silas were, and sought to bring them out to the people.” Acts, xvii. 5. The epistle declares, “ when we were with you, we, told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.” (iii. 4.) · The history brings Paul and Silas and Timothy together at Corinth, soon after the preaching of the Gospel at Thessalonica :“ And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia (to Corinth), Paul was pressa ed in spirit.” Acts, xviii. 5. The epistle is written in the name of these three persons, who consequently must have been together at the time, and speaks throughout of their ministry at Thessalonica as a recent transaction : “ We brethren, being taken from you for a short time, in presence not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face, with great desire.” (ii. 17.)
• The harmony is indubitable; but the points of history in which it consists, are so expresslý set forth in the narrative, and so directly referred to in the epistle, that it becomes necessary for us to show that the facts in one writing were not copied from the other. Now amidst some minuter discrepancies, which will be noticed below, there is one circumstance which mixes itself with all the allusions in the epistle, but does not appear in the history any where; and that is of a visit which St. Paul had intended to pay to the Thessalonians during the time of his residing at Corinth: .“ Wherefore we would have come unto you: (even I Paul) once and again, but Satan hindered us.” (ii. 18.) * Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith. Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you.” (iii. 10, 11.) Concerning a design which was not executed, although the person himself, who was conscious of his own purpose, should make mention in his letters, nothing is more probable than that his historian should be silent, if not ignorant. The author of the epistle could not, however, have learnt this circumstance from the history, for it is not there to be met with ; nor, if the historian had drawn his materials from the epistle, is it likely that he would have passed over a circumstance, which is amongst the most obvious and prominent of the facts to be collected from that source of information.
No. IV. Chap. iii. 1–7. “ Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone, and sent Timotheus, our brother and minister of God, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith ;-but now when Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith.”
! The history relates, that when Paul came out of Macedonia to Athens, Silus and Timothy staid behind at Berea :,“ The brethren sent away Paul to go as it were to the sea; but Silas and Timotheus abode there 'still; and they that conducted Paul brought him to Athens.” Acts, ch. xvii. 14, 15. The history farther relates, that after Paul had tarried some time at Athens, and had