Gambar halaman

with St. Paul at the time, as an obvious re-
commendation of the imposturė: I then re-
peat my observations ; first, that he would
have made the catalogue more complete ;
and secondly, that with this contrivance in
his thoughts, it was certainly his business, in
order to avail himself of the artifice, to
have stated in the body of the epistle, that St.
Paul was in Greece when he wrote it, and
that he was there upon his second visit.
Neither of which he has done, either directly,
or even so as to be discoverable by any cir-
cumstance found in the narrative delivered in
the Acts.
| Under the same head, viz. of coincidences
depending upon date, I cite from the epistle
the following salutation : “ Gréet Priscilla
and Aquila, my helpers in Jesus Christ, who
have for my life laid down their own necks ;
unto whom not only I give thanks, but also
all the churches of the Gentiles.” Chap. xvi.
3.-It appears, from the Acts of the Apostles,
that Priscilla and Aquila had originally been
inhabitants of Rome; for we read, Acts
xviii. 2, that “ Paul found a certain Jew,
named Aquila, lately come from Italy with
his wife Priscilla, because that Claudius had
commanded all Jews to depart from Rome.

[ocr errors]

They were connected, therefore, with the place to which the salutations are sent. That is one coincidence; another is the following: St. Paul became acquainted with these persons at Corinth during his first visit into Greece. They accompanied him upon his return into Asia; were settled for some time at Ephesus, Acts xviii. 19-26, and appear to have been with St. Paul when he wrote from that place his First Epistle to the Corinthians, 1 Cor. xvi. 19. Not long after the writing of which epistle St. Paul went from Ephesus into Macedonia, and, “ after he had gone over those parts,” proceeded from thence upon his second visit into Greece ; during which visit, or rather at the conclusion of it, the Epistle to the Romans, as hath been shown, was written. We have therefore the time of St. Paul's residence at Ephesus after he had written to the Corinthians, the time taken up by his progress through Macedonia (which is indefinite, and was probably considerable), and his three months' abode in Greece; we have the sum of these three periods allowed for Aquila and Priscilla going back to Rome, so as to be there when the epistle before us was written. Now what this. quotation leads us to observe is, the danger of scattering names and circumstances in writings like the present, how implicated they often are with dates and places, and that nothing but truth can preserve consistency. Had the notes of time in the Epistle to the Romans fixed the writing of it to any date prior to St. Paụl's first residence at Corinth, the salutation of Aquila and Priscilla would have contradicted the history, because it would have been prior to his acquaintance with these persons. If the notes of time had fixed it to any period during that residence at Corinth, during his journey to Jerusalem when he first returned out of Greece, during his stay at Antioch, whither he went down to Jerusalem, or during his second progress through the Lesser Asia upon which he proceeded from Antioch, an equal contradiction would have been incurred; because from Acts, xviii. 2—18, 1926, “it appears that during all this time Aquila and Priscilla were either along with St. Paul, or were abiding at Ephesus. Lastly, had the notes of time in this epistle, which we have seen to be perfectly incidental, compared with the notes of time in the First Epistle to the Corinthians, which are equally incidental, fixed this epistle to be either co

temporary with that, or prior to it, a similar contradiction would have ensued; because, first, when the Epistle to the Corinthians was written, Aquila and Priscilla were along with St. Paul, as they joined in the salutation of that church, 1 Cor. xvi. 19.; and because, secondly, the history does not allow us to suppose, that between the time of their becoming acquainted with St. Paul and the time of St. Paul's writing to the Corinthians, Aquila and Priscilla could have gone to Rome, so as to have been saluted in an epistle to that city; and then come back to St. Paul at Ephesus, so as to be joined with him in saluting the Church of Corinth. As it is, all things are consistent. The Epistle to the Romans is posterior even to the Second Epistle to the Corinthians; because it speaks of a contribution in Achaia being completed, which the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, chap. viii. is only soliciting. It is sufficiently therefore posterior to the First Epistle to the Corinthians to allow time in the interval for Aquila and Priscilla's return from Ephesus to Rome.

Before we dismiss these two persons, we may take notice of the terms of commenda: tion in which St. Paul describes them, and


of the agreement of that encomium with the history.' « My helpers in Christ Jesus, who have for my life laid down their necks; unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.". In the eighteenth chapter of the Acts, we are informed that Aquila and Priscilla were Jews; that St. Paul first met with them at Corinth; that for some time he abode in the same house with them; that St. Paul's contention at Corinth was with the unbelieving Jews, who at first " opposed and blasphemed, and afterwards with one accord raised an insurrection against him:" that Aquila and Priscilla adhered, we may conclude, 'to St. Paul throughout this whole contest; for, when he left the city, they went with him, Acts, xviii. 18. Under these circumstances, it is highly probable that they should be involved in the dangers and persecutions which St. Paul underwent from the Jews, being themselves Jews; and, by adhering to St. Paul in this dispute, deserters, as they would be accounted, of the Jewish cause. Farther, as they, though Jews, were assisting to St. Paul in preaching to the Gentiles at Corinth, they had taken a decided part in the great controversy of that day, the adınission of the Gentiles to a parity


« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »