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of religious situation with the Jews. For this conduct alone, if there was no other reason, they may seem to have been entitled to " thanks from the churches of the Gentiles.” They were Jews taking part with Gentiles. Yet is all this so indirectly intimated, or rather so much of it left to inference in the account given in the Acts, that I do not think it probable that a forger either could or would have drawn his representation from thence; and still less probable do I think it, that, without having seen the Acts, he could, by mere accident, and without truth for his guide, have delivered a representation so conformable to the circumstances there recorded. : ;
The two congruities last adduced depended upon the time, the two following regard the place, of the epistle. . .
1. Chap. xvi. 23. “Erastus, the chamberlain of the city, saluteth you"-of what city? We have seen, that is, we have inferred from circumstances found in the epistle, compared with circumstances found in the Acts of the Apostles, and in the two Epistles to the Corinthians, that our epistle was written during St. Paul's second visit to the peninsula of Greece. Again, as St. Paul, in his epistle to
the church of Corinth, 1 Cor. xvi. 3, speaks of a collection going on in that city, and of his desire that it might be ready against he came thither; and as in this epistle he speaks of that collection being ready, it follows that the epistle was written either whilst he was at Corinth, or after he had been there. Thirdly, since St. Paul speaks in this epistle of his journey to Jerusalem, as about instantly to take place; and as we learn, Acts, xx. 3, that his design and attempt was to sail upon that journey immediately from Greece, properly so called, i. e. as distinguished from Macedonia ; it is probable that he was in . this country when he wrote the epistle, in which he speaks of himself as upon the eve of setting out. If in Greece, he was most likely at Corinth; for the two Epistles to the Corinthians show that the principal end of his coming into Greece was to visit that city, where he had founded a church. Certainly we know no place in Greece in which his presence was so probable: at least, the placing of him at Corinth satisfies every circumstance. Now that Erastus was an inha. bitant of Corinth, or had some connexion
with Corinth, is rendered a fair subject of presumption, by that which is accidentally
said of him in the Second Epistle to Timothy, chap. iii. 20, “ Erastus abode at Corinth.” St. Paul complains of his solitude, and is telling Timothy what was become of his companions: “ Erastus abode at Corinth; but Trophimus have I left at Miletum, sick.” Erastus was one of those who had attended St. Paul in his travels, Acts, xix. 22.; 'and when those travels had, upon some occasion, brought our apostle and his train to Corinth, Erastus staid there, for no reason so probable as that it was his home. I allow that this coincidence is not so precise as some others, yet I think it too clear to be produced by accident; for, of the many places which this same epistle has assigned to different persons, and the innumerable others which it might have mentioned, how came it to fix upon Corinth for Erastus? And, as far as it is a coincidence, it is certainly undesigned on the part of the author of the Epistle to the Romans: because he has not told us of what city Erastus was the chamberlain; or, which is the same thing, from what city the epistle was written, the setting forth of which was absolutely necessary to the display of the coincidence, if any such display had been thought of: nor could the author of the Epi
ste to Timothy leave Erastus at Corinth, from any thing he might have read in the Epistle to the Romans, because Corinth is no where in that epistle mentioned either by name or description.
2. Chap. xvi. 1—3. “ I commend unto you Phæbe, our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea, that ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye'assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you; for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also.” Cenchrea adjoined to Corinth; St. Paul therefore, at the time of writing the letter, was in the neighbourhood of the woman whom he thus recommends. But, farther, that St. Paul had before this been at Cenchrea itself, appears from the eighteenth chapter of the Acts; and appears by a circumstance as incidental, and as unlike design, as any that can be imagined. “ Paul after this tarried there (viz. at Corinth) yet a good while, and then took his leave of his brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila, having shorn his head in Cenchrea, for he had a vow.” xviii. 18. The shaving of the head, denoted the expiration of the Nazaritic vow,
The historian, therefore, by the mention of this circumstance, virtually tells us that St. Paul's vow was expired before he set forward upon his voyage, having deferred probably his departure until he should be released from the restrictions under which his vow laid him. Shall we say that the author of the Acts of the Apostles feigned this anecdote of St. Paul at Cenchrea, because he had read in the Epistle to the Romans that “ Phæbe, a servant of the church of Cenchrea, had been a succourer of many, and of him also?” or shall we say that the author of the Epistle to the Romans, out of his own imagination, created Phoebe “ a servant of the church at Cenchrèa,” because he read in the Acts of the Apostles that Paul had “ shorn his head” in that place?
No. III. .
Chap. i. 13. “ Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, but was let hitherto, that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.” Again, xv. 23, 24. “ But now having no more place in these parts, and having a great desire these