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the writer, whether he wrote in his own character, or personated that of an apostle.
Chap. v. 23. Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake, and thine often infirmities.'
Imagine an impostor sitting down to forge an epistle in the name of St Paul. Is it credible that it should come into his head to give such a direction as this; so remote from every thing of doctrine or discipline, every thing of public concern to the religion or the church, or to any sect, order, or party in it, and from every purpose with which such an epistle could be written? It seems to me that nothing but reality, that is, the real valetudinary situation of a real person, could have suggested a thought of so domestic a nature.
But if the peculiarity of the advice be observable, the place in which it stands is more so. The context is this; 'Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins; keep thyself pure. Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake, and thine often infirmities. Some men's sins are open before hand, going before to judgment: and some men they follow after. The direction to Timothy about his diet stands between two sentences, as wide from the subject as possible. The train of thought seems to be broken to let it in. Now when does this happen ? It happens when a man writes as he remembers ; when he puts down an article that occurs the moment it occurs, lest he should afterwards forget it. Of this the passage before us bears strongly the appearance. In actual letters, in the negligence of a real correspondence, examples of this kind frequently take place; seldom, I believe, in any other production. For the mo ment a man regards what he writes as a composition, which the author of a forgery would, of all others, be the first to do, notions of order, in the arrangement and succession of his thoughts, present themselves to his judgment, and guide his pen.
Chap. i. 15, 16. "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. Howbeit, for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all long-suffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe in him to life everlasting.'
What was the mercy which St Paul here commemorates, and what was the crime of which he accuses himself, is apparent from the verses immediately preceding: 'I thank Christ Jesus, our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious; but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief, (chap. i. 12, 13). The whole quotation plainly refers to St Paul's original enmity to the Christian name, the interposition of Providence in his conversion, and his subsequent designation to the ministry of the gospel ; and by this reference affirms indeed the substance of the apostle's history delivered in the Acts. But what in the passage strikes my mind most powerfully, is the observation that is raised out of the fact : For this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all long-suffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. It is a just and solemn reflection, springing from the circumstances of the author's conversion, or rather from the impression which that great event had left upon his memory. It will be said, perhaps, that an impostor acquainted with St Paul's history, may have put such a sentiment into his mouth ; or, what is the same thing, into a letter drawn up in his name. But where, we may ask, is such an impostor to be found? The piety, the truth, the benevolence of the thought ought to protect it from this imputation. For, though we should allow that one of the great masters of the ancient tragedy could have given to his scene a sentiment as virtuous and as elevated as this is, and, at the same time as appropriate, and as well suited to the particular situation of the person who delivers it; yet whoever is conversant in these inquiries will acknowledge, that to do this in a fictitious production is beyond the reach of the understandings which have been employed upon any fabrications that have come down to us under Christian names.
THE SECOND EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY.
It was the uniform tradition of the primitive church, that St Paul visited Rome twice, and twice there suffered imprisonment; and that he was put to death at Rome at the conclusion of his second imprisonment. This opinion concerning St Paul's two journeys to Rome, is confirmed by a great variety of hints and allusions in the epistle before us, compared with what fell from the apostle's pen in other letters purporting to have been written from Rome. That our present epistle was written whilst St Paul was a prisoner, is distinctly intimated by the eighth verse of the first chapter: Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner. And whilst he was a prisoner at Rome, by the sixteenth and seventeenth verses of the same chapter : "The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain : but when he was in Rome he sought me out very diligently, and found me.' Since it appears from the former quotation that St Paul wrote this epistle in confinement, it will hardly admit of doubt that the word chain, in the latter quotation, refers to that confinement; the chain by which he was then bound, the custody in which he was then kept. And if the word "chain' designate the author's confinement at the time of writing the epistle, the next words determine it to have been written from Rome:
He was not ashamed of my chain; but when he was in Rome he sought me out very diligently. Now that it was not written during the apostle's first imprisonment at Rome, or during the same imprisonment in which the Epistles to the Ephesians, the Colossians, the Philippians, and Philemon, were written, may be gatbered, with considerable evidence, from a comparison of these several epistles with the present.
. I. In the former epistles the author confidently looked for
ward to his liberation from confinement, and his speedy departure from Rome. He tells the Philippians (ch. ii
. 24.) 'I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly.' Philemon he bids to prepare for him a lodging; ' for I trust,' says he, 'that through your prayers, I shall be given unto you'(ver. 22). In the epistle before us he holds a language extremely different: 'I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight; I have finished my course; I have kept the faith : henceforth there is laid
up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day,' (ch. iv. 6–8).
II. When the former epistles were written from Rome, Timothy was with St Paul; and is joined with him in writing to the Colossians, the Philippians, and to Philemon. The present epistle implies that he was absent.
III. In the former epistles, Demas was with St Paul at Rome : Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you.' In the epistle now before us; Demas hath forsaken me, haying loved this present world, and is gone to Thessalonica:
IV. In the former épistles, Mark was with St Paul, and joins in saluting the Colossians. In the present epistle, Timothy is ordered to bring him with him, 'for he is profitable to me for the ministry,' (ch. iv. 11).
The case of Timothy and of Mark might be very well accounted for, by supposing the present epistle to have been written before the others; so that Timothy, who is here exhorted
to come shortly unto him,' (chap. iv. 9), might have arrived, and that Mark, 'whom he was to bring with him, (chap. iv. 11), might have also reached Rome in sufficient time to have been with St Paul when the four epistles were written: but then such a supposition is inconsistent with what is said of Demas, by which the posteriority of this to the other epistles is strongly indicated : for in the other epistles, Demas was with St Paul ; in the present, he hath 'forsaken him, and is gone to Thessalonica. The opposition also of sentiment, with respect to the event of the persecution, is hardly reconcilable to the same imprisonment.
The two following considerations, which were first suggested upon this question by Ludovicus Capellus, are still more conclusive.
1. In the twentieth verse of the fourth chapter, St Paul informs Timothy, that Erastus abode at Corinth,' Epcotos suusvay ov
. The form of expression implies, that Erastus had staid behind at Corinth, when St Paul left it. But this could not be meant of any journey from Corinth which St Paul took prior to his first imprisonment at Rome; for when Paul departed from Corinth, as related in the twentieth chapter of the Acts, Timothy was with him: and this was the last time the apostle left Corinth before his coming to Rome; because he left it to proceed on his way to Jerusalem ; soon after his arrival at which place he was taken into custody, and continued in that custody till he was carried to Cæsar's tribunal. There could be no need therefore to inform Timothy that Erastus staid behind at Corinth' upon this occasion, because, if the fact was so, it must have been known to Timothy, who was present, as well as to St Paul.
2. In the same verse our epistle also states the following article: "Tropbimus have I left at Miletum sick. When St Paul passed through Miletum on his way to Jerusalem, as related Acts xx., Trophimus was not left behind, but accompanied him to that city. He was indeed the occasion of the uproar at Jerusalem, in consequence of which St Paul was apprehended; for they had seen,' says the historian, before with him in the city, Trophimus, an Ephesian, whom they supposed that Paul had brought into the temple. This was evidently the last time of Paul's being at Miletus before his first imprisonment; for, as hath been said, after his apprehension at Jerusalem, he remained in custody till he was sent to Rome.
In these two articles we have a journey referred to, which must have taken place subsequent to the conclusion of St Luke's history, and of course after St Paul's liberation from his first imprisonment. The epistle therefore which contains this reference, since it appears from other parts of it to have been written while St Paul was a prisoner at Rome, proves that he had returned to that city again, and undergone there a second imprisonment.
I do not produce these particulars for the sake of the support which they lend to the testimony of the fathers concerning St Paul's second imprisonment, but to remark their consistency and agreement with one another
. They are all resolvable into one supposition : and although the supposition itself be in some sort only negative, viz. that the epistle was not written during St Paul's first residence at Rome, but in some