« PreviousContinue »
THE EPISTLE TO TITUS.
A very characteristic circumstance in this Epistle, is the quotation from Epimenides, chap. i. 12: One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, the Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.
Κρητες αι ψευσται, κακα θηρια, γαστερες αργαι.
I call this quotation characteristic, because no writer in the New Testament, except St Paul, appealed to heathen testimony; and because St Paul repeatedly did so. In his celebrated speech at Athens, preserved in the seventeenth chapter of the Acts, he tells his audience, that 'in God we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, for we are also his offspring.
-18 gap wall geros comer.
The reader will perceive much similarity of manner in these two passages. The reference in the speech is to a heathen poet; it is the same in the epistle. In the speech the apostle urges his hearers with the authority of a poet of their own ; in the epistle he avails himself of the same advantage. Yet there is a variation, which shows that the hint of inserting a quotation in the epistle was not, as it may be suspected, borrowed from seeing the like practice attributed to St Paul in the history; and it is this, that in the epistle the author cited is called a prophet, one of themselves, even a prophet of their own. Whatever might be the reason for calling Epimenides a prophet; whether the names of poet and prophet where occasionally convertible; whether Epimenides in particular had obtained that title, as Grotius seems to have proved; or whether the appellation was given to him, in this instance, as having
delivered a description of the Cretan character, which the future state of morals among them verified; whatever was the reason (and any of these reasons will account for the variation, supposing St Paul to have been the author), one point is plain, namely, if the epistle had been forged, and the author had inserted a quotation in it merely from having seen an example of the same kind in a speech ascribing to St Paul, he would so far have imitated his original, as to have introduced his quotation in the same manner, that is, he would have given to Epimenides the title which he saw there given to Aratus. The other side of the alternative is, that the history took the hint from the epistle. But that the author of the Acts of the Apostles had not the Epistle to Titus before him, at least that he did not use it as one of the documents or materials of his narrative, is rendered nearly certain by the observation, that the name of Titus does not once occur in his book..
It is well known, and was remarked by St Jerome, that the apophthegm in the fifteenth chapter of the Corinthians, evil communications corrupt good manners,' is an iambic of Menander's :
Φθειρεσιν ηθη χρησθ' ομιλίαι κακαι.
Here we have another unaffected instance of the same turn and habit of composition. Probably there are some hitherto unnoticed ; and more, which the loss of the original authors renders impossible to be now ascertained.
There exists a visible affinity between the Epistle to Titus and the First Epistle to Timothy. Both letters were addressed to persons left by the writer to preside in their respective churches during his absence. Both letters are principally occupied in describing the qualifications to be sought for, in those whom they should appoint to offices in the church; and the ingredients of this description are in both letters nearly the
Timothy and Titus are likewise cautioned against the same prevailing corruptions, and, in particular, against the same misdirection of their cares and studies. This affinity obtains, not only in the subject of the letters, which, from the similarity of situation in the persons to whom they were ad
dressed, might be expected to be somewhat alike, but extends, in a great variety of instances, to the phrases and expressions. The writer accosts his two friends with the same salutation, and passes on to the business of his letter by the same transition.
· Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith, grace, mercy, and peace,
from God our Father, and Jesus Christ our Lord : as I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia,' &c. 1 Tim. chap. i. 2, 3.
"To Titus, mine own son after the common faith, grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour; for this cause left I thee in Crete. Tit. chap. i. 4,5.
If Timothy was not to give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions,' 1 Tim. chap. i. 4; Titus also was to avoid foolish questions and genealogies, and contentions,' (chap. iii
. 9); "and was to rebuke them sharply, . not giving heed to Jewish fables,' (chap. i. 14.) If Timothy was to be a pattern (TUTOS), 1 Tim. chap. iv. 12; so was Titus, (chap. ii. 7). If Timothy was to let no man despise his youth,' 1 Tim. chap. iv. 12; Titus also was to 'let no man despise him,’ (chap. ii. 15). This verbal consent is also observable in some very peculiar expressions, which have no relation to the particular character of Timothy or Titus.
The phrase, “it is a faithful saying,' (TOTOÇ Ó nogos), made use of to preface some sentence upon which the writer lays a more than ordinary stress, occurs three times in the First Epistle to Timothy, once in the Second, and once in the epistle before us, and in no other part of St. Paul's writings; and it is remarkable that these three epistles were probably all written towards the conclusion of his life; and that they are the only epistles which were written after his first imprisonment at Rome.
The same observation belongs to another singularity of expression, and that is in the epithet 'sound, (izsauver), as applied to words or doctrine. It is thus used, twice in the First Epistle to Timothy, twice in the Second, and three times in the Epistle to Titus, beside two cognate expressions, iglasvertas TM MOTU and rogov izona and it is found, in the same sense, in no other part of the New Testament.
The phrase "God our Saviour,' stands in nearly the same predicament. It is repeated three times in the First Epistle to
Timothy, as many in the Epistle to Titus, and in no other book of the New Testament occurs at all, except once in the Epistle of Jude.
Similar terms, intermixed indeed with others, are employed, in the two epistles, in enumerating the qualifications required in those who should be advanced to stations of authority in the church.
"A bishop must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach, not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity.'* 1 Tim. chap. iii. 2-4.
If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children, not accused of riot, or unruly; for a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre ; but a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate.?† Titus, chap. i. 6—8.
The most natural account which can be given of these resemblances, is to suppose that the two epistles were written nearly at the same time, and whilst the same ideas and phrases dwelt in the writer's mind. Let us inquire, therefore, whether the notes of time, extant in the two epistles, in any manner favour this supposition.
We have seen that it was necessary to refer the First Epistle to Timothy to a date subsequent to St Paul's first imprisonment at Rome, because there was no journey into Macedonia prior to that event, which accorded with the circumstance of leaving Timothy behind at Ephesus. The journey of St Paul from Crete, alluded to in the epistle before us, and in which Titus was left in Crete to set in order the things that were wanting,' must, in like manner, be carried to the period which intervened between his first and second imprisonment. For the history, which reaches, we know, to the time
Δει εν τον επισκοπον ανεπιληπτος είναι, μιας γυναικος ανδρα, νηφαλιον, σωφρονα, κοσμιον, φιλοξενον, διδακτικον, μη παρoινoν, μη πληκτην, μη αισχροκερδη" αλλ' επιεικη, αμαχοι, αφιλαργυρον και τα ιδια οικε καλως προϊσαμενον, τεκνα εχοντα εν υποταγή μετα πασης σεμνοτητος.”
1 Ει τις εςιν ανεγκλητος, μιας γυναικος ανήρ, τεκνα εχων πιςα, μη εν κατηγορία ασωτίας, η ανυποτακτα. Δει γας τον επισκοπον ανεγκλητος είναι, ως Θεου οικονομον, μη αυθαδη, μη οργίλον, μη παρoινoν, μη πληκτην, μη αισχροκερδη" αλλα φιλοξενον, φιλαγαθον, σωφρονα, δικαιον, οσιον, εγκρατη.'
of St Paul's first imprisonment, contains no account of his going to Crete, except upon his voyage as a prisoner to Rome; and that this could not be the occasion referred to in our epistle is evident from hence, that when St Paul wrote this epistle, he appears to have been at liberty ; whereas after that voyage, he continued for two years at least in confinement. Again, it is agreed that St Paul wrote his First Epistle to Timothy from Macedonia : “As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went (or came) into Macedonia. And that he was in these parts, i. e. in this peninsula, when he wrote the Epistle to Titus, is rendered probable by his directing Titus to come to him to Nicopolis : “When I shall send Artemas unto thee, or Tychicus, be diligent (make haste) to come unto me to Nicopolis ; for I have determined there to winter. The most noted city of that name was in Epirus, near to Actium. And I think the form of speaking, as well as the nature of the case, renders it probable, that the writer was at Nicopolis, or in the neighbourhood thereof, when he dictated this direction to Titus.
Upon the whole, if we may be allowed to suppose that St Paul, after his liberation at Rome, sailed into Asia, taking Crete in his way; that from Asia, and from Ephesus, the capital of that country, he proceeded into Macedonia, and crossing the peninsula in his progress, came into the neighbourhood of Nicopolis; we have a route which falls in with every thing. It executes the intention expressed by the apostle of visiting Colosse and Philippi as soon as he should be set at liberty at Rome. It allows him to leave ' Titus at Crete,' and · Timothy at Ephesus, as he went into Macedonia :' and to write to both not long after from the peninsula of Greece, and probably the neighbourhood of Nicopolis : thus bringing together the dates of these two letters, and thereby accounting for that affinity between them, both in subject and language, which our remarks have pointed out. I confess that the journey which we have thus traced out for St Paul, is, in a great measure, hypothetic ; but it should be observed, that it is a species of consistency, which seldom belongs to falsehood, to admit of an hypothesis, which includes a great number of independent circumstances without contradiction.