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have taken place when St. Paul first preached at Lystra, in the year 46. Upon St. Paul's leaving Lystra, in the course of his second apostolical journey, he was induced to take Timothy with him, on account of his excellent character, and the zeal which, young as he was, he had already shewn in the cause of Christianity; but before they set out, Paul caused him to be circumcised, not as a thing necessary to his salvation, but to avoid giving offence to the Jews, as he was a Jew by the mother's side, and it was an established rule among the Jews, that“ partus sequitur ventrem." Timothy was regularly appointed to the ministerial office by Jaying on of hands, not only by Paul himself (d), but also by the presbytery (e). From this time Timothy constantly acted as a minister of the Gospel ; he generally attended St. Paul, but was sometimes employed by him in other places; he was very diligent and useful, and is always mentioned with great esteem and affection by St. Paul, who joins his name with his own in the inscription of six of his Epistles (f). He is sometimes
(d) 2 Tim. c. 1. v. 6. (e) 1 Tim. C. 4. v. 14.
(f) Namely, the second of the Corinthians, Philippians, Colossians, first and second of Thessalonians, and Philemon.
called bishop of Ephesus, and it has been said that he suffered martyrdom in that city, some years after the death of St. Paul.
· II. We are now to consider the date of this Epistle, concerning which the learned are by no means agreed. From the third verse of the first chapter, “ As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia," it is generally admitted that St. Paul wrote this Epistle in Macedonia, that he had lately come thither from Ephesus, and that he had left Timothy in that city: And since the Acts of the Apostles mention only one instance of St. Paul's going from Ephesus into Macedonia, namely, immediately after the tumult occasioned by Demetrius (g), many commentators have concluded that this Epistle was written soon after that event, that is, in the year 57; but to this date there are strong objections,
1. In the first place we may observe, that there is no allusion whatever in the Epistle, to any persecution which St. Paul had lately suffered; and surely if he had written this Epistle to Timothy, still remaining at Ephesus, soon after he himself had been compelled to leave that city by the riotous behaviour of its inhabi
. tants, (8) Acts, c. 20. V, 1.
tants, he would naturally have alluded to that circumstance; more especially, as in his second Epistle to the Corinthians, confessedly written at this time, he evidently refers to the treatment which he had experienced at Ephesus, although the Corinthians could have no concern, or at least were much less interested in it, than Timothy was, who had been with Paul at Ephesus, and was still there.
2. St. Paul states the reason which had, induced him to request Timothy to remain at Ephesus, " That thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine; neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions rather than godly edifying, which is in faith (h).” From this and other passages it is evident, that when St. Paul wrote this Epistle, some false teachers had been endeavouring to pervert the Ephesian Christians from the genuine doctrine which had been taught by St. Paul; but no circumstance of this kind is mentioned in the Acts; nor is it probable that such an attempt should have been made, while Paul, who had lately converted the Ephesians, was still among them; for we must remember, that in his first short visit to Ephesus he made very few,
if any, converts (i); indeed when he arrived there the second time, he seems to have found only twelve disciples (k), who were so little acquainted with the nature of the Gospel dispensation, that they had not so much as heard whether there were any Holy Ghost; and we · may farther observe, that St. Paul, in his long address to the elders of Ephesus at Miletus (1), which was subsequent to the date now under consideration, takes no notice of corruptions then or formerly subsisting in the church at Ephesus, or of any false teachers who had been there, although he tells them that he knows, " Hereafter men will arise, speaking perverse things, drawing many disciples after them.”
3. From the following passages in this Epistle, " These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly (m);"_" Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, and doctrine (n);" it clearly appears, that, when Paul wrote this Epistle, he intended to go to Ephesus soon, and before Timothy should leave it; but this could not be the case when Paul was in Macedonia in the year 57; for his plan then was to go into Achaia, and thence to
carry (i) Acts, c. 18. v. 19. (k). Acts, c. 19. v. I. (1) Acts, C. 20. v. 17, &c. (m) C. 3. v. 14. (n) C.4. V. 13.
carry to Jerusalem the collections for the poor Christians of Judæa: nor was Timothy remaining at Ephesus; for it is certain, admitting that he was left there, that he very soon went to Paul in Macedonia, instead of Paul's going to him at Ephesus; this appears from Timothy being joined in the inscription of the second Epistle to the Corinthians, which, as it is universally agreed, was written in Macedonia, not long after the tumult at Ephesus.
Lastly, let us consider, under one point of view, all the circumstances, as stated in the Acts and Epistles, which are connected with this question. In the Acts it is said, that St. Paul sent Timothy into Macedonia at a time when he had formed his plan for leaving Ephesus (0); and from the first Epistle to the Corinthians we learn, that Timothy was directed to go from Macedonia to Corinth (p), and thence to Ephesus (9); and from the salutation in the beginning of the second Epistle to the Corinthians it appears, as was just now mentioned, that Timothy was with Paul when he wrote that Epistle: those, therefore, who contend for this date, must suppose that Timothy returned to
ro) Acts, c. 19. v. 21 & 22.